"Billie & Emma," "Lingua Franca," and other local LGBTQ+ films are in PeliKULAYa

Jun 7, 2022 0 comments

As we parade our rainbow flags and celebrate love and diversity this Pride Month, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has some exciting films for us! This year, FDCP proudly presents PeliKULAYa International LGBTQIA+ Film Festival, slated from June 10 to 26.
With the theme, “Pantay-pantay, Iba’t ibang Kulay!” Pelikulaya aims to highlight the narratives of underrepresented members of the LGBTQIA+ community, with a special focus on the transgender people, to further the understanding and support of inclusivity, visibility, diversity, and equality within the community.  
So, before we head to the cinemas or watch these films at the comfort of our homes at FDCP channel, join us as we delve into the 13 award-winning films to be screened under the Spectra Pelicula section.

"Lingua Franca" (2019)

Written and directed by Isabel Sandoval, Lingua Franca starring Sandoval herself, follows the story of an undocumented trans Filipino caregiver who pursues a marriage to obtain a green card. As The Hollywood Reporter, Stephen Dalton, describes it, Lingua Franca is a "heartfelt personal statement rooted in timely, gripping issues that obviously resonate deeply with its author, notably trans rights and Trump-era immigration anxieties."

"Gameboys: The Movie" (2021)

Directed by Ivan Andrew Payawal, Gameboys: The Movie is based on the first Boys' Love series in the Philippines, Gameboys. With its lead actors Elijah Canlas (Cairo) and Kokoy de Santos (Gavreel), the movie follows the story of gamers turned lovers, Cairo and Gavreel, as they get to spend time together in Gavreel's house, a few weeks before Cairo returns to his province. Their relationship is tested as they have to deal with distance, the pandemic, fate and circumstance. Will Cairo and Gavreel be able to prove once again that their love for each other is strong enough to withstand fate and circumstance?

"Big Night!" (2021)

Directed by Jun Robles Lana, Big Night revolves around the story of Dharna/Panfilo Macaspac, Jr., played by Christian Bables. Dharna is a law-abiding and peace-loving gay beautician who owns Philippine Hair Lines, a small salon in one of the slums of Manila. Her life takes a drastic turn when her name appears on a neighborhood watchlist of drug users. Fearing that she might become a target for assassination, which has been the lot of some of the drug suspects in the watchlist, she sets out on a frustrating, and unbelievably comical, bureaucratic odyssey in pursuit of answers and people that could clear her name.

"Billie & Emma" (2018)

Directed by Samantha Lee, this Filipino drama film is an LGBT coming-of-age story set in the mid-1990s. Starring Gabby Padilla as Emma and Zar Donato as Billie, the plot follows the story of Billie, a teenage rock star who moves to the province and meets Emma, a model and almost the perfect example of a good daughter. Together, they go through the experience of first love.

"Esoterika: Maynila" (2014)

Directed by Elwood Perez, this film follows the story of Mario (Ronnie Liang), a nursing student who also works at a Chinese restaurant at night. Drawing from his personal adventures, film director, Elwood Perez veers away from standard-issue plot conventions in this paradoxically moral tale of a young man en route to becoming a creative artist.

"Manila by Night" (1980)

Directed by Ishmael Bernal, Manila by Night is a controversial 1980s Filipino film starring Charito Solis (Virgie), Gina Alajar (Vanessa), Alma Moreno (Adelina), Cherie Gil (Kano), Rio Locsin (Bea), and Lorna Tolentino (Baby). The film unveils the hidden nightlife of ordinary people living in Manila.  Released at the height of the Marcos regime, the film exposes unemployment, prostitution, drug addiction and lack of decent housing, by portraying the hideous aspects of life in the city.

"Pink Halo-Halo" (2010)

Directed by Joselito O. Altarejos, Pink Halo Halo follows the story of a boy named Natoy (Paolo Constantino) who finds joy and excitement in the simplest of things, especially in eating pink halo-halo. Things change suddenly when he sees his father on the news report about the ongoing war in Mindanao, a footage of a soldier, almost bleeding to death, as his father, Corporal Lino Bolante (Allen Dizon). This starts his journey as he and his mother Sonia (Angeli Bayani) wait for help that comes too late. This story does not only show how the war in Mindanao robs a child of his innocence, but also shows the shadows of war that Filipino homes confront every day.

"Tale of the Lost Boys" (2017)

Directed by Joselito Altarejos, Tale of the Lost Boys revolves around the story of friendship and the unexpected connection between Alex (Oliver Aquino), a Filipino mechanic, and Jerry (Soda Voyu), a Taiwanese aborigine student who are both in search of their identities.

"Topografia" (2022)

Directed by Gutierrez Mangansakan II, Topografia is set on the eve of a fictional inaugural of the Bangsamoro Government. The film revolves around Daud (Felix Roco), a scion of a political dynasty who is reluctant to become a member of the Parliament, and his college buddy Marco, a struggling journalist assigned to cover the inaugural. The duo drives off to the countryside, reminiscing their days as student activists and discovering their deepest longings as hostages of a future they will inherit.

"Kasal" (2014)

Directed by Joselito Altarejos, Kasal follows the story of a gay couple: Sherwin (Arnold Reyes) a lawyer who dealt with annulment cases and Paolo (Oliver Aquino) an indie film director. But things get complicated as they are invited to attend a wedding. The film shows how a gay couple have to navigate difficult social norms and also questions the openness of Filipino society and its institutions.

"Traslacion: Ang Paglakad sa Altar ng Alanganin" (2015)

Directed by Will Fredo, this award-winning documentary film focuses on four LGBT couples and their stand on equality and the right to marry. This documentary addresses their complicated quests in defining themselves within a conservative society.

"Memories of Forgetting" (2021)

Directed by Joselito Altarejos, Memories of Forgetting revolves around the story of two former lovers, Jim (Noel Escondo) and Michael (Jonathan Ivan Rivera), who had a bad falling out but meet five years after during the pandemic. Will they be able to finally have closure? What if the mother, who is knowledgeable about the affair that hurt her so much, gets in the way? Will love prevail or will fate intervene in this story of MAN LOVE?

"Markova: Comfort Gay" (Co-presented by ABS-CBN Film Restoration)

Directed by Gil Portes, this film follows the retelling of the life of Walter Dempster Jr., aka Walterina Markova, a half Jamaican, half Filipino who was forced to be a sex slave during the Japanese occupation in World War II. The character Walterina Markova was played by the country’s King of Comedy, Dolphy (who played the adult Markova), while his two sons Eric Quizon and Jeffrey Quizon, played the role of two younger Markovas in two more different phases of his life. 
Aside from the Spectra Pelicula section, Pelikulaya will also present short films in Rainbow Shorts Category and international LGBTQ+ themed films. They will also have a special Pride events at FDCP’s Cinematheque Centers in Manila, Iloilo, Negros, Davao, and Nabunturan.
For more details about the screenings schedule, you can follow them on their official website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for upcoming announcements.

━━ Written By  Karla Maginit

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