Fil-Canadian actors named best performers for ‘Islands’ roles | Inquirer
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fil-Canadian actors named best performers for ‘Islands’ roles

'Islands' lead actors Sheila Lotuaco and Rogelio Balagtas were top winners by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) in the Gimli International Film Festival (GIFF), Manitoba’s premier film festival. (Film still photo)

‘Islands’ lead actors Sheila Lotuaco and Rogelio Balagtas were top winners by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) in the Gimli International Film Festival (GIFF), Manitoba’s premier film festival. (Film still photo)

Filipino Canadian actors Rogelio Balagtas and Sheila Lotuaco of the movie Islands were named best performers by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) in the Gimli International Film Festival (GIFF), Manitoba’s premier film festival and the largest rural film festival in all of Canada.

Balagtas and Lotuaco, both from Winnipeg, won the acting awards for their roles in Islands, a coming-of-middle-age film that follows a timid Filipino immigrant struggling with the care of an elderly parent while managing his first experience with love, reported the Toronto International Film Festival website.

“Islands” is the debut feature of Filipino Canadian filmmaker Martin Edralin, which has been nominated in three categories at the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards next month.

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ACTRA is the national union of over 28,000 professional performers working in English-language recorded media in Canada, including TV, film, radio and digital media. The group chose the two actors among the exemplary performances nominate in GIFF.

Since 2001, GIFF has welcomed thousands to the shores of Lake Winnipeg for its various film screenings of local, national, and international feature films, documentaries, short films, and media art.

The festival’s premier event, the Beach Screenings, which take place every night of the five-day festival, have drawn people from all over the world to take in one of Manitoba’s most unique summer experiences, the group’s press release reads.

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This year, GIFF also gave filmmakers Charlene Moore and Zaynê Akyol with two brand new awards. Both the Winnipeg Indigenous Filmmaker Collective (WIFC) Screening Award and the New Voices Award are sponsored by Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) Access Canada and recognize film excellence in underrepresented communities.

“We are so thrilled to be a supporter of Gimli International Film Festival. GIFF is on the forefront of identifying and elevating untapped talent in the prairies,” says WBD Access Canada Executive Director Melanie Nepinak. “We are proud to be part of that and look forward to this year’s talent and beyond,” he also said.

“There is so much creative potential in Manitoba that gets overlooked,” says GIFF Executive Director Alan Wong.

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“With the generous support of WBD Access Canada, we can amplify and support filmmakers from underrepresented communities, so they can break down barriers and advance their careers!,” Wong added.

GIFF’s Programming Committee awarded Winnipeg filmmaker Charlene Moore the WIFC Screening Award for her short film Chocolate. The film bested nine other short films as a part of the WIFC Shorts Screening Competition.

The WIFC is a diverse group of fiction and non-fiction artists representing different lenses and perspectives of storytelling.

Canadian director Zaynê Akyol was given the New Voices Award for her film Rojek, a documentary feature consisting of interviews from more than 50 ISIS members and their wives living in Syrian prisons after the fall of the fundamentalist Islamic State, GIFF said.

Rojek was also the winner of the DGC Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary, Hot Docs International Documentary Festival.

“What director Zayne Akyol has created in her feature documentary Rojek is an act of great courage as well as artistry. Filming in war torn locations; crossing borders; gaining permissions – all are impossibly difficult,” says GIFF Senior Programmer David Knipe.

“Her interviews – which allowed the ISIS members to reveal their internal lives, their beliefs, their motivations, their regret, or lack of regret – show an incredible skill at interview and a willingness to stay open to the humanity of those who engage in horrific acts. This intimacy along with stunning images of current Syria as it attempts to manage the aftermath of these atrocities make this a powerful and important film.”

GIFF said the New Voices Award will be presented to a breakthrough filmmaker from an under-represented community presenting at the festival every year.

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