Behind the Camera: Rising

Local Female Directors to

Keep an Eye On

by Jace Amodo, April 12, 2019 3:35pm

Art by Dani Elevazo


Behind the Camera: Rising Local Female Directors to Keep an Eye On

by Jace Amodo, April 12, 2019 3:35pm
Art by Dani Elevazo

Gender equality in cinema is still an issue not only in the Philippines but also around the world. When did people assume women can't be on par with men? When did the world normalize men to work behind the camera?

Gone are the days when men solely helmed films as female directors gradually up their percentage in the industry. While Hollywood has Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman), the Philippines has its roster of directors who have no time for societal norms.

Here are some of the best local female directors that'll spell out the end of patriarchy in the film industry.

Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita (2013); Kita Kita (2017); Mr. & Mrs. Cruz (2018)

You may know Sigrid from her 2017 sleeper-hit Kita Kita, and we can't blame you; the film stirred debates—good and bad. When talking about LGBTQIA+ films, her name is often thrown into the discussion as her filmography often revolves around the genre. Perhaps the most notable one is her 2013 film Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita, which won multiple awards from local and international award-giving bodies.

Irene Villamor
 (2018); Sid & Aya: Not A Love Story (2018); Ulan (2019)

Once an apprentice to the legendary director Joyce Bernal, Irene Villamor makes hardly forgettable, groundbreaking rom-com. Her latest release, Ulan, with Nadine Lustre shows her trajectory in the local film industry. Not to mention, she has an eye for lead stars concerting harmonious chemistry: Bela Padilla and Carlo Aquino in Meet Me in St. Gallen, Dingdong Dantes and Anne Curtis in Sid & Aya, among others.

Samantha Lee
Baka Bukas (2016); Billie and Emma (2018)

Woman, asian, queer—Samantha Lee is defying stereotypes in the male-dominated industry. She uses her voice and vision to introduce LGBTQIA+ community representation on-screen to the Filipino audience, as seen on Billie and Emma and Baka Bukas—the latter being loosely based on her own life.

Hannah Espia
Transit (2013); Midlife (2016)

Don't be fooled by Hannah Espia's portfolio. While it's not as extensive as other filmmakers, her films are gems. Her debut film Transit won 10 awards at the 2013 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, acquired several recognitions from international film fests, and was reviewed by Variety. She's also the third female director to receive the prestigious Gawad Urian Award for Best Director, which is a huge accomplishment to Filipina filmmakers.

Ice Idanan
Limang Libo (2009); Sakaling Hindi Makarating (2016)

Dedicated to pursuing her passion, Ice Idanan studied multiple courses both local and foreign. Her first feature film, Sakaling Hindi Makarating, was met with many positive acclaims. As with any indie film fans, we're just as excited to see more of her masterpiece on the big screen soon.

Martika Ramirez Escobar
Pusong Bato (2014); Anatomiya Ng Pag-Ibig (2015)

After bagging awards for her two short films, Martika directed the anthology film Anatomiya ng Pagibig—a mean feat, even for household names in the film industry, but Martika dives still for the sake of art.

Antoinette Jadaone
That Thing Called Tadhana (2014); Never Not Love You (2018); Alone/Together (2019)

This list wouldn't be fully realized without the award-winning screenwriter and blockbuster film director Antoinette Jadaone. She gave us romantic films far from the usual, focusing more on the realities of the world. On the sidelines of directing films, Jadaone manages Witty Will Save The World, Co., a planner brand she created with her college friend Chinggay Nuque.

Keep track of these directors and add their films to your bucket list. Even with varied tastes in movies, people will be surprised that these Filipina filmmakers are more than what we bargained for. And because the music industry is no exception, we also put a spotlight on females at the backstage that makes some of our favorite music events come true.


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