Cinemalaya Film Festival (2008)
Best Film in Feature-Length category
Best Actor (Baron Geisler)
6th Black Movie Film Festival (2009)
Audience Choice Award
6th Festival Internacional de Cine Contemporaneo dela Ciudad de Mexico (2009)
Black Movie Film Festival, Geneva, Switzerland (2009)
Barcelona Asian Film Festival (2009)
The film has won 6 international awards in Berlin, Barelona, Geneva, Bahamas, Bangkok, and Mexico and has been selected in 23 international film festivals.
It is the first debut Filipino film to have an international premiere at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival where it competed for the Orizzonti Prize.
Even its screenplay won the Grand Prize of the Cinemanila-FDCP Scriptwriting Contest in 2007.The script was entered to the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival where it was chosen as one of the 10 finalists and emerged as the Best Film of 2008.
The Cinema Evaluation Board gave it a grade of A, and the MTRCB has rated it R-13, highlighting its powerful insight rather than the controversial frontal nudity of its lead actor.
Jay is a Philippine independent film about a filmmaker who makes a documentary on the life of a murdered teacher, and in the process solves the crime. Shot in Bacolor, Pampanga, it is directed by Francis Xavier Pasion and stars Baron Geisler. It was the unanimous choice for the Best Film Award in the Full-Length category of the 2008 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival competition. It was the first feature film in competition to be shown in the 2008 Venice International Film Festival’s Orrizonti (New Horizons) sidebar.
Jay Mercado, a homosexual teacher from Pampanga, has been found dead in his home, the victim of a violent murder. Television producer Jay Santiago, himself a homosexual, decides to create a documentary on the murder. He takes advantage of Mercado’s impoverished family to create a high-rated documentary, which is shown in the first 15 minutes of the film. As it turns out, through the documentary the criminal is found and brought to justice.
Jay deals with the issue of media exploitation in a Philippine context. As noted by J. Neil Garcia, the film seems to suggest that exploitation is inevitable in Philippine mass media, even when well-intentioned. It shows the extreme and at times morally questionable lengths television producers will go to in order to create a sensationalist product that will capture the attention of the masses. At the same time, it shows how their subjects consciously aid them in producing the desired effect, implying that the manipulation is mutual. In this way the film highlights some of the moral contradictions that most Filipinos, rich or poor, live by.
Notable performances include Baron Geisler’s highly commended portrayal of Jay Santiago, the persuasive and manipulative television producer, and Flor Salanga’s portrayal of the role of the late teacher’s grieving mother who tries to present herself effectively on camera for the television documentary.
The Cinemalaya jury, in awarding Jay Best film, commended it "for its sheer originality, its energetic storytelling, its mastery of digital technology in order to tell a story that is a trenchant commentary on the technology itself, and its very revealing take on the media and the uses and abuses of the truth..."