Singapore’s entry into next year’s Oscars, “ILOILO,” which touches upon the challenges and experiences faced by the Philippines’ overseas workers, particularly those who acquire jobs as household helps for foreign families, finally hits local theaters as it premieres at Robinsons Galleria this Wednesday (November 13) as a guest film in the Cinema One Originals Festival 2013.
Acclaimed Singaporean director Anthony Chen once grew up under the care of a Filipina his family had hired as a maid when he was still a little boy. In his Academy Award-nominated film “ILOILO,” his experiences in growing up under her care are somehow reflected in the story of a child named Jiale (Koh Jia Ler) and his family’s household help, Terry (Angeli Bayani).
“ILOILO” details the story of a Filipina who accepts work as a maid for an ordinary family living in a tenement in Singapore. In taking upon this new chapter in her life, she quickly discovers her biggest challenge: the precocious ten-year old son of her employers.
The boy tries to make her life a living hell by being difficult, disobedient, and rude—even framing her for acts that aim at her getting deported. Other challenges arise as the boy’s family struggles with their finances. However, with determination and tough love, the relationship between the two slowly changes, ultimately putting things far greater than employment on the line.
“ILOILO” stars Angeli Bayani, Koh Jia Ler, Yeo Yann Yann, and Tian Wen Chan.
The film was previously screened in Berlin, Rotterdam, Pusan, London, Sao Paulo, Stockholm, Sydney, Montreal, Melbourne, Chicago, and Hawaii.
At the Cannes Film Festival, “ILOILO” received a 15-minute standing ovation.
Critic David Ollerton of The London Film Review referred to the film as being “quietly brilliant,” calling it a “gentle, subtle film that is a worthy debut”. Variety.com’s Maggie Lee, on the other hand, found “ILOILO” remarkable as it was “brimming with love, humor and heartbreak.”
The premiere night of “ILOILO” is a special feature of this year’s Cinema One Originals Festival.
The Cinema One Originals Festival, which runs until the 19th of November, features fifteen competing full-length feature films by top Philippine talents in the independent filmmaking scene. Catch the fifteen films of Cinema One Originals this year at Glorietta, Robinsons Galleria, and Trinoma.
For updates and schedules, visit and like Cinema One on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Cinema1Channel).