A film about the second canonized Philippine saint will open this year’s Pinoy Indie Film Festival Vancouver. Written and directed by Francis O. Villacorta, Pedro Calungsod: Batang martir will be screened at the Landmark in New Westminster at 9 a.m. on June 24.
Rocco Nacino plays the title role about a teenager who leaves his home in the Visayas. He joins a group of Jesuit missionaries under the leadership of Father Diego Luis de San Vitores (played by Christian Vasquez).
From there, they head to the Landrones Islands (now known as the Mariana Islands) in 1668 to spread Christianity to Chamorro Natives. In playing the lead role, Nacino had to learn Spanish, Latin, and Visayan.
The following day, the Pinoy Indie Film Festival will screen four other features at the Anvil Centre.
The first is Joel Lamangan’s Oras de Peligro at noon. This suspense film revolves around a family seeking justice in the midst of the People’s Power rebellion, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
Watch the trailer for Oras de Peligro.
That will be followed at 2 p.m. by Carlo Catu’s Aria. This indie feature spans several decades and depicts, among other events, the Huk guerrilla movement in the Second World War.
Next up at 4 p.m. is Charlson Ong, Lito Caseje, and Choi Pangilinan’s Tanabata’s Wife. It’s about a Japanese immigrant farmer in Benguit who falls in love with a female Bontoc farmhand.
Watch the trailer for Love Is Love.
Pinoy fest closes theatre screenings with Love Is Love
The final film at the Anvil Centre Theatre, G.B. Sampedro’s Love Is Love, will be shown at 6 p.m. on June 25. It stars J.C. DeVera and Neil Coleta as two childhood best friends about to be reunited after 15 years of separation.
Meanwhile, the festival will screen 20 official entries online until October. Among them are the opening and closing features in theatres on June 24 and 25.
The festival takes place in Filipino Heritage Month, which is commemorated in June every year in Canada. Part of the celebrations centre around Philippines Independence Day, which is observed on June 12. It commemorates a declaration revolutionary Emilio Aguinaldo on that day in 1898.
Aguinaldo issued the decree after the U.S. defeated the Spanish colonizers in the Spanish-American War..
Despite this proclamation, the U.S. retained control over the Philippines. The nation didn’t gain true political independence until 1946. It’s now home to 114 million people on more than 7,000 islands.
According to the 2021 census, there are nearly a million people of Philippine ancestry living in Canada.