By Rica Arevalo
June is LGBT Pride Month and showing this week at Cine Lokal located at SM Cinemas is Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo’s Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita. What if a 12-year-old girl, Anita (Teri Malvar), falls in love for the first time and it happens to be with a beautiful woman, who is new in town, played by Angel Aquino?
This is the premise of the film that won major awards at the Cine Filipino Festival—Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Ensemble. Aquino also garnered Best Supporting Actress trophies from Gawad Urian, Gawad Tanglaw, and the PMPC Star Awards. In the international front, it won a Special Mention Award at the Osaka Asian Film Festival, Volunteer’s Choice Award from the Frameline Film Festival, Lesbian and Gender Award and Best Screenplay from the Zinegoak LGBT Film Festival, and Honorable Mention from the Festival Mix Milano.
Bernardo’s visit to Obando, Bulacan where a fiesta for female fertility was held inspired her to make her debut film. “As a woman, I would like to take part in making women aware of their rights,” says the 34-year-old filmmaker. “The film also deals with gender sensitivity and acceptance of LGBT issues. I hope it can at least contribute to the ‘understanding’ of the feelings of being in love at an early age.”
The film is about a woman’s desire to be independent and to love freely. “The character of Anita was inspired by my wish to express queerness in its purest and most fundamental element: Love,” explains the UP Diliman Theater Arts graduate. “I wanted to tell this story through Anita’s young eyes, so that viewers would relate to and remember the creative power and magic of their first childhood love.”
This was Malvar’s first time to act in a film. How was it working with her actors? “Teri was a discovery! Since it was our first time to do a movie together, we agreed to do our best and trust each other,” says Bernardo.
She is all praise for Aquino. “She is very humble, professional, and very easy to work w
ith,” muses the Dulaang UP actress. “I admire her for being down-to-earth despite being famous. She treats her co-actors with the utmost respect even if it was Teri’s first film.”
An entertaining journey on sexuality, gender, religion, and morality that will challenge the viewers, the film will be screened at eight cinemas—SM North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Southmall, SM City Fairview, SM City Bacoor, SM Cebu, and SM Iloilo in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines. Cine Lokal’s goal is to give award-winning, classic, independent, and foreign films a chance for a limited commercial screening for a week.
“This is the first time that we were given a commercial run. We just want the film to reach as many viewers as possible,” adds the 2005 Cinemalaya Best Director short film winner. “It is very important for us to share the film and it’s important message to people, especially to women and the LGBT community.”
“I hope Anita will motivate people to teach the idea that we should respect each other—to believe in love, dreams, and miracles,” says Bernardo.
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