Oscars: 'Dagsin' Emerges as Frontrunner for Philippines’ Pick in International Feature Film Category

Dagsin STILL - H 2019

The debut feature from Atom Magadia tells the story of a war hero who tries to connect with his dead wife via her diaries.

The Philippines has chosen the heartfelt drama Dagsin by first-time director Atom Magadia for its shortlist of contenders for potential submission in the international feature film category for the 2020 Oscars.

The film stars Tommy Abuel as a World War II veteran who tries to connect with his dead wife (Marita Zobel) through reading the diaries she left behind.

Dagsin has already picked up a slew of domestic and international awards for its leads since first screening at the Philippines’ Cinemalaya independent film festival, including best actor honors for Abuel at Cinemalaya and the European International Film Fest.

The pic was written by the director’s wife, Anne Magadia, who shared the news of its shortlisting via Facebook.

“Ok, I know the ‘better-mannered and proper’ version of myself should be quiet about news like this. But, I am hearts-crossed, not doing this out of hubris," she wrote. "To tell you the truth, I originally thought it was a hoax. Until we received this letter this morning, I didn't believe it to be real."

While the Philippines has been submitting movies in the foreign film Oscar category (now known as international feature film) since its inception in 1956, the country has yet to win.

The 92nd Academy Awards are set to be held Feb. 9.

Sept. 4, 6:15 p.m. A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Dagsin as the final Philippines selection for the international feature film category rather than one of the films under consideration. THR regrets the error.