Paris Zarcilla’s ‘Raging Grace’ makes theatrical debut after Toronto film fest feature
This year is gearing up to be full of new opportunities for Filipino actors and filmmakers around the world.
While the country anticipates the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) and its lineup of 10 films premiering on Christmas Day, international movie fests have also prolifically highlighted Filipinos’ knack for creativity and artistic direction.
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in particular has been home to Filipino-produced movies with global acclaim. Whether they’re by established or independent directors and writers, the TIFF has accommodated Filipinos’ compelling ideas and experiences across all genres through the years.
One of the latest stories in the spotlight is Filipino-British director Paris Zarcilla’s mystery-thriller “Raging Grace,” which got added to the film festival’s year-round program at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
“Raging Grace” stars Max Eigenmann as Joy, a Filipina immigrant who works as a caretaker abroad for the mysterious and terminally ill Mr. Garrett. Together with her daughter Grace, Joy uncovers the ominous secrets that lurk around Mr. Garrett’s house. “I love the Philippines,” Mr. Garrett shares in the movie’s trailer. “I once had a Filipino nanny.”
Zarcilla, also the film’s writer, calls his most recent project a “coming of rage,” accompanied by the praise it has received since its launch early this year. His approach to “Raging Grace” strives to become a compass and guide towards representing Filipino culture and livelihoods in international cinema, whatever direction it goes.
— Paris Zarcilla (@ParisZarcilla) November 23, 2023
His personal experiences also played an influential role in bringing “Raging Grace” to fruition. “I’ve been told to just keep my head down, and that’s probably the worst advice I’ve ever taken,” he shared in an interview with Rue Morgue. “It meant that I’d essentially reject a large part of who I was, my culture, and my mother tongue.”
Before getting featured on the TIFF’s Bell Lightbox program, “Raging Grace” won the Narrative Feature Jury Award and the Thunderbird Rising Award at the 2023 South by Southwest Film and TV Festival.
Screen Daily called the film “genuinely unnerving,” while SciFi Now deemed it “a thrilling, creepy portrait of family and class divides.”