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First-time Pinay actress plays lead in Hollywood indie film 'Holy Emy'

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Dec 23 2021 01:20 PM

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'Holy Emy' is a film about a young Filipino faith healer in Greece and stars first-time actress Abigael Loma.

Co-written and directed by Hollywood-based Greek filmmaker Araceli Lemos, it premiered at the prestigious American Film Institute film festival in November.

Loma admits she had a hard time acting for the first time. "I didn’t have my script beforehand, so it was hard for me, what emotions to portray those days. As a beginner, I really didn’t know anything about acting but then Araceli was there to help me, so nakaya ko naman po (So I was able to do it)," Loma says.

The subject of an immigrant living in Greece was something that came to Lemos when she passed by a church basement full of Filipinos singing gospel songs as she was writing the film. She focused on  the story of two Filipino sisters left behind in a foreign land and how they were coming to terms with their own separate identities.

"In Greece, there's a big Filipino community but there hasn't been a film, even though there's a big community especially since the 80s. And I was always curious. I was writing at the time the story about two sisters, they were having a secret. The idea of healing hadn't come up until I started attending, for research, the church and I found out about the rich healing tradition, the spirituality, and the faith," Lemos notes.

Loma was born in the Quezon province and moved to Athens, Greece when she was seven years old. She was tapped to play the lead character in 'Holy Emy' after the production held open auditions at her school. In the film, she delivers many of her dialogues in Tagalog. She says upon seeing the movie, she was "overwhelmed. I really didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know what to say about it. I was focusing on myself [because] maybe I did bad."

Loma also shares what she wants viewers to take away from the film. "Kaya po nila na maging sila, na hindi sila natatakot sa kung anong sasabihin ng iba sa kanila. Yung be proud lang po kung sino sila (They can be themselves, that they're not afraid of what others will say about them. They can be proud of who they are)."

The movie also stars other Filipino talents including Hasmine Killip, Angeli Bayani, and Ku Aquino. Lemos hopes the film will also make her Greek community more aware of the talents of Filipino actors.

"After the film screened, there was someone that called me and was like, 'oh, let’s talk, I wanna hear more about your actresses.' So I believe that when people see the movie and they realize that there are all these talents, people will be interested," Lemos declares.

A self-confessed TFC and Vice Ganda fan, Loma says she hopes to continue acting and to have more opportunities to take on challenging projects like 'Holy Emy.'