Film: Two Filipino films to compete in the Sundance Film Festival 2022

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The largest independent film festival in the United States selects a Filipino feature film and a short film to take part in its 38th edition of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah to be held from January 20 to 30, 2022.

Competing in the prestigious World Cinema Dramatic section is Martika Escobar’s feature film Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago (Leonor Will Never Die), while short film The Headhunter’s Daughter by Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan is part of the Shorts Program 4 section. Both films will have their world premiere and onsite delegates at the festival.

“The selection of two Filipino films chosen to participate in the Sundance Film Festival, one of the world’s largest and most influential independent film festivals, is already a huge win for Philippine Cinema. We are proud that our country’s delegation to Sundance will be led by two promising independent filmmakers, especially Martika and her film which were part of the Agency’s Full Circle Lab Philippines and CreatePHFilms funding program,” said FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño.


A Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) CreatePHFilm fund grantee and a Full Circle Lab alumni, Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago (Leonor Will Never Die) is about retired screenwriter Leonor, who becomes the action hero in her own screenplay after falling into a coma. The film’s delegation, including director Escobar and producers Monster Jimenez and Mario Cornejo, will fly to Utah to attend the festival onsite.

The Headhunter’s Daughter tells the story of Lynn, an aspiring country singer and her trusty brown horse July, who endure an arduous descent along the Cordilleran highlands to make it on time for the audition of her dreams in the city. Her journey leads her to a path where her indigenous identity is confronted by the unseen forces of the landscape’s colonial American past. Director Eblahan will be attending the festival together with US-based producer Hannah Schierbeek.

Since 1978, the annual Sundance has brought artists and audiences together from all over the world, championing stories that inspire new ideas and amplify original voices in support of independent storytelling.

The Sundance Film Festival 2022 organized by Sundance Institute will be held in a hybrid format that will run from January 20 to 30, 2022.

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