Wednesday, April 11, 2018

“Ang Larawan” makes its European premiere at the Udine Far East Filmfest

“Ang Larawan,” the award-winning musical film based on National Artist Nick Joaquin’s play A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, makes its European debut when it screens in competition at the 20th Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy, from April 20 to 28. The Far East Film Festival is a premiere European filmfest that showcases popular Asian films.

The Udine filmfest is so far the third international festival of the motion picture produced by Culturtain Musicat Productions, with its libretto written by National Artist Rolando Tinio, and music composed by Ryan Cayabyab. “Ang Larawan” had its world premiere at the 2017 Tokyo International Film Festival last October; weeks after, it opened the Cinematografo International Film Festival held in San Francisco.

The film entourage is composed of director Loy Arcenas, actress and executive producer Rachel Alejandro, actress and executive producer Celeste Legaspi, executive producer Girlie Rodis, supervising producer Alemberg Ang, and musical director Ryan Cayabyab. The team is eager to present the musical to the movie audiences in Italy. “I’m beyond excited to see how our kababayans in Italy and the Italians, themselves, will react to our film,” says Rachel. “It was such a gratifying experience when we screened at the Tokyo Film Festival and Cinematografo in San Francisco… It’s simply a dream come true for me to be showcasing our Filipino talent to the rest of the world.”

Musical director Ryan Cayabyab, fondly called Mr. C., is as eager as Rachel. Aside from the Cinematografo filmfest, the Udine film fest is only the third international film festival to be attended by the renowned musician. In 1998, Mr. C. traveled to the Berlin International Film Festival for “Ang Lalaki sa Buhay ni Selya” by director Carlitos Siguion-Reyna. The year after, Mr. C. went to the Toronto International Film Festival as part of the team that presented “Kahapon May Dalawang Bata” also directed by Siguion-Reyna. “So It’s been almost 20 years since I had gone to an international film festival so I am once again excited for this chance to feel how a different, foreign audience will view a Filipino film. A Filipino musical film, to be more specific!” he quips.

For director Loy Arcenas one of the best things about going to Udine is the opportunity to introduce Cayabyab’s music. He says, “I love the fact that Europe will get to know more of Mr. C’s brilliance through the performances of some of the best Filipino singer-actors captured in ‘Ang Larawan.’”

Since last year, producer-actress Celeste Legaspi has been traveling to different places here and abroad because of “Ang Larawan” — the endeavor is something that invigorates the veteran performer. “’’Larawan’ is a wonderful adventure in my life that began 21 years ago and continues to rock my world today. From the time I stepped onstage 21 yeas ago as Candida, to meeting inspired and enthusiastic viewers after watching ‘Larawan,’ these are precious and profound scenes of my life… Onward to even more!”

Team “Ang Larawan” encourages the Pinoys in Italy to watch the film when it screens on April 24, 11 am at Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine.

Meanwhile, audiences in the Philippines can still watch “Ang Larawan” as the film is currently touring the country through school tours and special screenings. For updated schedule of the film’s local and international screenings, check out Ang Larawan The Movie on Facebook or log on to

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