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Streaming can well be the Filipino filmmaker’s dream come true

by Manila Times — 21 Aug 2019

Jun Robles Lana’s ‘Ang Babaeng Allergic Sa WiFi’ premieres on Netflix today
It has long been the Filipino filmmaker’s dream to break through the international scene with productions that show the Filipino artist and creative’s undeniable talent.

Unfortunately, even the most awarded directors of generations past have mostly been able to show their masterpieces to select audiences only via international film festivals. The likes of the late great National Artists for Film Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal have in fact triumphed over and over again with their masterpieces in the global arena, but never quite made it to the world’s mainstream.

Today though, with the age of new media changing almost every facet of contemporary life in a dizzying pace — entertainment consumption, availability and variety included — the Filipino filmmaker has certainly upped his chance of getting their work out there and seen by the world.

Director Jun Robles Lana (“Barber’s Tales,” “Bwakaw,” “Die Beautiful”), who has bagged numerous awards in foreign film festivals himself, cannot agree more as his very millennial and digital age-themed movie hit, “Ang Babaeng Allergic sa Wifi,” (ABASW) premieres today on the leading entertainment streaming service Netflix.

He is both humbled and proud that the app’s decision-makers were the very ones who assessed and moved to acquire the rights to screen this co-production of Lana and partner Percy Intalan’s Idea First Company’s co-production with Cignal Entertainment and October Train Films.

“They are very methodical in their choices so it really is very encouraging that the feedback from Netflix is they really liked the acting and they really enjoyed the movie,” Lana excitedly shared.

“So yes, this streaming platform may just be the way for the local movie industry’s longtime dream to go international come true,” he added.

Naturally, it’s not just Filipino audiences here and abroad who will have access to ABASW.

“Hopefully foreign audiences will also enjoy the movie because it’s theme is universal, even if the unique story line takes place in the Philippines,” Lana continued.

Ang Babaeng Allergic Sa WiFi follows the story of Norma, a popular girl in high school who is diagnosed with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Disorder (EHS).

Unable to use or be around any gadget, Norma is sent to a remote location without any mobile signal to help her recuperate from the rare condition. Unfortunately, the long distance as well as the lack of communication with her boyfriend puts a strain on their relationship.

“I am excited that our film will reach the diverse audience of Netflix where I hope the younger viewers will see themselves in the characters and perhaps wonder what it’s like to be suddenly disconnected from the digital world.

“Older viewers, meanwhile, will see the nostalgia and see how life, and love, survived without technology.”

Finally according to Jane Jimenez Basas, Cignal TV Inc. President and CEO, who counts ABASW as the company’s very first movie to go on Netflix, “The opportunity to tell relevant and heartwarming stories is an art. We chose to co-produce this movie with October Train Films and The IdeaFirst Company because of the popularity of using gadgets and being on social media amongst teenagers, around which the plot of the story revolves.

“The film speaks to young people as well as the young at heart. We at Cignal are very proud that our quaint and beautiful film will finally be shown to a much wider audience by Netflix. Indeed, the film’s acquisition provides an opportunity for our company to share our creative vision to the rest of the world.”

ABASW stars Sue Ramirez, Jameson Blake and Markus Paterson and will be globally available beginning today on Netflix, except China, Taiwan, Japan and India.

The movie had its first theatrical run at the 2018 Pista Ng Pelikulang Pilipino, a film festival organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

This article was first published here.