Focus on the Philippines: Sandara Park returns as reality show judge

Plus: Karylle Tatlonghari to headline Singapore TV series; Millie Bobby Brown headlines Manila Comic Con; Filipino films to screen in Toronto festival.

Sandara Park. Courtesy YG Entertainment
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South Korean pop star Sandara Park is making a big comeback in the Philippines – she returns to Manila in September to Manila to join the panel of judges on Pinoy Boyband Superstar, a new singing competition based on the Latin-American reality series La Banda, created by Simon Cowell.

Now 31, the actress rose to fame in the Philippines after appearing in the reality talent show Star Circle Quest. She went on to star in several films and television series, aside from releasing chart-topping records. Park moved back to South Korea in 2007 to join the girl group 2NE1 – currently one of the biggest musical acts in Korea.

“This is going to be exciting. I love you all,” Park said in a message to her fans uploaded on social media.

“The Philippines is where I grew up, where I envisioned myself as a musician,” she said in an interview. “It is such a special opportunity to come back to the place that showed me love, even though I’m not a Filipino national.”

On the panel, Park will be joined by actor Aga Muchlach, singer Yeng Constantino and comic Vice Ganda. The show will be presented by singer Billy Crawford.

Pinoy Boyband Superstar is scheduled to premiere on September 10 and will be broadcast worldwide, including in the UAE, on The Filipino Channel.

Karylle Tatlonghari to headline Singapore TV series

Filipino singer and presenter Karyllle Tatlonghari revealed she is currently filming for a forthcoming television series in Singapore. Titled Private Investigator, the crime drama is planned to be broadcast in several networks all over Asia.

Her agent, Arnold Vegafria, posted on social media this week: “Proud Pinoy moment: Karylle as a lead actress in a new Asian TV series … by Mediacorp, Singapore’s leading TV network … This piece of good news should warm the hearts and cast a ray of sunshine on the storm-stricken denizens of Manila on this rainy weekend.”

Tatlonghari, 35, will play the lead role of a single parent secretly working as a private investigator. The series is directed by Ian Seymour and will also feature Chinese actors Terence Tay and Kaidon Jinyan.

Relocating to Singapore this month to film the series, Tatlonghari has taken time off from her hosting duties in the daily variety programme It's Showtime.

"I really miss my family from It's Showtime because through them, I learned to dream big," she said in an interview. "Filipinos possess world-class talents that need to be developed."

Private Investigator is Tatlonghari's third international project set in Singapore: she previously starred in the musical drama series The Kitchen Musical in 2011 and the third season of the action thriller Point of Entry in 2012.

Millie Bobby Brown headlines Manila Comic Con

Millie Bobby Brown, the 12-year-old breakout star of the hit new supernatural series Stranger Things, will be in the Philippines to headline the AsiaPop Comic Con Manila, which will be held from August 26 to 28.

She will be joined by other international celebrities at the convention including English actors Nicholas Hoult and Joe Dempsie. Hoult starred as Beast in the X-Men movies, while Dempsie played Gentry in Game of Thrones. Also making an appearance is Australian actress Claire Holt, best known for playing Rebekah Mikaelson on The Vampire Diaries.

Manila's premiere Comic Con event will also treat attendees with footage from Marvel's forthcoming television series and films, including the much-awaited Doctor Strange movie adaptation.

Filipino films to screen in Toronto festival

Three Filipino films have been selected to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada, to be held from September 8 to 18.

Lav Diaz's Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left) has been included in the Wavelengths section, which features films that "challenge the mainstream and seeks the replenish and redefine the art of cinema". The festival's programme describes Ang Babaeng Humayo as an examination of the "economic disparity in modern Filipino society, as seen through the eyes of a woman released from prison 30 years after being wrongfully convicted". Featuring 60-year-old actress Charo Santos-Concio in her first starring-role in two decades, the film was recently selected to join the main competition of this year's Venice International Film Festival, which will be held from August 31 to September 10.

Brillante Mendoza's Ma' Rosa, which won the best actress award for lead star Jaclyn Jose at the Cannes Film Festival, will screen in the Toronto festival's Masters section.

Raymund Ribay Gutierrez's Imago, a short film produced by Mendoza about a single mother who works in a funeral parlour, has been selected as part of the Short Cuts line-up.