2 films win praise, awards at Sundance filmfest

‘Leonor Will Never Die’

In a historic first for the Philippine film industry, two Filipino films received praise and won awards at the recently concluded 2022 Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United States.

Consul General in San Francisco Neil Frank Ferrer congratulated the filmmakers behind “Leonor Will Never Die” and “The Headhunter’s Daughter”, as well as the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), “for representing the best of the Philippines at the largest independent film festival in America.”

Feature film “Leonor Will Never Die” became the first Filipino recipient of the Sundance Special Jury Award for Innovative Spirit. This comedy-drama movie follows the story of a retired Filipina filmmaker who became an action hero of her own unfinished screenplay.

Jury member La Frances Hui said, “Switching in-between genres, this film within a film follows an ailing screenwriter who enters her unfinished screenplay of a gangster film to experience and edit her own creation. Constantly shifting in tone, the film is a playful display of the love of cinema. Its innovative and risk-taking spirit is especially commendable.”

‘The Headhunter’s Daughter’

“Leonor Will Never Die” competed against nine other film entries from around the globe under the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Category. According to the FDCP, the country’s last participation in the World Cinema Dramatic section was in 2006, with Auraeus Solito’s “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros).

Meanwhile, “The Headhunter’s Daughter” became the first Filipino film to bring home the Sundance Short Film Grand Jury Prize. In the movie, an aspiring country singer traverses the harrowing roads of the Cordilleran highlands with her trusty brown horse to try her luck in the city.

Jury member Blackhorse Lowe said, “We were entranced by this poetic and dream-like film, which follows its character’s intimate journey with gorgeous cinematography and direction and acting, capturing a unique sense of place.”

“The Headhunter’s Daughter” is the second participating Filipino short film entry in Sundance history, following Sonny Calvento’s “Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss” in 2021. For this year, “The Headhunter’s Daughter” joined 98 other movies in the Sundance Short Films Program.

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© The FilAm 2022

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