Baby Ruth Villarama's "Sunday Beauty Queen" was crowned Best Picture at the awards night of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival held at the Kia Theater in Cubao Thursday.
It is the first documentary to ever receive the recognition in the history of the filmfest, which was founded back in 1975. It is about the lives of Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong who find fulfillment in participating in beauty pageants.
The win came amid the film's struggles to stay in theaters. It is not included in the list of top four earners, according to the MMFF, prompting theater owners to cut down on the number of cinemas screening the film. As of writing, the movie is showing in only 24 theaters in Metro Manila, two in Cebu, three in Davao and one in Iloilo.
A coalition of several pro-OFW (overseas Filipino workers) groups have already written an open letter to the organizers of this year's MMFF, urging them to ensure that the documentary is shown in more cinemas.
The letter argued that "Sunday Beauty Queen" is a "must-see" for families of OFWs as it is "replete with lessons that may also serve as a wake-up call to those aspiring to work abroad."