“Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis” (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery), a film by award-winning director, Lav Diaz, is the only Philippine entry which has been selected to compete in the 66th Berlin International Film Festival this year.
The eight-hour film will have its world premiere in two four-hour installments on February 18 and will compete in the main competition of one of the world’s top three film festivals.
Set during the Spanish period, “Hele” features interconnected narrative threads of Philippine literature, history, and mythology.
“Hele” is starred by several Filipino stars, including Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz, Cherie Gil, Angel Aquino, Hazel Orencio, Alessandra De Rossi, among others.
Diaz’s film will be competing for major awards against Hollywood films starring the likes of Emma Thompson, Jude Law, Scarlett Johannson, and Kirsten Dunst.
In an interview with the Inquirer, the film’s producer Bianca Balbuena said that the entry of Diaz’s film to Berlin Film Festival will attract foreign film productions to shoot in the Philippines, or to cast Filipino artists.
The producer believes that competing in a big and prestigious film festival like Berlin’s will “open doors for international collaborations and co-productions.”
Balbuena also emphasized that through this entry, the local cinema could improve more and be more globally competitive.
The production team of “Hele” is presently looking for assistance to complete the festival requirements and bring their team to the film festival.
The 66th Berlinale will be held in Germany from February 11-21, 2016.