“Yellow Rose” Wins 2019 Reel Asian Best Feature Film Award

At the Q&A after the showing of Yellow Rose, Princess Punzalan said “This is the first Filipino film that will be distributed worldwide and I am so grateful”. (Toronto PCG photo)

Toronto  – “Yellow Rose”, which stars two-time Tony-nominated Broadway performer Eva Noblezada, bagged the 2019 Reel Asian Best Feature Film Award during the 23rd edition of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival held from 07 to 15 November 2019.

One of the winners of an original screenplay writing contest sponsored by ABS-CBN,  “Yellow Rose” has previously won a string of awards within the festival circuit, including the Grand Jury Award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, the Bentonville Film Festival and the CAAMFest37. The star of the film, Eva Noblezada, also won the Special Jury Prize for Best Breakthrough Performance at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

Princess Punzalan expresses gratitude to Reel Asian for the opportunity to show Yellow Rose at the Closing Night Gala of the festival. She said that the film is “like a love story of how a mother is trying to protect the future of her child”. (Toronto PCG photo)

Yellow Rose also stars Broadway legend Lea Salonga, veteran Philippine actress Princess Punzalan, Libby Villari, and Dale Watson.  Punzalan, At the press conference held after the showing of the film,  announced that Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has acquired all worldwide rights to Yellow Rose.  It is the first Filipino and Filipino American film to be acquired by Sony Pictures for theatrical release in the U.S.  In the Philippines, the film will be distributed in theatres by ABS-CBN.

Another film who made it to Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival is John Denver Trending. It is a 2019 Filipino independent drama film directed and written by Arden Rod Condez, shot entirely in a small town in the Philippines with a limited budget. The film is about a 14-year old boy who fell prey to cyber bullying. The film portrayed a powerful statement against the dangers of social media.  It won the award for Best Feature Film in 2019 Cinemalaya.

Executive Director Ms. Deanna Wong remarked that “Reel Asian has continued to build a strong and supportive community that lays the foundation for the current proliferation of Asian-made work to happen… actively pushing newer and more marginalized voices into the centre, as well as continuing to push the boundary edges, to include even more divergent stories.”

Consul General to Toronto Orontes Castro (leftmost) poses with Yellow Rose star-in-attendance at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, Princess Punzalan (second from left), and Reel Asian Executive Director Deanna Wong (rightmost). (Toronto PCG photo)

At this year’s festival, nearly 60 percent of the works programmed are by women and non-binary artists.  The featured films included artists of Korean and Filipino descent, the two countries celebrating 100 years of cinema this year.  There were also artists from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the US, and Canada.

Consul General to Toronto Orontes Castro delivers his remarks at the Feature Presentation and Closing Night Gala of Reel Asian. He congratulated the organizers and cited “how the festival has brought together a diverse group of creators, artists and film buffs from the Asian community in North America and from across the globe”. He also mentions that the inclusion of two Filipino films in Reel Asian is timely because this year the 100 years of Philippine Cinema is being celebrated, as well as the 70 years of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Canada. (Toronto PCG photo)

At the Closing Night on 15 November 2019, Consul General Castro delivered his remarks to an enthusiastic audience that packed the 566-seat Isabel Bader Theatre.  He was extremely proud that a Filipino film, “Yellow Rose” closed this year’s festival.  The Canadian premiere of Yellow Rose by Filipino-American filmmaker Diane Paragas, coincided with the year-long celebration of the centennial year of the Filipino film industry.

The success of “Yellow Rose” and “John Denver Trending” in the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival is an indication that there is a huge market for Asian content.


For more information, visit https://www.torontopcg.dfa.gov.ph
https://www.philcongen-toronto.com or https://www.facebook.com/PHinToronto.

Balikbayan Media Center
Balikbayan Media Center

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