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Entertainment

Philippine-Australia marks 75th Friendship Day with virtual filmfest

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Philippine-Australia marks 75th Friendship Day with virtual filmfest
Lion is an Australian biographical drama based on the book A Long Way Home, with a cast led by Nicole Kidman.
STAR / File

The Australian Embassy is holding a free and on-demand film festival featuring cinematic gems this weekend to commemorate the 75th Philippines-Australia Friendship Day. It is also the celebration of the continued legacy of mateship and bayanihan spirit of both countries.

“The Philippines is one of Australia’s longest-standing bilateral relationships. Our enduring friendship has been based on shared interests and values, supported by strong people-to-people links. In the Filipino spirit of bayanihan and the Australian tradition of mateship, we have stood by each other in good times and bad,” the Embassy said.

Australia also noted how their relationship with the Philippines has “developed into a mature partnership that seeks to advance our mutual interests through cooperation in trade, development, defence and security.”

H is for Happiness is a family film based on the award-winning Australian book My Life As An Alphabet

“As close friends and neighbours, we can help each other succeed in the region and face the challenges of now and the future,” it added.

Dubbed as the Stream and Sip online event, viewers can binge-watch this weekend (May 22 and 23) three full-length Australian films which will have their Asian premiere through the website mateshipandbayanihan.com: Lion, an Australian biographical drama based on the book A Long Way Home, and stars Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel, and Rooney Mara; Little Monsters, a zombie-comedy film featuring Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England and Josh Gad; and H is for Happiness, an optimistic family film based on the award-winning Australian book, My Life As An Alphabet.

Little Monsters is a zombie-comedy film featuring Lupita Nyong’o.

The roster is led by Lion, a critically-acclaimed film which was nominated in various categories at the 2017 Oscars, and won Best Motion Picture in the Golden Globes 2017 and in other prestigious award-giving bodies.

The filmfest will also highlight seven short films from Flickerfest, Australia’s only Academy Award accredited and BAFTA recognised Short Film festival.

“We have worked with Screen Australia and Flickerfest to provide Filipino film lovers the opportunity to experience Australian filmmaking excellence and learn more about Australian contemporary culture,” said Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson AO in a statement.

“We are very pleased to be one of only five countries with an annual friendship day celebration, in our case on May 22 as set out in Presidential Proclamation 1282. This is an opportunity to celebrate our strong links each year,” he added.

According to Robinson, the Friendship Day is usually observed in different cities around the country with a line-up of activities, but due to the limitations of the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, they put together an online program so that “everyone across the Philippines can be part of the celebration.”

The virtual fair will also promote Australian music on Spotify and Australian films on Netflix as well as a “Taste of Australia” experience which will bring together online retailers of the freshest and finest Australian fruits, food, and beverage.

“Food brings people together, so sharing Australian and Filipino food is a perfect way to celebrate Friendship Day. Australian food and beverages reflect the pristine environment and high standards of food safety in Australia. It’s a pleasure to be able to share Australian-made and grown products that Filipinos can enjoy at home to create delicious meals for their families,” said Robinson.

Cultural and education exchanges have kept the Philippines and Australia ties “strong over the years.”

There are over 100, 000 Filipino students who studied in Australia, as reported in a video released by the Embassy.

The said video also acknowledged veteran Filipina singer-actress Pilita Corrales who became a famous music artist and television star in Australia. She became a big name in Australia that “a street was named after her in Victoria.”

Some popular celebrities who were also mentioned in the video with Filipino-Australian heritage that the two countries can be proud of were: Kapamilya star Anne Curtis, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and musician-actor James Reid.

AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY
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