Filipino films make waves in Palm Springs International Film Festival

Thursday, January 9th, 2014. Filed under: Local News

By Fe P. Koons

(photo screenshot courtesy of

(photo screenshot courtesy of

Palm Springs, CA – Three very moving Filipino films attracted audiences in the Palm Springs International Film Festival last weekend Jan. 3-5 at the Regal Cinema.

Iloilo which garnered the Cannes D’Oro award for first time filmmakers at the Cannes packed the theater. Anthony Chen, director of the film revealed how glad he is in showing the film.

Chen confessed that the film is really about how families in Singapore and in Asia tried to survive the hard economic times. He revealed that the real maid from Iloilo who took care of him was present in the screening of the film in Singapore.  Angeli Panganiban who played the nanny Terry acted very well in her cool, calm manner. She also showed a natural way of bonding with the little boy she is taking care and still maintaining a relationship with the biological Singaporean who has nasty attitude against her. Iloilo showcases the experience of an overseas worker who deals with loving a child not her own and inculcating in him the important values of love and family.

Metro Manila is more of an exciting film which focuses on the intertwining lives of two armored car security guys. Lead actor Jake Macapagal (Oscar Ramirez) pointed out that the film exposes the poverty in the countryside. “There is really no method acting to speak of. I just go out in the streets and I will live like Oscar who comes to Metro Manila an experience the reality of trying to find food for his family,” Macapagal said.

Screenwriter Frank Flowers disclosed that he is from Cayman Islands and that there is a big Filipino community in the island. “I know how it is to see poverty outside of these borders. The story is a universal theme of survival. Sean, our film director came to Manila. He was attracted to two armored car men. He had the idea to write about them,” Flowers explained.

Metro Manila is the official entry of U.K. to the Oscars foreign language. It also won the audience award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

At Theater 3, Paul Soriano and Hannah Espia tell the story behind the filming of Transit . Hannah Espia makes it known that the story centers on laws affecting some of the 40,000 Filipinos currently living and working in Israel. The four year old son of Moises (Ping Medina) gets deported to Manila after he was found by the Israeli police. Irma Adlawan who played as Janet the grandmother of the young boy is an outstanding actress in the film. Transit focuses on the lives of displaced people those seeking asylum or foreign workers who chose to live in a foreign land for better wages.

Espia who graduated from the UP FilmCenter revealed that her parents own a travel agency. “I was in a flight from Tel Aviv to Manila. I saw this baby who kept crying. The mother said that they are being deported to Manila. So I decided to write about this issue.

Paul Soriano added that when the film was shown in Israel, the ambassador said that the movie showed the universal theme of love. Espia said that this law in Israel needs to be re-looked at because of it is not a fair law. The film distribution of Transit is handled by Electric Entertainment headed by Fil-Am producer Dean Devlin.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival ends on January 13.

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