film festivals

4 daring films by Filipinos to be shown at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival

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4 daring films by Filipinos to be shown at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival
PRESS RELEASE: Sundance Film Festival’s short film programmer Irene Suico Soriano praises the filmmakers for daring to tackle topics that are considered taboo, and making these relevant for today’s audiences

The following is a press release from the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

Among the 92 films to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival from January 18-28, 2024 in Salt Lake City and Park City in Utah are four works by Filipinos. These are the documentary And So It Begins by Ramona Diaz, and the short films Dream Creep by Carlos A.F. Lopez, Thirstygirl by Alexadra Qin, and Bold Eagle by Whammy Alcazaren.

And So It Begins is set during the 2022 presidential elections in the Philippines and follows three key figures, namely, election frontrunner Ferdinand Marcos Jr., former vice president Leni Robredo, and Nobel Peace prize winner and Rappler founder Maria Ressa. The documentary will be unveiled at a premiere at The Ray Theater in Park City.

Regarding the short films, Sundance Film Festival’s short film programmer Irene Suico Soriano praised the filmmakers for daring to tackle topics that are considered taboo, and making these relevant for today’s audiences. She says, “Each of these shorts delves into subject matters that aren’t typically discussed at the family dinner table — sex addiction, the pursuit of love and intimacy in the digital age, and the confrontation of both internal and external horrors…. While these topics may radiate a certain seductive allure, beneath the surface, there exists a profound and delicate exploration of the human experience and challenges of navigating the world.”

Making its debut at Sundance is director-screenwriter Carlos A.F. Lopez’s Dream Creep, a 12-minute tale about a couple whose night is disturbed by eerie sounds. Lopez is a former musician; his mother is a Filipina and his father is a Mexican.

French-Filipino-Chinese Alexandra Qin was born and raised in Paris, France and now lives in New York. Her 10-minute drama Thirstygirl is about a woman who tries to hide her secret sex addiction from her young sister while the two are on a road trip. Thirstygirl, — Qin’s directorial debut — has made the rounds of several film festivals in the US, including the 2023 Palm Springs International Shortfest.

Both Dream Creep and Thirstygirl will be available online to US audiences during the festival through the Sundance Film Festival player app.

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The fourth film by a Filipino is Bold Eagle by Whammy Alcazaren. Winner of the Best Short Film award at the 2022 QCinema International Film Festival, it is about an “alter” (someone who performs lascivious acts over the internet) who suffers an existential crisis during the pandemic. The 16-minute experimental dramedy is part of Sundance’s Midnight Short Film Program and is competing alongside 52 other short films. Alcazaren is a director and multi-awarded production designer from Manila. Joining Alcazaren in Sundance is Bold Eagle producer Alemberg Ang.

The Sundance Film Festival organizers proudly state on their website, “We celebrate independent storytelling both online and in person…. The Sundance Film Festival is the ultimate gathering of original storytellers and audiences seeking new voices and fresh perspectives.”

For more information, visit www.sundance.org. – Rappler.com

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