‘Bagahe’, one of the full-length film entries in Cinemalaya 2017, brought home the top award in the 2018 Festival des Cinémas d’Asie de Vesoul (also known as the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema) held from January 30 to February 6 in Vesoul, France.
Screened and judged by the four-member international jury, the film received the Gold Cyclo Award for its realistic narration on the plight of the Filipino migrant workers. Directed by Zig Dulay. Born in Isabela, Bagahe explores the life of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), named Mercy, who is suspected of abandoning a newborn child in a trash bin of an airplane toilet. The film shows what happens to the Filipino migrant worker while being investigated.
“The film not only examines Mercy’s situation, but it also makes the inventory of the Philippines’ social institutions. While they investigate Mercy’s situation, we also investigate these entities – how they ‘re-victimize’ a victim. We try to understand both why mothers abandon their children and how a country can be so little attentive to the fate of its workers abroad,” said Dulay in the film brief.
Filipino director Dulay obtained his communication arts degree, major in Journalism and minor in broadcasting, at the University of the Philippines-Baguio. He is currently completing his master’s degree in Araling Pilipino (Creative Writing and Film) in UP Diliman. His first full-length, Huling Halik (The Last Kiss), was a NETPAC entry in the 2011 Cinemalaya. He wrote screenplays for various films including Posas (Best Film, 2012 Cinemalaya), QWERTY, Ad Ignorantiam, Ekstra (Special Jury Prize, 2013 Cinemalaya), and Kasal (Best Film, 2014 Cinemalaya).
His short film, Missing, was an entry in the 2013 Cinemalaya, and won the Best Short Film award in the 2013 Gawad Urian. His film, M. (Mother’s Maiden Name), won the Jury Prize in the 2014 MMFF, while his film Bambanti(Scarecrow) bagged Best Film awards at the Brussels International Film Festival and Ajyal Youth Festival 2015. His film Paglipay (Crossing) won Best Picture in the 2016 ToFarm Film Festival.
The 95-minute long film starred award-winning actress Angeli Bayani, who won the Best Actress award in the recent Cinemalaya for her powerful portrayal as an OFW suspected of dumping a newborn child in the trash bin of an airplane toilet. It also featured actors Shamaine Buencamino, Boots Anson-Roa, Racquel Villavicencio, Bing Pimentel, Menggie Cobarrubias, Arnold Reyes, Madlen Nicolas, Yayo Aguila, among others.