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‘Metro Manila’ wins Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival

Jake Macapagal and Althea Vega play a provincial couple who move to the big city with their two children in 'Metro Manila'.

A Filipino-British film set entirely in the Philippines bagged the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).

“Metro Manila”, which features a cast led by indie actors Jake Macapagal, John Arcilla, and Althea Vega, was chosen over 11 other films from around the world in its category.

The category’s top honor, the Grand Jury Prize, went to the South Korean entry “Jiseul”.

A tale of a poor family that flees the countryside in a desperate search for a better life in the big city, “Metro Manila” was directed by British filmmaker Sean Ellis from a screenplay he co-wrote with Frank E. Flowers.

“Although the pacing would have benefited from some judicious tightening, much of the film’s effectiveness is attributable to the lead actors’ well-modulated performances,” critic Justin Lowe wrote in his review for The Hollywood Reporter.

“Production quality is first-rate, particularly considering the many practical locations required to shoot the film,” he added.

Co-founded by actor-director Robert Redford, the Sundance Film Festival is considered the most prestigious independent film festival in the U.S.

This year’s award ceremonies were hosted by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose directorial debut “Don Jon’s Addiction” premiered at the festival, which opened on January 17 and will conclude on Sunday.