After winning the prestigious Silver Bear award at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival in Germany last February, Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis producer Paul Soriano revealed that the Lav Diaz-masterpiece will also join other film festivals abroad.
“Actually, there are many invites already… I know we’re going to Hong Kong International Film Festival next week… So the Philippines gets the Asian international premiere and then Hong Kong gets it next in the Hong Kong International Film Festival. I think it’s going to Istanbul. I know it’s going to some other countries in Europe but we have invites. Actually right now the challenge is scheduling it,” he said.
Earlier, Paul shared that Lav as a film director has already established a brand abroad. “Lav Diaz already has a brand abroad. Anything he does is already on the radars of the festivals… He’s been to Cannes, Venice, and Berlin,” he said, sharing that a lot of film festivals have been asking for the movie.
Moreover, Paul revealed that the Berlinale jury headed by Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep saw the rough cut of Hele and not the finalized version that people will see in cinemas. “After six months, he (Lav) finished the film editing and it just so happened that Berlin was around the same submission so we sent it to Berlin… And then yeah, I think it was really before Christmas that we got a letter from the festival director saying that they’ve accepted the film in competition and they’re accepting the film in its entirety, the full eight hours,” he said.
“And, you have to understand, the Berlin selection committee, they saw the rough cut. There are no voiceovers yet. Because they wanted to see the whole film already,” Paul added, saying that they waited for Berlin to announce the news first before they did.
Moreover, Paul shared that Meryl Streep even got prepared to see the movie. “I remember talking to her at the dinner and she said that she prepared physically and mentally for the eight hours. That was the first in her whole life. She told me she had her shawl, she had a cup of tea, she had some of her food and she was ready for it.”
Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis will hit Philippine cinemas on March 26.