Sunday Beauty Queen, 1st documentary to be accepted to MMFF in 42 years



Sunday Beauty Queen makes history as the first full-length documentary to be accepted as official entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival in 42 years.

Sa unang pagkakataon ay may isang docu film na pumasok bilang entry sa annual film fest ng pelikulang Pilipino tuwing Pasko, na nagpapahiwatig sa sinasabing pagbabago sa takbo ng festival.

Sa presscon ng naturang documentary, inamin ng writer-director na si Babyruth Villarama na ikinagulat nila na sila ay napili bilang entry.

“It is really surprising. We didn’t expect it. Chuck [Gutierrez, the film’s producer said] na subukan lang namin na ipasok as entry. Wala naman daw mawawala sa amin. Besides we have a good film. There is no perfect time to show it than on Christmas Day dahil maraming mga Pilipino na umuuwi tuwing Pasko,” ani ng lady director.

Nang tanungin kung bakit siya gumawa ng pelikula tungkol sa mga domestic helpers sa Hong Kong, sinabi niya na dating domestic helper ang nanay niya and it is something personal for her.

“Plus gusto ko rin gawin ang kwento nila kasi from time to time nakikita natin sila. When we talked to the consulate in Hong Kong, problema talaga ang funding para sa kanila para matulungan ang ang mga DH sa Hong Kong. At the moment there are 500,000 Pinoy DHs in Hong Kong,  including those in the shelters. Mayroong di makauwi. Nasa ospital. Itong beauty pageant na ito ang nagsisilbing fund raising nila so medyo may lalim na ganoon,” kwento pa niya.

Sunday Beauty Queen follows a particular yet universal tale of OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), Filipino maids dream to become Hong Kong’s beauty queens while revealing their lives with their employers.
The film made its world premiere when it competed last October at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival, where it earned rave reviews from several international media. The Hollywood publication Variety hailed the film “as an engaging documentary on Filipina overseas workers’ self-empowerment through beauty pageants.”

Ayon kay Direk Villarama, ang limang bidang OFWs na lumabas sa documentary ay nagmula sa iba’t-ibang rehiyon ng Pilipinas namely Iloilo, General Santos and Ilocos.

“They said na sana their families will have the chance to watch the movie Kasi they are proud of what they’ve done. Ang alam ng relatives nila they work as katulong, kasambahay pero they don’t know that they are title holders in HK and some HK companies are sponsoring the event.”

Marami rin dumadalo pag pageant night na whole year round pero tuwing Sunday lang nagaganap dahil iyon lang ang free day ng mga OFWs.

Ano ang naging reaction na sila ay nakapasok sa Magic 8?

“I was speechless. Nagulat ako tapos sabi ko let us calm daw na this is happening. Alam kong maraming nagulat. We have a good film and we can say na pwede talaga siyang pam-Pasko. Pag sinasabi nila na walang pelikulang pambata, pwede talaga siyang pambata. Hindi lang ito pampamilya, isama mo pa si yaya.”

Ano kaya ang magiging reaction ng audience pag napanood nila?

“We are hopeful. I think they will be curious na malaman ano ba itong documentary na ito? Ano ba itong reality show na ito? Kami parang we will just try to reach out to all the people. We are hopeful na magugustuhan nila kasi kwento nila ito. They will see their experience, their story unfold on the big screen. Lahat naman tayo may kakilalang OFW, one way or the other, family natin, kaibigan, so makaka-relate ka rito. I hope that all cinemas will give this documentary a chance na mapanood. I am excited and I just hope that you all like it.”

Ayon pa sa kanya, naging problema nila ang funding ng pelikula. Apat na taon bago natapos ang movie. Dalawang taon ang ginugol sa research tapos dalawang taon sa actual shoot kaya pabalik-balik sila sa Hong Kong para mabuo ang movie.

“There was a time nakatira kami sa isang dorm sa HK, ako, ang camera man, tapos lahat ng gamit. Parang isang bunk bed. We stayed their for 20 days tapos ang toilet namin kasama na ang bathroom. This has been a journey for us tapos yung relationship pa namin with the employer. We had to talk to them pero nagulat kami sa support na ibinigay nila.

"Especially the Hong Kong film producers we worked with like Michael Wong. Tumulong siya to talk to the Hong Kong nationals because we cannot speak the language. He bridged the gap.”

Ano pa ang hirap na naranasan nila during the shoot?

“Pag documentary, yung access. Imagine, may camera na nakatutok sa personal na buhay mo and sinusundan ko sila. What is the borderline in recording them and letting them be? Hindi scripted. Walang lines pero may shot list naman ako. May mga araw na sasabihin ng employer na hindi pwede mag-shoot kahit naka-schedule na. So another day of waiting and another day of payment sa hotel. Mabuti naman yung organizer ng pageant tinulungan kami. LGBT member siya at idea nila to do a beauty pageant. Beauty and the Les [Lesbian] ang tawag nila noong una kasi most of them are women.”

Sunday Beauty Queen is produced by Voyage Studios and TBA (Tuko Film Productions, Buchi Boy Entertainment, Artikulo Uno Productions), the same group behind last year’s box-office and critical hit Heneral Luna.


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Scenes from official trailer of <em>Sunday Beauty Queen</em>
Scenes from official trailer of Sunday Beauty Queen





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