Focus on the Philippines: OFW film starring real-life nanny wins in New York

Plus: Filipino animator for Finding Dory visits Manila and Jake Macapagal cast in HBO Asia series Halfworlds.
A handout still from Remittance, starring real-life OFW Angel Barotia (Courtesy: Remittance)
A handout still from Remittance, starring real-life OFW Angel Barotia (Courtesy: Remittance)

Remittance, the American film about the struggles of a Filipino maid in Singapore, bagged the Best Screenplay and Best Actress awards at the recently concluded Brooklyn Film Festival in New York. Written and directed by Patrick Daly and Joel Fendelman, the film stars Angel Barotia, a real-life overseas domestic worker in Singapore.

“We interviewed hundreds of women and men from across Asia working as maids, bar girls, waitresses, construction workers and sailors,” said Daly and Fendelman in a statement. “We were overwhelmed by the range of stories and the difference between their lived realities and their aspirations – material that we felt would tell a powerful bottom-up story about how globalisation affects hundreds of millions of people living below the line.”

The film was shot in Singapore on a small budget of $50,000 (Dh184,000). According to the filmmakers, the title Remittance refers to the wages overseas workers send back home to support their families. There are about 250,000 domestic workers currently based in Singapore. 

“This is not just a Singapore story but a global story of the commodification of labour, the exportation of mothers from poor third world countries to first world nations,” they said. “Singapore is a microcosm of what is happening across the globe – it could be Los Angeles, Rome, Dubai, New York, London.”

Barotia hails from the Philippine region of Bicol, where she was working as a vegetable vendor until she decided to move to Singapore in 2009. 

“My salary supports my husband and my two daughters,” she said. “I dream of finishing work here soon so I can return home to be with my family.”

Barotia’s Singaporean employers allowed her to participate in the movie, even hiring a new domestic worker for the family during the film’s three-month shoot. 

Remittance also features Filipino actors Paolo O’Hara and Olive Nieto. It is scheduled to screen in the Philippines at the World Premieres Film Festival Philippines, held from June 29 to July 10 in Manila. 

Filipino animator for Finding Dory visits Manila

Filipino animator Paul Abadilla was the special guest at the premiere of the latest Disney-Pixar film Finding Dory held in Manila last week. A sketch artist for Pixar Animation Studios, the 32-year-old Abadilla worked on the environment design for the movie.

Born in Manila, Abadilla moved to America with his family at age seven. He joined Walt Disney Animation Studios as an intern in 2008 and went on to work on the art departments of numerous films including Brave (2012), Monsters University (2013) and Inside Out (2015).

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Abadilla said there are several Filipino animators currently working in Pixar — they are collectively known in the company as “Pixnoys”. One of the most well-known in the group is Ronnie del Carman, who co-directed Inside Out.

“We’re really well-represented in the company, in different departments,” Abadilla said. “We gather once a year — it’s pot luck. It’s all about food — we always congregate around food.”

At the Manila premiere of Finding Dory last weekend, Abadilla was accompanied by his family members. 

“It’s great to be home to be with my family and I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to come back and share what we did for Finding Dory,” he said. “This is an unforgettable experience and I am very moved by the warm reception I’ve received so far.”

Abadilla also led an animation workshop for 250 students in Manila. 

Finding Dory, a sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo and currently screening in the UAE, focuses on Dory’s adventure to find her parents. “My journey back home to Manila has been a similar experience rediscovering where I came from,” Abadilla told CNN Philippines. “And reminding myself that no matter where I go, being Filipino and holding on to those roots is very important.”

Jake Macapagal cast in HBO Asia series

Filipino actor Jake Macapagal will join the second season of the HBO Asia series Halfworlds. The fantasy thriller, which premièred in November last year, revolves around mysterious creatures from Indonesian mythology.

Directed by Thai filmmaker Ekachai Uekrongtham, the show’s second season began shooting in Bangkok this week. Several sequences will also be filmed in Indonesia. Halfworlds also features actors from Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan including Tia Tavee (Asia’s Next Top Model) and Teresa Daley (Transformers: Age of Extinction).

Before being cast in the series, the 50-year-old Macapagal was a prolific theatre actor in Manila. He headlined the 2013 British drama Metro Manila, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie, directed by Sean Ellis, was also the United Kingdom’s official entry to the 2013 Academy Awards.

Published: June 21, 2016 04:00 AM


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