A CORDILLERAN short film has made waves in the international scene, winning big at the prestigious 38th Sundance Film Festival in the United States.
Short film “The Headhunter’s Daughter,” directed by Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan, an independent filmmaker from La Trinidad, won the Short Film Grand Jury Prize in the film festival, making it the second ever Filipino short film win in the category and in the entire history of the festival itself.
Eblahan shot the film during the pandemic with a crew of no more than eight people, all with fellow Cordillerans.
“It was important for us to make this film with the community that we have in our hometown, as well as people who share the same identity as me, to be creating art together. We managed to make something intimate and very personal to us,” Eblahan said in the festival.
The film’s plot revolves around an aspiring country singer from the Cordillera who travels to Baguio on horseback for a singing contest, exposing herself to the post-colonial environment of the urban city from the eyes of the indigenous.
Director and screenwriter Eblahan regularly has themes of crossing cultures in his work, and a previous film by Eblahan entitled “Hilum ” won awards in another international festival at the 2021 Clemont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.
Alongside Eblahan’s film, another Filipino filmmaker and flick won at the 38th Sundance, with Matika Escobar’s film “Leonor Will Never Die” claiming the Special Award for Innovative Spirit, marking the country’s first win in the festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Section.