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HAU film endorsed by Philippine consulate general in Chicago

The Office of the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois has endorsed the Holy Angel University (HAU) film "Ari: My Life With A King" as the official Philippine entry to the 51st Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF).

The CIFF, which features over 130 films from all over the world, is scheduled Oct. 15-29. The consulate urges all Filipinos in the Chicago and adjacent areas to watch the film's screenings on Oct. 26 and 28 "to manifest our support for the film."

The film, directed by HAU student Carlo Enciso Catu, is also an official entry to the ongoing Vancouver International Film Festival, where film critics describe it as "engrossing," "thought-provoking,” "spellbinding, captivating and transcendent."

Last month, the Harlem International Film Festival in New York named it Best World Film, besting more than a hundred entries from other countries.

In its press release to the Filipino community, the Consulate General cites the film as part of Holy Angel University’s advocacy "to preserve and promote local cultures and regional languages."

Noted British film critic Tony Rayns wrote, "The West is largely deaf and blind to regional differences in the Philippines, so 'My Life With a King' comes as a welcome corrective. Catu's debut feature is a unique quest for a defined regional identity and a protest against the failure of other Filipinos to recognize Pampangan culture. The film is engrossing, gently comic and culturally eye-opening."

Another critic, Shane Scott-Travis, calls the film "a lovely, low-pitched directorial debut, a light touch with a lanky formalism that makes catu's tranquil comedy of manners so engaging. It contains characters and settings that are seldom, if ever, captured in cinema. Catu accomplished a lot of visual panache with such modest means, reaping maximum effect… it's a verifiable delight and a tiny jewel. My Life With a King wears a modest but captivating crown."

Beatrice Lew of Schema Magazine describes the film as "light-hearted but profoundly thought-provoking… a neat balance of humor and gravitas." She calls lead actor Francisco Guinto’s performance "spellbinding, captivating and transcendent" and the caption writers "the true heroes of the film, who miraculously managed to safely convey Kapampangan poetry puns and, all through the murky waters of translation, artfully preserve moments of beauty." "Kapampangan poetry," the foreign critic says, "is a musical bouquet of complicated wordplay, well-turned phrases and flowing rhythm surprisingly similar to spoken word."

The film will have its screening at the AMC River East21 located at 322 E. Illinois Street, Chicago on 26 October 2015 (code EFMYLl1) and 28 October 2015 (code EFMYLl2) at 8:30 PM. To purchase tickets, kindly visit

Date Posted: 10-13-2015