Filipino immigrant-themed film’s actors awarded best performers at Gimli Film Festival

Filipino Gimli Film Festival
Sheila Lotuaco and Rogelio Balagtas, who played the key roles in “Islands”, took home top honors from ACTRA at Manitoba’s premier film festival, the Gimli International Film Festival (GIFF). Photo from Islands Facebook Page

Filipino immigrant-themed film “Islands” actors were awarded Best Performers at the prestigious Gimli International Film Festival (GIFF), the biggest rural film festival in Canada.

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists (ACTRA) honored Filipino-Canadian Rogelio Balagtas and Sheila Lotuaco who are both natives of Winnipeg, the capital of the Canadian province of Manitoba.

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“Islands” is a coming-of-age movie about a timid Filipino immigrant who tries to take care of an elderly parent while handling his first love affair.

The lead role in the movie is played by Rogelio Balagtas as Joshua, a Filipino Canadian man in his late 40s who has sacrificed his own happiness to care for his aging parents Alma, played by Vangie Alcasid, and Reynaldo, played by Esteban Comilang.

Joshua is forced to think about what he truly wants when his cousin Marisol, played by Sheila Lotuaco, comes to visit after his mother passes away and offers to assist in caring for Reynaldo.

Islands is the debut feature film of Martin Edralin, a Filipino Canadian filmmaker whose work was nominated in three categories at the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards, including Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Esteban Comilang), Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Rogelio Balagtas), and John Dunning Best First Feature Film Award.

These are the accolades this movie has received so far:

  • SXSW – Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Performance
  • Canadian Screen Awards (Nominations)—Best First Feature Film, Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Calgary International Film Festival—Emerging Canadian Artist Award
  • Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival—Special Jury Award for Ensemble Acting
  • Vancouver International Film Festival—Special Jury Mention, Best Emerging Canadian Director
  • Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival—Audience Choice Award
  • Available Light Film Festival—Best Canadian Feature Film
  • Kingston Canadian Film Festival—Best First Feature
  • Regina International Film Festival and Awards—Canadian Feature Winner
  • Gimli International Film Festival – ACTRA Manitoba Best Performance Award

Filipino immigrant stories in films have received recognition around the world, including the Lea Salonga-Eva Noblezada musical drama film, Yellow Rose, and Isabel Sandoval’s Lingua Franca.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to the actors of the Filipino immigrant-themed film “Islands” for being awarded best performers at the Gimli International Film Festival!

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