Focus on the Philippines: Stars set for Valentine’s concert in Dubai

Plus: Pia Wurtzbach appears at New York Fashion Week; KZ Tandingan beats Jessie J in Chinese singing contest; French agent acquires Filipino film Nervous Translation

Three Filipino actresses are headlining a Valentine’s Day-themed concert in Dubai on February 15.

Carla Abellana, Aicelle Santos and Andrea Torres will perform songs and meet their fans at the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium tomorrow in a show titled Pusong Pinoy sa Dubai (Filipino Heart in Dubai).

Abellana appears on the television series Mulawin vs Ravena and I Heart Davao. Santos, a singer-songwriter, currently headlines the musical version of the acclaimed 1982 Filipino film Himala (Miracle). Torres is a cast member of the Filipino comedy sketch show Bubble Gang.

On Tuesday, Abellana posted on social media that she was on a flight from Manila to the UAE. She wrote, “To all Pinoys in Dubai, please catch us in Pusong Pinoy Dubai on February 15th … See you there!”

The concert, which is free of charge, is jointly organised by the Philippine Consulate of Dubai and GMA Pinoy TV, the overseas television channel of Philippine media giant GMA Network. The event will also feature a food fair.

Tickets can be acquired by calling 04 357 5404. Gates open at 7pm and the event starts at 8pm.

Pia Wurtzbach appears at New York Fashion Week

Actress, model and former Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach walked on the catwalk of American designer Sherri Hill’s show at New York Fashion Week.

“Excited to be back this year!” Wurtzbach posted on Instagram alongside a video clip of her appearance.

Wurtzbach first appeared at Hill’s show at New York Fashion Week in 2016, when she was based in New York for the Miss Universe Organisation.

The show also featured reigning Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters from South Africa. The two beauty queens later posed for photographs backstage with Hill.

Back in December, Wurtzbach starred in the comedy film Gandarrapido: The Revenger Squad, which has made history as the highest-grossing Filipino movie of all time, earning over 571 million Philippine pesos (Dh41.2 million) in ticket sales, excluding international screenings.

Wurtzbach is expected to return to Manila after New York Fashion Week to shoot for her next film project, a romantic comedy titled My Perfect You, which will also feature actor Gerald Anderson.

KZ Tandingan beats Jessie J in Chinese singing contest

Filipino singer KZ Tandingan appeared on this week's episode of the Chinese reality singing programme Singer, which features famous musicians from around the world — including British pop star Jessie J, who has dominated the competition's early rounds.

Last Friday, Tandingan performed a cover of Adele's hit track Rolling in the Deep, adding a Filipino rap verse in the middle section. She placed first among all the contenders, dethroning Jessie J's reign. Jessie J, who performed Chaka Khan's Ain't Nobody, placed second.

Tandingan posted on social media: “I’m blessed to be chosen as one of the participants in China’s biggest singing competition, Singer … Please keep our team in your prayers as we step into this unfamiliar and challenging but exciting journey.”

Tandingan also posted a backstage photograph with Jessie J. She wrote, “Love stands 5’9”, has a beautiful Essex accent, sings like a beast, and has a beautiful heart. Love never fails to inspire, never fails to make people happy, and she always takes every opportunity to teach. Jessie J is love. Thank you for all your words and for holding my hand while I nervously wait for my rank. Love you — your forever fan.”

In a behind-the-scenes video, Jessie J congratulated Tandingan and told her: “I’m not your competitor. I’m just your friend.”

The competition’s rankings are based on votes from a live studio audience.

Tandingan, Jessie J, China’s Hua Chenyu and Taiwan’s Angela Chang and Sam Lee will return this Friday for another round of performances.

Tandigan, 25, rose to fame after winning the first edition of The X Factor Philippines back in 2012.

French agent acquires Filipino film Nervous Translation

Paris-based film agent Reel Suspects has acquired the Filipino movie Nervous Translation for an international release. Directed by Shireen Seno, the drama recently won the Netpac Award (Best Asian Film) at the 47th Rotterdam International Film Festival in the Netherlands.

Nervous Translation tells the story of an eight-year-old girl growing up during the politically unstable climate of the Philippines in the 1980s.

Reel Suspects praised the film as “an exceptional and pleasant experience for the audience (…) in very rare occasions we’ve seen this pure innocence and candidness of childhood so well-portrayed onscreen”, according to film magazine Screen International.

Seno is working on her next movie, The Wild Duck, about an overseas Filipino worker in Los Angeles.

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