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A Filipino film about a retired filmmaker is premiering at Sundance 2022

A Filipino film about a retired filmmaker is premiering at Sundance 2022

Here’s some good news to wrap up our week: A Filipino film has landed on Sundance Film Festival’s roster, and will premiere in an IRL cinema to boot.

Directed and written by Martika Ramirez Escobar (“Living Things”), “Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago” (Leonor Will Never Die) is set to compete at Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic competition, together with nine other films from the United Kingdom, Hungary, Australia, Brazil, and more. It’s the same category where Filipino-British co-production “Metro Manila” won for audience choice in 2013.

“Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago” zeroes in on Leonor (Sheila Francisco), a retired filmmaker known for making successful action films in the past. However, she struggles to make ends meet in the present. 

While reading an advertisement looking for screenplays, she soon revisits her unfinished script about Ronwaldo, a young and noble man forced to avenge his brother’s murder at the hands of thugs. Eventually, she falls into a coma after a TV lands on her head, compelling her to be her own unfinished screenplay’s action hero.

“‘Leonor Will Never Die’ started around 8 years ago and [was] completed during the pandemic. This movie was made with love, tears [,] and virus,” said the film’s official page. Meanwhile, director-writer Escobar penned a sentimental “thank you” post to the film’s whole team on Facebook.

Out of a pool of 3,762 submissions, 82 films will be screened at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, happening from Jan. 20 to 30, 2022. For tickets, head to their website.

Read more:

Nick Deocampo tells us why it’s difficult to preserve Filipino films 

Understanding Filipino youth culture through regional cinema

If you’re digging for 100 Filipino films, here’s where to go 

Film poster by Justin Besana




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