Filipino filmmakers invited to be part of The Academy

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A still from "Sunday Beauty Queen," a documentary directed by filmmaker Baby Ruth Villarama. Screenshot from TUKO FILM PRODUCTIONS/YOUTUBE

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Filipino filmmakers Ditsi Carolino, Baby Ruth Villarama, and PJ Raval are now part of the 842 newly invited members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

AMPAS is the governing body behind the Oscars in which members get to vote for winners of the annual awards show. AMPAS also announced that half of the new members the group invited were women and 29 percent of the invitees are people of color. In 2016, AMPAS was criticized for having nominees that are mostly white, sparking the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

Carolino is best known for her documentaries “Mula pabrika hanggang Fukuoka” and “Bunso: The Youngest”; Villarama’s most notable work is “Sunday Beauty Queen,” for which she won the Gawad Urian award for Best Documentary in 2017; and Fil-Am filmmaker Raval is known for the 2018 film “Call Her Ganda.”

The filmmakers have taken to social media to express their gratitude.

On Facebook, Villarama said: “I guess life can really take this young dreamer from Baliuag by surprise. To changing the narrative how the world sees us and how we see ourselves within, it is my honour to raise our three stars and sun; our white, yellow, blue and red to be with the world's finest in ushering the best documentary films from Asia and the world.”

She also thanked Filipina documentarist Ramona Diaz — whose works include the documentary “Motherland” and who was also previously inducted into the AMPAS — for being a champion.

Raval also posted on Instagram, thanking The Academy, on top of the good news of “Call Her Ganda” also premiering on the PBS show, “POV.”

The complete list of new members also includes Tom Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, “The Crown’s” Claire Foy, Lady Gaga, “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon Chu, and Gemma Chan.