Every now and then, we get a rare opportunity not many can enjoy. I’m not talking about rubbing shoulders and clinking wine glasses with high and mighty socialites. Nor am I talking about walking the white sands in a private beach house. I’m talking about watching a good local indie movie.

A few nights ago, I got the invite from Vienna Kaffeehaus to watch a private screening of the film Señorita. To be honest, I didn’t know much about it, other than it won a bunch of awards overseas.

Here’s the synopsis to Señorita:

Donna, a reformed transgender sex worker in Manila, Philippines, moves to the province to start a quiet, domestic life as a guardian to a young boy. When she gets involved in the town elections backing a candidate running against the well-connected mayor, she begins to realize that the seemingly idyllic town is not as utopian as she thought it was.- From Cinemanila 

The subject matter was heavy with mature topics. I was initially worried the scenes might be too graphic for my taste, but as the director counselled, it was very PG13. No weird sex scenes. Whew! Yet the film was compelling and thought provoking enough to evoke an emotional reaction; which, most will agree, good films do. I’m no film critic but I enjoyed the movie.

Here’s another confession, I don’t watch many local films. Primarily due to my lack of grasping the Tagalog language (kindergarten level at best). But this movie reminded me that Philippine cinema is getting better by leaps and bounds, although you wouldn’t know it by looking at the upcoming Filipino movies in the theatres. Typical telenovela style movies are not my cup of tea and do not show the extent of which local films have improved.

Unfortunately, most good Filipino films are regarded as indie and aren’t accessible to the average person. Due to budget constraints for aspects like marketing and big name actors/actresses, the general public need to literally discover these movies. And even when they know about them, they aren’t easy to find. Who knows when another film fest will hit Cebu shores? So when you get the opportunity, watch a local film.

These gems are here. Just like Señorita.

Here’s what you missed:

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