BY Michelle Garcia
December 24 2009 2:35 PM ET
Paulate, Topacio says, is one of the Philippines' most recognizable
faces, despite being out as a gay man for decades. Like his film
siblings (Dick Israel, Elizabeth Oropesa, Gina Alajar, and Manilyn
Reynes), Paulate has starred in dozens of television shows in the
Philippines, giving this small film the star power it needed to get the
attention it has garnered.
And now it's the country's official
submission for consideration when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences selects the nominees for Best Foreign-Language Film. From
a pool that includes Grandpa Is Dead and 64 other films, only five will be chosen. But the local success has been what's mattered so much to Topacio.
set out to only show the film for one week," Topacio says. But the
movie was such a sensation that it stayed in theaters for eight weeks.
"We did not expect that at all."