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HAU entry named Best World Film in Harlem, NY

"Ari: My Life With A King," produced by Holy Angel University, won the Best World Film award in the recent Harlem International Film Festival held in New York City.

The award represents the top recognition among the foreign films submitted to the festival, second only to the Best Film Award which is given to the US entries.

The award came just after the HAU film was accepted as official selection in the Vancouver International Film Festival in Canada and shortly before announcement of its acceptance as lone Filipino entry to the Chicago International Film Festival. The two are among the biggest film festivals in North America, with Chicago recognized as the oldest in the United States.

The Chicago festival calls the HAU film "a celebration of a vibrant culture's poetic legacy that pulses with local color."

Directed by HAU student Carlo Enciso Catu and produced by HAU alumnus Ferdinand Lapuz, the Kapampangan-language film is the first filmmaking attempt of the University.

According to HAU senior administrator Robby Tantingco, the University previously funded Brillante Mendoza’s early film "Manoro" which eventually won at the Cinemanila and Torino (Italy) International Film Festivals. "Ari: My Life With A King" is the first film with HAU students, employees and alumni in the cast and crew, Tantingco said.

The film is a coming-of-age story of a Kapampangan boy who refuses to speak in Kapampangan until he meets the so-called King of Kapampangan Poets. Ronwaldo Martin, brother of popular actor Coco Martin, plays the boy's part with real-life Kapampangan poet laureate Francisco Guinto in the king's role.

The film is part of the University's advocacy to promote local culture through its Center for Kapampangan Studies. Last year, the University’s two entries to the Animahenasyon, a national competition for animated films, both won first prize in their respective categories.

Lapuz, recipient of the University's outstanding alumnus award last year, arranged the film’s participation in the international festivals, which he also does for all the Filipino films that deserve international attention if not recognition.

Early this year, Lapuz donated P250,000.00 to the University’s scholarship program. The amount represented the proceeds from the screening of the award-winning films he recently produced, including Vilma Santos' "Ekstra," Nora Aunor's "Dementia" and "Bwakaw," a Philippine entry to the Oscar Awards.

"Ari: My Life With A King" will be shown to various schools in Pampanga and HAU alumni and Kapampangan groups in the US and the Middle East as part of the University’s scholarship fund-raising campaign, according to Tantingco.

Date Posted: 09-22-2015