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Fil-Am Creative's inaugural film fest celebrates PH filmmakers, artists

Steve Angeles | TFC News Los Angeles

Posted at Nov 15 2023 06:29 PM

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The nonprofit entertainment group Fil-Am Creative recently held its inaugural Filipino Film Festival in Los Angeles.

The three-day event featured dozens of short films, special panels, and a thriving community of filmmakers, artists, and creatives.

"We celebrate you filmmakers and your diverse perspectives and unique voices as Filipino-Americans," said Jennielyn Abrot, the festival's director. "This is all for you."

Fil-Am Creative Executive Director Mark Labella said the turnout at the festival "shows how hungry Hollywood is to see Filipino films and filmmakers flourish."

"We're here, and we're here to support each other," he added.

The Filipino Channel and Myx Global partnered with Fil-Am Creative for the festival, where non-Filipinos got a glimpse of Philippine-style storytelling.

"I didn’t know that much about Philippine cinema in general so I didn’t know what to expect," said Marie Rouhban, a juror. "Fil-Am did a great job creating the short films. It was an outstanding job that they did, all the short films were really good."

The festival included panels, which touched on animation and virtual reality.

"[This] is the perfect place to bring it to," said Michaela Ternasky-Holland on her film 'Mahal.' "You might not even know there are people in our community making virtual reality experiences."

The event also honored well-known filmmakers such as Brilliante Mendoza, and awarded the next generation of filmmakers like San-San Onglatco, who received the Best Short Film Award.

"When I made this, I really wanted to give a voice to the everyday people and I thought Manila was the perfect study for this," said Onglatco. "Everybody has a unique voice."

The festival hopes to build for the future, as young filmmakers were able to connect with industry leaders. Some films also secured grants from the Filipino-owned rental company Birns and Sawyer.