‘Die Beautiful’ gets surprise screening in Toronto
After bringing home the best actor (for Paolo Ballesteros) and Audience Choice trophies from the Tokyo fest last month, Jun Robles Lana’s “Die Beautiful” was chosen for a “surprise screening” at the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada on Nov. 20.
The Filipino film was shown in the Toronto fest’s Reel Talk section, alongside Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore’s much-awaited documentary “TrumpLand.”
Needless to say, Toronto had been eagerly anticipating Lana’s latest film. Producer Perci Intalan recalled that organizers had contacted him and Lana only a week before the screening.
“We had to rush a copy for Toronto,” Intalan recounted.
Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the fest, explained that Toronto had screened Lana’s 2012 film, “Bwakaw.” We’re always interested in seeing his new work,” Bailey remarked.
“When we heard that it had won two awards in Tokyo, I tracked it down for our Reel Talk audience.”
Bailey reported that the screening went well.
“The Toronto audience loved ‘Die Beautiful,’” Bailey related. “They were moved by Paolo’s performance and found that the film illuminated the transgender experience for them.”
Lana’s film tells the story of a transgender beauty queen whose dying wish is to be made up as various glamorous celebrities, both local and foreign, during her weeklong wake.
Bailey summed up the Filipino film as “moving, inspiring.”
Lana is thrilled about the Toronto screening. “It’s an encouraging sign that our movie resonates and strikes a chord with audiences regardless of nationality.”
Next stop for “Die Beautiful” is the 21st International Film Festival of Kerala, in India, from Dec. 9 to 16. Last year, Lana won best director in Kerala for “Anino sa Likod ng Buwan.”
“Die Beautiful” is also one of the eight entries in this December’s Metro Manila Film Festival.
Said Lana: “I am, more than ever, looking forward to sharing ‘Die Beautiful’ with our audiences here, and I hope it will get the same warm reception it has received in Tokyo and Toronto!”
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