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MMFF entry 'Nelia' dedicated to health workers

Jan Milo Severo - Philstar.com
MMFF entry 'Nelia' dedicated to health workers
Winwyn Marquez in the MMFF entry 'Nelia'
Screengrab from Nelia Movie YouTube channel

MANILA, Philippines — Film producer Aldwin Alegre believes it is the right time to honor medical workers, he and his crew decided to honor them through their Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry “Nelia” starring Winwyn Marquez. 

At the press conference of the movie, Alegre said the movie is a tribute to nurses, doctors and other medical frontliners for their dedication to public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Considering the circumstances of the pandemic, it is timely, probably high time, to give honor and commendation to our health and medical workers, especially nurses, doctors, and other allied services, and that this movie may be or will be related to their functions in serving the public as well,” Alegre said. 

“Nelia” is about a nurse who tries to uncover the mystery behind the deaths of patients in Room 009 and also discusses the issue of mental health among others.

“Actually, before the pandemic, we were planning to make educational movies, but it was cancelled or postponed maybe for next year. It’s a wonderful coincidence that the main characters in ‘Nelia’ happen to be nurses and doctors, who are considered heroes because of their service and sacrifice in the fight against COVID-19,” co-producer and screenwriter Melanie Honey Quiño, a lawyer, said. 

Although Nelia's story is fictional, Quiño said the film shows the importance of health and medical workers in our daily lives.

"Doctors and nurses have a soft spot in my heart because they help and take care of us when we are sick. So it is very timely that we are presenting their story during the pandemic," she said. 

Quiño also said A and Q Productions decided to make “Nelia” into a full length film because of the impact of the pandemic on the film industry, especially to workers who lost their jobs in the past year.

“I was once asked if we considered the possible profit we could earn from the film because we are still in a pandemic, but we didn't really think about making a profit. We thought about how we could be of help to the industry people who lost their jobs. Instead of just giving them ayuda, maybe it would be better if we give them jobs,” Quiño said.

The film also tackles mental health. Quiño hopes it will help open minds of people who still do not believe in the importance of taking care of people's mental health, especially in a time of pandemic. 

“During the filming, we consulted with psychiatrists to find out what the real condition of people with schizophrenia is, because we want people to see what they are going through. Hopefully, when they watch ‘Nelia,’ we can encourage people with mental health conditions to seek professional help as well,” she said.

Directed by Lester Dimaranan, “Nelia” will be screened on December 25 in select theaters all over the country. It stars Winwyn, Raymond Bagatsing, Mon Confiado, Ali Forbes, Shido Roxas and Juan Carlos Galano. — Video from Nelia Movie YouTube channel

WINWYN MARQUEZ

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