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PHILIPPINES - May 19, 2004

Celebrating 10 years of gay and lesbian pride in the Philippines, the Mowelfund Film Institute and ProGay Philippines gather together film artists, business and cultural leaders and the international community in organizing the Pink Film Festival, the 2nd International Gay and Lesbian Film and Video Festival. Forty titles will be featured in screenings that will be held nationwide starting June 15 at SM Megamall. With support from SM Supermalls, British Council, Goethe Institut, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Festival will showcase international film premieres, an Asian section and a retrospective of Filipino-made films and videos.

Topping the list is "Eating Out", a hilarious sex comedy from Q. Allan Brocka. If the name Brocka rings a familiar bell, it is because the young director is the nephew of the late Philippines National Artist for Film, Lino Brocka. The director will be appearing in person during his screening to introduce his film that stars Jim Verraros, one of last year's American Idol winners.

"Inter.M@tes" is another festival premiere by South African director, Hamilton McLeod, a UK-Philippine production shot entirely in the Philippines with an all-Filipino cast. The long-awaited film stars Ian Veneracion who sheds off his tough macho cadence for a queenly romp in gay beaches and cafes. Joining him are gorgeous Filipino actors and models - Raymond Bagatsing, Simon Ibarra, Jojo Alejar, Jay Espano, Mike Lloren and William Thio. The all-star cast bested 300 hopefuls who swamped the audition a day after a casting call was made. In the film, too, are Migue Moreno and beauty queen Evangeline Pascual.

With support from the British Council, the outrageous British hit film, "9 Dead Gay Guys" will have its Asian premiere together with the lowkey, "The Wolves of Kromer." A salute to the notoriously famous German director, Rainier Werner Fassbinder, comes with the screening of his elegiac film, "Love is colder than Death," courtesy of the Goethe Institut. A touch of Bollywood is represented by Sridhar Rangayan's "Gulabi Aaina," the first film about the vanishing exotic world of Indian drag queens. Other Asian delights come from Malaysia led by Osman Ali's "Bukak Api," a film on the dramatic efforts to reach out to the vulnerable sectors of gays and prostitutes as they struggle against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The Philippine retrospective carries distinguished names in local cinema. Classic gay films include Lino Brocka's "Macho Dancer," Mel Chionglo's "Burlesk King," Carlos Siguion Reyna's "Ang Lalaki sa Buhay ni Selya," and Joel Lamangan's "Pusong Mamon." Also to be screened are Deocampo's prizewinning films like "The Sex Warriors and the Samurai," the autobiographical "Private Wars" and "Isaak". Other titles include gay and lesbian works coming from the Mowelfund Film Institute and the University of the Philippines Film Institute.

As a human rights event, the festival also highlights the need for recognition of the gay and lesbian community which, despite modest gains, remain marginalized in Filipino society.

The festival runs June 15 until July 11 in SM Megamall, Manila, Baguio, Iloilo and at the University of the Philippines Film Institute. Nationwide screenings will follow in all SM cinemas. Click here to visit the festival website.

Reservations and season passes will soon be available. Corporate sponsorships and provincial bookings are also being accepted. For more information, call: Mowelfund Film Institute at 410 4567 (632) 727 1915 or (632) 3673109 or e-mail: progay@edsamail.com.ph

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