TFC News

'Leonor' makes it to Hollywood

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Mar 10 2023 01:07 PM

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Right after her first Hollywood red carpet at the 38th Film Independent Spirit Awards, where her film 'Leonor Will Never Die' was nominated, Sheila Francisco had a plan: meet as many Hollywood stars as she can.

The veteran actress flew in from the Philippines to attend the star-studded event which champions independent filmmaking.

The 72-year-old actress admitted being inspired by the success of older leading women in Hollywood like Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis.

"It hits me every time because I feel that's exactly what's happening to me. Who would have thought at my age, I'd be here. I'd be doing a film that’s been recognized all over the world. It's just been a beautiful, blessed, roller coaster ride," Francisco shared.

Directed by Martika Escobar, the Sundance-winning Filipino film was a Best International Film nominee. The Pakistani movie 'Joyland' won the category.

Although her film did not win, Francisco was joyfully victorious in her quest to meet as many Hollywood stars as she could, many of whom congratulated her when they realized that she was the star of 'Leonor Will Never Die.'

She met Oscar and Golden Globe winners Cate Blanchett, Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Quinta Brunson.

"I can’t put my head around it. It’s amazing. It’s such an amazing experience," Francisco said.

Francisco has also met with Hollywood representatives for casting opportunities.

Fil-Am actress-producer Sumalee Montano also attended the Spirit Awards as a nominee.

'Riotsville, U.S.A.,' the film she co-produced with Grace Lay, was nominated in the Best Documentary category.

"It's a beautiful thing to be in Hollywood and get to play in different arenas," Montano said. "I'm so lucky to play as an actress, but now as a producer, I get to actually have a hand in which stories get told. And that’s kind of everything when you're really wanting to support voices of communities that have been underrepresented for way too long."

Film Independent's Spirit Awards is one of the last major events in Hollywood before the award season finale: the 95th Academy Awards on March 12.