Carnival Queen brings biopic home
Bessie Badilla ‘nervous’ about Cinemalaya fest premierBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Model-actress and indie producer Bessie Badilla knew she had to be completely honest in sharing her life story via the documentary “Dance of My Life.”
Working closely with director Lyca Benitez-Brown, Badilla sought to present the unvarnished truth about her remarkable journey and numerous reinventions.
The former beauty queen, who modeled in Europe in the 1970s, became a TV star in “Eh Kasi Babae” in the 1980s.
She gave up her career to become a housewife in the United States. Her husband Bambi del Castillo died in 2006. Two years later, at age 49, she was proclaimed Carnival Queen in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and again in Rio de Janeiro the following year.
She boldly tackles personal issues in the docu—from spousal abuse to a disturbing family secret, and a cancer scare.
After screenings in New York, Chicago, Honolulu and Thessaloniki (Greece), the docu comes home with a local premiere at the Cinemalaya fest (Little Theater, Cultural Center of the Philippines, tonight at 9).
Badilla admitted she’s nervous about the local screening. “At the same time, I am curious about how my friends in Manila will react,” she said.
During the docu production from 2008 to 2010, Badilla constantly consulted her three daughters Isabel, Bianca and Ines. “Their opinion was my priority. After all, I was to share with the world a part of their lives as well,” said Badilla.
“My late mother kept the family secret until 2001,” she said. “I was 42 when she decided to tell me. My siblings found out only through the docu.”
“I hope people will pick up life lessons from this,” she said. “For instance, that nothing is impossible at any age, that perseverance and hard work will take you places. And, most importantly, that humor is power. Also, to never give up, to dream big and pursue it, no matter what. Everything falls into place in God’s time talaga. ”
After Cinemalaya, the docu will be screened in Singapore (Aug. 3 and 4), Vancouver (September) and Tampa (Florida), and other festivals around the world.
Multitasking Badilla recently came out with a CD of Brinoy or Brazilian Pinoy music, too, as producer, songwriter and singer.
As movie producer, she is currently working on indie filmmaker Ralston Jover’s “Dog Show,” a follow-up to their well-traveled film, “Bakal Boys.”
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