December 28, 2016
A party-list organization and several non-government organizations involved in helping overseas Filipino workers banded together to endorse the movie, “Sunday Beauty Queen” and to ask more theaters to show the lone MMFF film documentary that focuses on the lives of Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong.
In an open letter addressed to the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Film Academy of the Philippines, ACTS OFW party-list, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, Migrant NGO Forum, Filipino Migrant Workers’ Group (FMWG), OFW Family Advocates, Kabalikat ng Migranteng Pilipino, Inc. (KAMPI), and the Kapisanan ng mga Kamag-anak at Migrante Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc (KAKAMMPI), endorsed the movie as deserving of everyone’s support.
The petitioners wrote: “‘Sunday Beauty Queen’ is unique as it has real-life OFWs as main actors, as they generously share their private lives including their intricate relationships with their Chinese employers. The film is replete with lessons that may also serve as a wake-up call to those aspiring to work abroad. It shows that an OFW’s life, especially an overseas domestic worker, is difficult but may also have its own rewards, not only financially but also in terms of relationships built over time.”
The lone OFW representative in Congress, Rep. Aniceto “John” Bertiz of ACTS OFW party-list said that the movie is an “uplifting movie with stirring moments” as it depicts the fierce desire of overseas workers to help their families survive poverty.
“Unfortunately, as of last count, only 45 theaters nationwide are showing “Sunday Beauty Queen. It is in danger of theater extinction as more theater owners in Metro Manila and in other provinces opt for the usual star-studded, commercial movies.”
The seven OFW groups urged theater owners, the Film Academy of the Philippines, and the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration to work together to ensure that more OFW families are able to see the film before the film festival ends.
“To the Theater Owners, we ask: Can you devote a single cinema with special screening hours for the OFW families that have been patronizing your malls and theaters the whole year round?”
The documentary directed by Babyruth Villarama and produced by the same team that gave the public the much admired “Heneral Luna”, continues to face an uphill battle in getting more theaters to show the film.
“A lot of people especially in the provinces would like to watch the film but it is rarely being shown in major provincial cinemas,” Jun Aguilar of the Filipino Migrant Workers’ Group said.
Susan Ople of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center said that the documentary provides viewers an authentic slice of how OFWs are able to endure their work in Hong Kong as well as the viewpoints of their Chinese employers. “If only for this, the documentary is a must-see.”