Contestant #4 is a profound queer drama about what suppresses our freedom to express, to live, to be, and, why it’s never too late to reclaim that freedom.
Directed by then-16-year-old best friends, Celeste Lapida and Kaj Palanca, Contestant #4 premiered at the 2016 QCinema International Film Festival where it won the Audience Award for Short Films. It also won Best Short Film in the first-ever Shanghai Queer Film Festival in 2017, and proceeded to be screened in various film fests around the globe, such as Lovers Film Festival Torino LGBQTI Visions, Outfest, and Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
The film stars Joel Saracho and Elijah Canlas.
Kaj and Celeste are now working on their next films. Taking My Time to Dance is Celeste’s love letter to the local queer community. While in the works for Kaj is Extra Festive, a Christmas movie; and Henry, his “confessional city” film. If you’re interested in supporting their films, you can follow the instructions here.
“Act One” is Rappler’s platform for Filipino short films, empowering filmmakers and advancing causes. A new title comes out every month. Subscribe and watch on Rappler’s Youtube page.
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