The Singapore Film Commission (SFC) has selected Royston Tan's 881 as the country's official entry for best foreign-language film for the 80th Academy Awards.

'The film presents a part of the rich and colourful street culture of Singapore which is hardly seen by the world and provides a window to showcase our unique heritage to the international audience,' said SFC chairman Jennie Chua.

The musical drama tells the story of the Papaya Sisters who aspire to become the showiest performers of getai (song stage).

Currently still playing in local theatres, the film has raked in over S$3.2m since its opening on August 8, making it Singapore 's top Asian film this year and the fourth highest grossing local film ever.

The box office success is a remarkable feat for Tan who until recently was known as an arthouse director on the international festival circuit of films such as 15 and 4.30.

Meanwhile, Adolfo B Alix Jr's directorial debut Donsol has been chosen as the Philippines ' Oscar entry. The selection was made by the Film Academy of the Philippines through a six-member committee headed by veteran filmmaker Eddie Romero.

Produced by Alix's production outfit Bicycle Pictures, the independent digital film was funded by the 2nd Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival where it won best actress for Angel Aquino and best cinematography in July last year.

Donsol refers to the fishing town best known for the visiting whale sharks, a major tourist attraction. Aquino played a widow fighting for breast cancer who falls for a young guide on her visit to the town.

The picture went on to pick up special jury prizes at both Asian Marine Film Festival in Japan and Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival in the US.