Xeph Suarez’s Si Astri maka si Tambulah opens with Astri, a trans woman, dancing the pangalay, a dance typically performed by women at Sama Badjao weddings, to a crowd of onlookers. It’s not the real thing yet. Astri is saving the actual dance for her own wedding. But with her lover, Tambulah, providing the music, it feels just as sweet as the real thing.
When Astri is later forced to marry a woman betrothed to her from birth, Astri finds her relationship with Tambulah threatened. So begins the incredible story of young love and identity, and the painful choices we make and the ones made for us that keep us from having both.
Si Astri maka si Tambulah made its world premiere at the 2017 QCinema International Film Festival. From there, it went the festival route winning Best Direction and Jury Prize for Best Film at the 2018 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival. It also went on to be nominated for Best Short Film at the Gawad Urian and FAMAS Awards the same year.
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