A major milestone in the history of Metro Manila Film Festival, Sunday Beauty Queen bags the coveted prize for Best Picture. The documentary is the first to make it to the much-anticipated film festival’s slate and the first to win the award.

The plot revolves around domestic workers in Hong Kong, highlighting their Sundays, when they gather and participate in preparing for a beauty pageant.

Despite struggling to stay in the cinemas, Sunday Beauty Queen, directed by Babyruth Villarama, won the soft spot of Filipinos. Its raw and honest perspective of humanity and the reality OFWs experience—loneliness, heartbreak and pain of being away from their families, dealing with their children’s resentments, and sacrifices—makes it different from the highly dramatized ones we’ve seen before. The most powerful and convincing, not to mention real, emotions are conveyed albeit carefully crafted lines and gut-wrenching acting are lacking.

It’s no surprise, though, as the documentary is backed by the men behind award-winning film Heneral Luna. During its press conference, the team said it took four years to finish the film—two years raising funds and immersing themselves with the subjects in Hong Kong, and two years filming it.

Fernando Ortigas, who also bankrolled Heneral Luna, said the group was impressed when they saw the film. They saw the value of the project, not just its marketability and profitability.

Ed Rocha, one of the executive producers, said in an interview with ANC, “We thought we’re going to be given at least one week to prove ourselves…If people don’t fill the theaters, the theater owners have the right to kick us out and put somebody else in.

“The theater owners’ interest is filling up their theater, and me as a producer, of course, I would like that to happen, but I’d also like to be given a chance for word of mouth to work. They have to really consider us as well,” he said.

Get to know Fernando Ortigas and Ed Rocha, and their support for quality Filipino films in an exclusive interview with Asian Dragon Magazine: http://lifestyle.asiandragonmagazine.com/2015/12/07/the-heroes-behind-heneral-luna-director-jerrold-tarog-and-producers-ed-rocha-and-nando-ortigas/

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