Sunday Beauty Queen’ wins in London

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Baby Ruth Villarama’s “Sunday Beauty Queen” won the best international documentary award at the 5th London Labour Film Festival held recently in the United Kingdom.

Villarama told the Inquirer that her docu competed with 11 other films from different countries - including another Philippine entry, Beverly Ramos’ “Dory.”

According to Villarama, a fest organizer spotted the docu during an event organized for Filipino migrant workers and associations in the UK last Oct. 22. “UK-based Filipinos have always wanted to see the film. So, we had a fundraising screening in London for the rehabilitation efforts in Marawi. Someone from the festival saw the docu and encouraged us to submit it,” she recalled.

The docu, which won best picture at the Metro Manila Film Festival last year, focuses on Filipino domestic helpers who stage beauty pageants once a week, to escape their dreary, and sometimes oppressive, life in Hong Kong.

It was an unexpected honor, she related. “We were competing with great films … and we were not there to campaign for it. But Filipino communities in the UK and British nationals championed it.”

The London fest screening yielded yet another invitation, this time to the Dublin Workers Film Festival, set in Ireland next year. “It’s the biggest worker’s film fest in Dublin,” she pointed out.

Villarama expressed the hope that the London triumph would “inspire our labor officers and ambassadors to strengthen [their policies in support of] the rights of Filipino migrant workers in the UK, Hong Kong and other parts of the world.”

Producer-editor Chuck Gutierrez agreed: “Winning in London is very important to us. This enables our docu to be screened in more festivals that focus on labor issues across Europe. This will hopefully lead to more discussions among policy makers that will help improve the lives of Filipino workers abroad.”

According to its website, the London Labour Film Festival aims “to encourage creativity and support the dissemination of audiovisual works … [on] work and workers, giving importance to their point of view of the world and to social issues affecting their lives, those of their families and the communities to which they belong.”

In sum, the event “aims to provide quality entertainment with social awareness, offering a bright and sensitive look at the world of work.” – Inquirer.net


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