Elijah Canlas wins 1st int’l best actor award | Inquirer Entertainment

Elijah Canlas wins 1st int’l best actor award

/ 12:15 AM October 03, 2020

Scene from“Kalel, 15”

For his performance as a teenager afflicted with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Jun Robles Lana’s “Kalel, 15,” Elijah Canlas was named best actor at the 17th Asian Film Festival in Rome, Italy.

Asked how important this particular award was for him as an artist and individual, the 20-year-old actor said: “I’m new to all this, so for someone like me who just loves acting, any validation that I’m doing well is a big deal, be it from my director or from coactors or colleagues in the production team.


“To be considered at all by any award-giving body is already quite overwhelming for me, what more winning an award all the way across the globe! It means that people appreciate me for the work I put in—people who don’t know me, only see me onscreen playing a character and not being Elijah Canlas,” he pointed out. “For someone like me who is just starting and constantly learning, that’s a much-needed boost of confidence and fuel for my passion.”


The film premiered in November 2019 at the 23rd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia. It features Elijah as Kalel, son of a priest and is HIV positive, who is forced to make choices no child should ever have to make.

“Kalel, 15” has already won for Jun the best director trophy from Tallinn, as well as for Benjamin Tolentino the best editing award from the 59th Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Macau.

Elijah made a buzz online recently when he played the role of Cairo opposite Kokoy de Santos’ character Gavreel in the BL (Boys Love) web series “Gameboys.” Elijah disclosed to Inquirer Entertainment that a second season of “Gameboys” is already in the offing, as well as a movie version.

Elijah Canlas

Elijah Canlas

“Also, there are already plans for another season of our family drama ‘Unconditional,’ which is getting a lot of fan support on Cignal Play now,” Elijah added.

“I am also scheduled to do a drama series for TV. I’m just not sure how much of it I am allowed to talk about. The next couple of months are exciting—and most people already know I get into trouble with my managers because I reveal too much when I’m excited about something!” the actor shared.

Only last Sunday, Elijah caught the interest of netizens once again when he, Kokoy and actress Teri Malvar read the script of Jun’s “Anino sa Likod ng Buwan,” the film version of which was released in 2015, starring LJ Reyes, Adrian Alandy and Anthony Falcon.


The reading, which lasted for two hours, streamed on the IdeaFirst Company Facebook account and now has 44,000 views. According to Elijah’s talent manager, Perci Intalan, “the audience was shocked by Elijah’s transformation as the meek and mild Cairo (in ‘Gameboys’) to the manipulative, sex-crazed and violent Joel (played by Adrian in the movie version).”

When Inquirer Entertainment asked how Elijah felt about the positive feedback to the live reading, the actor reported that performing alongside Kokoy and Teri had been challenging.

“We only had one rehearsal before the live reading. I was really challenged because I knew that Teri and Kokoy would give it their all; so I had to do the same,” said Elijah.

“A part of me knew that fans would be shocked because my character Joel is the polar opposite of the Cairo they knew and loved in ‘Gameboys.’ Joel is aggressive and sinister, and the sex scenes were also very vividly described in the script,” he added.

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Elijah recalled that he initially felt unsure as to whether the audience would accept him in such a role so soon after seeing him play Cairo, “so it was a huge sigh of relief seeing all the positive reviews. I’m glad that they appreciate my work as an actor and allow me this freedom to take on any role in any story that is exciting to me.”

TAGS: Elijah Canlas, Kalel 15

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