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Local actors continue to illuminate international festivals

From left: Angelina Kanapi, Perry Dizon, Angeli Bayani and the late Eddie Garcia

JUST before the pandemic changed the whole world, respected actress Angelina Kanapi took a leap of faith and flew to Seattle, Washington, to marry the man of her dreams.

Before she transferred to her new permanent residence and added “McCumber” to her surname, Kanapi was able to finish a short film, titled Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss by director Sonny Calvento. She is undoubtedly the lucky charm of this project because this short film is the only one from the Philippines selected to compete at the difficult-to-penetrate Sundance International Film Festival.

And just recently, the film also got wonderful reception from the Shanghai International Film Festival, where it was shown at the International Panorama Short Films section.

“I am just lucky to have made that film. It is very special because it was one of my last acting projects before I flew to America. I miss acting, but perhaps when the situation is back to normal and travel wouldn’t be as complicated as it is now, then maybe I’ll go back to do special projects. But right now, I’m happy where I am, with the person who makes me happy everyday,” she shared.

Perry Dizon is one underutilized actor that filmmakers should take a second look at next time they start casting for their movies.

Quietly, Dizon was able to snag a role in the Ryusuke Hamaguchi film Drive My Car,  which is in the main competition category of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Dizon flew to Japan during the last quarter of 2020 to shoot the film in Hiroshima. “It was a liberating experience, and every phase—from auditions to quarantine, travel and the actual shoot—was an adventure.”

Appearing mostly in independent films, Dizon’s filmography is impressive. Having worked with the likes of Arnel Mardoquio, Brillante Mendoza, Lav Diaz, Bradley Liew and many other respected filmmakers, Dizon has done the rounds of first-tier festivals. He is also an accomplished production designer, and a documentary filmmaker himself. His debut short film Of Cats, Dogs, Farm Animals and Sashimi has been invited to many festivals overseas.

Another staple festival figure is Angeli Bayani, who is part of the movie Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle, competing in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival.

“Had it not been for this pandemic, I would surely be in Cannes. I really enjoy attending festivals because of the many opportunities to learn, observe, immerse and improve as a creative artist. I am just blessed to be able to land roles in good films over the years,” she told us. Bayani had to give up another offer for a European production because she is preparing for a wonderful role in the local TV adaptation of the popular Doctor Foster series. “It is sort of my comeback project for ABS-CBN, and I am really excited and looking forward to start work on this new series under Dreamscape Productions.”

Ongoing at the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy, is the Eddie Garcia Retrospective Section in honor of the late iconic deceased actor for his invaluable contributions to the Philippine  film industry. Billed as “Eddie Garcia: Life as a Film Epic,” the special tribute will showcase four feature films and one short film of the late, great actor-director.

The restored version of Ishmael Bernal’s Pagdating sa Dulo and Jun Lana’s Bwakaw will both have their Italian premieres, online worldwide, and offline screenings. Also to be shown are Raymond Red’s Cannes Palm d’Or winning short Anino, Joel Lamangan’s Rainbow Sunset and the Garcia-directed classic Sinasamba Kita.

At the main competition section, Antoinette Jadaone’s Fan Girl starring Paulo Avelino and newbie Charlie Dizon will try to give us some good news soon.

While the film industry tries to rise from the effects brought about by these challenging times, our wonderful Filipino actors continue to illuminate the world with their brilliance and legacies.

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