By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

February 7, 2013

NEW YORK – Independent film “Metro Manila” won this year’s Audience Award for Best World Dramatic Film at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah last week.

Written and directed by UK film maker, Sean Ellis, Metro Manila stars award-winning Filipino actor John Arcilla.

“The fact that it’s the audience’ choice gives the film its biggest selling point. The audience is not Filipino and it’s been sold out every night,” Arcilla said.

Metro Manila captures the sights and sounds of a bustling city filled with drama, a heist plot and a little bit of crime thriller rolled into one movie.

It chronicles the story of a Filipino farmer who took a chance and left his hometown in Baguio to find a better job in Manila. But when he meets an armored van driver played by John Arcilla, his morals are put to test as he takes on a job not very many are willing to take.

Arcilla says, film maker Sean Ellis may have made a film about a person’s ultimate sacrifice but there’s more to that.

“I see the plight of human survival,” Arcilla said.

The actors is no newbie to international films. He was one of the few Filipino cast members who had speaking lines in “Bourne Legacy,” the hit Hollywood movie partly shot in the Philippines that starred Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weiss.

Arcilla said he’s a big fan of the Hollywood stars but he never felt star-struck around them because both Renner and Weiss acted like he was one of them.

“Rachel Weiss would always give me the thumbs up sign after watching my takes and would ask me if I was a professional actor. I’d tell he I started in theater!” Arcilla shared.

Sundance is an internationally known film festival that advances the work of risk-taking storytellers to discover and develop independent artists and audiences across the globe.

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