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Filipino Canadians win big at 2022 Canadian Screen Awards

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Apr 20 2022 06:12 PM

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Filipino Canadians ruled the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards following the win of the film 'Scarborough' as Best Motion Picture.

The film follows a year in the life of three children and their caregivers as they live and struggle in a low-income community outside Toronto.

It is based on the highly acclaimed debut novel of Filipino Canadian author Catherine Hernandez who also wrote her very first screenplay for the film and won as Best Adapted Screenplay.

"Capturing that time in my life of living with such precarity and understanding that it was a community that was there for me, that helped me stick to my guns and survive it all. I really wanted to give a love letter to a community," Hernandez shared.

The film, which was co-directed by Filipino Canadian documentary filmmaker Shasha Nakhai with her partner Rich Williamson, won Best Direction. Hernandez said that she chose Nakhai and Williamson because she knows they can truly depict the gritty feel of her Scarborough neighbourhood.

"I was receiving these offers to option the novel into a film. And these people were very talented filmmakers. It's just that they were polished. And that's not what Scarborough is. It's not a polished place."

Hernandez also credited Nakhai and Williamson for getting a great cast that included 13-year old Filipino Canadian actor Liam Diaz. Diaz, who played the role of 'Bing,' won as Best Actor, one of the youngest to ever win it. 

"It was quite astounding how well Shasha and Rich did for casting. This entire film, like all of the characters were cast so well, they were exactly like how I imagined in my head," Hernandez noted.

Meanwhile, Hernandez, whose parents moved to Canada from Manila in the 70's, regrets not learning how to speak Tagalog which she described as a beautiful language.

"Certainly Filipinos were not the only ones who were told this but a lot of immigrant families were told at that time, during I guess that was our second wave of coming here to Canada, that it's best that we all speak the same language, and that is horrible."

The award-winning author is grateful that immigrants, other people of color, the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized groups are able to see their experiences through her work. She believes that change could only happen with the involvement of these groups.

"I do have hope in people's abilities to have difficult conversations with each other, to create systems that work for themselves, free of waiting for the government to make decisions for us," Hernandez said.

'Scarborough' is now showing in select theatres and will be available to stream starting May 3.