TFC News

Paris Zarcilla's 'Raging Grace' bags major prizes in SXSW film festival

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Mar 25 2023 09:12 PM

Watch more News on iWantTFC

British-Filipino director Paris Zarcilla's debut film "Raging Grace" has won the two major prizes at the film festival South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

The horror film tells the story of Filipino immigrants struggling to survive in the United Kingdom.

"We need to give ourselves permission to rage," Zarcilla said. "If only to be able to transcend the anger, the frustration into a place of peace, pride, a sense of belonging, and not just operating from a place of survival."

"Raging Grace" won the Best Debut Feature and the Narrative Grand Jury Award at the SXSW.

Zarcilla wrote the film as he was processing complex emotions, as the child of Filipino immigrants in the post-Brexit and COVID pandemic era in the UK, where he was born and raised.

"It was a reaction to a year of great racial chaos," he shared about the film. "It was a reaction to the rise in East and Southeast Asian hate, particularly in the UK."

Zarcilla added: "It was very shocking to see pictures of friends of friends with faces caved in and bloody noses.  It honestly inspired a rage in me that I thought was incredibly dangerous and I put all of that into writing."

Filipina actress Max Eigenmann plays the character of Joy as an undocumented immigrant caregiver, along with her daughter Grace played by Jaedan Boadilla.

In May 2020, the Filipino UK Nurses Association reported having the highest number of COVID-related deaths among its staff at a staggering 22 percent.

That figure disturbed Zarcilla and others who decried the lack of protection given to frontline workers.

Filipino healthcare workers also reported being victims of Asian hate attacks.

Like Grace, Zarcilla grew up with a hardworking Filipino mother, Antonio Zarcilla, who herself was a caregiver at a nursing home in London.

Zarcilla calls his film a "coming of rage," and said it also serves as a claiming of space.

"This is why a film like ‘Raging Grace’ is so important because it puts us on a map in a way that British cinema has never seen," Zarcilla said. "It is the first British-Filipino film to ever exist in British cinema."

"Raging Grace" also features music using traditional Filipino instruments like the Kulintang, played by Filipino artists.