Focus on the Philippines: Filipino acts compete on Asia’s Got Talent final

Plus: Filipino-American composer Robert Lopez nominated for Golden Globe; Filipino girl wins international science competition; Charo Santos-Concio headlines new thriller by Mikhail Red

Filipino beatboxer Neil Rey Garcia Llanes finished in third place on Asia's Got Talent. Courtesy AXN.jpg
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Filipino dance crew DMX Comvalenoz finished as the runner-up of this year's edition of Asia's Got Talent. During a final held on Thursday, December 14 in Singapore, Indonesian illusionist The Sacred Riana won the public vote and walked away with a US$100,000 prize (Dh367,000).

DMX Comvalenoz, a 10-member group, was a judges’ favourite throughout the competition. “Personally, I hope you guys win,” Korean-American musician Jay Park told them before the results were announced.

Producer David Foster added: “You’re my guys and you’re my dolls. All three of us are fans of you guys and we are so proud of what you’ve accomplished on this show.” The panel also featured Indonesian singer Anggun.

DJ and beatboxer Neil Rey Garcia Llanes, another contestant from the Philippines, finished in third place.

Foster told him, “You said that this (beatboxing) is your medicine. It’s the best medicine. It’s unbelievable. I think people need to vote for you. You killed it.”

The reality talent programme follows the format of the global Got Talent franchise, which currently has 70 local versions produced around the world. The first season of Asia's Got Talent, which aired in 2015, was won by the Filipino shadow playgroup El Gamma Penumbra.

Filipino-American composer Robert Lopez nominated for Golden Globe 

Filipino-American composer Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez have been nominated for the Best Original Song award at the 75th Golden Globe Awards for their track Remember Me for the computer-animated film Coco.

Lopez said the song was a source of consolation when he recently lost two of his Filipino family members.

"The song is very personal to us and our family—it has consoled us on the loss of my grandmother, who emigrated to the US from Manila in 1945, and my mother, who passed away this year in August," Lopez told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

"We were thrilled to hear we'd been nominated for a Golden Globe award. Coco and our song Remember Me are about the Mexican tradition of Dia de Muertos, a holiday that is also celebrated in the Philippines, where my ancestors hail from. Kristen and I are very grateful to our Filipino fans."

Lopez, 42, is best known for co-creating the hit musicals The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q, and for composing the songs featured in the Disney animated film Frozen. He is the youngest of only 12 people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. The 75th Golden Globe Awards will be held on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.

Filipino girl wins international science competition

Hillary Andales, an 18-year-old student from the Philippines, has won the global science video contest Breakthrough Junior Challenge for her explainer video on relativity. Andales, a student of Philippine Science High School-Eastern Visayas, will receive US$250,000 (Dh918,000) in educational prizes. Her school has also won a new laboratory worth  US$100,000 (Dh367,000) and her teacher a prize of US$50,000 (Dh184,000).

Andales’s entry was a three-minute video explaining the equivalence of reference frames in general relativity. She beat over 3,200 video submissions from 11,000 students hailing from 178 countries, according to the Breakthrough Junior Challenge.

“May this inspire more young people, especially my dear Filipinos, to look up and become scientists themselves, the stars that we should all look up to,” Andales said in her acceptance speech.

Now in its third year, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge is an annual global competition for students to inspire creative thinking about science. Students are judged on how well they could communicate a complex scientific concept. Among the founders of the Breakthrough Prizes are Google’s Sergey Brin and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan.

Charo Santos-Concio headlines new thriller by Mikhail Red

Last year, veteran Filipino actress and producer Charo Santos-Concio returned to the big screen in Lav Diaz's Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left), her first starring role in two decades. The film received critical acclaim in festivals around the world and won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival.

Earlier this week, the 62-year-old star announced she has signed on to headline a new feature film from director, Mikhail Red: a thriller titled Eerie. Red's latest film, Birdshot, is the Philippine contender for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2018 Academy Awards.

"Mikhail is one of the country's most promising young directors. His past works have shown how much he knows film as a language," Santos-Concio told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "What makes Eerie interesting is that it's a horror script, but it also tackles important issues about doctrine and science, faith and logic."

The movie, which will be produced by Star Cinema, will also feature popular actress Bea Alonzo.

Red described the project as “a new and exciting partnership between big stars, a big studio but with material from an independent filmmaker”. He said he recently pitched the film to foreign partners at the Buncheon International Film Festival.


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