Filipino films win at Sundance Film Festival 2022

Published January 29, 2022, 12:46 PM

by John Legaspi

A victory for the Filipino movie scene

The Philippines’ entries to this year’s Sundance Film Festival bagged major nods. Martika Ramirez Escobar’s directorial debut film “Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago” (“Leonor Will Never Die”) took home the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award: Innovative Spirit, while filmmaker Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan’s featurette “The Headhunter’s Daughter” won the Grand Jury Prize in the Short Film category.

‘Leonor Will Never Die’ and ‘The Headhunter’s Daughter’

“Hello, Sundance jury. Thank you for recognizing our team’s labor of love. This is special coming from a film set that felt like one giant friendship film. I’d like to say thanks to the entire Sundance team for treating us like family. I’d like to thank everyone who had showed their love and support for our film,” Escobar said during her virtual speech. “You are proof that finally after eight years, our film is alive.”

It took eight years for “Leonor Will Never Die” to complete its production. Its plot centers on Leonor Reyes, a retired action film writer and director in the ‘80s, who enters the world of her unfinished screenplay after experiencing a coma when a television landed on her head. Leading its cast is stage veteran Sheila Francisco as Leonor, alongside actors Rocky Salumbides, Bong Cabrera, Anthony Falcon, Rea Molina, Tami Monsod, Allan Bautista, and Dido de la Paz.

On the other hand, Eblahan, an Ifugao-Visayan director, isn’t new to having his works featured in international festivals. Among them are the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival, San Diego Asian Film Festival, and the Clermont-Ferrand International Film Festival where his short film “Hilum” won the Student Prize and Special Mention from the International Jury.

The Sundance Film Festival 2022 runs until Jan. 30.

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