Taking part in the 38th edition of Sundance Film Festival—the largest independent film festival in the United States and perhaps the most anticipated globally every year—are two films from the Philippines: Martika Escobar's feature film Leonor Will Never Die, and Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan's short film The Headhunter's Daughter.
There is only a handful of Filipino films that have ever made it to the Sundance Film Festival. First was the critically acclaimed Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (2005) directed by Auraeus Solito in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. The succeeding three films: Metro Manila (2013) directed by two-time BAFTA nominee Sean Ellis, and Filipino-American filmmaker Ramona S Diaz's Bayang Ina Mo (2017) and A Thousand Cuts (2020) were all internationally produced. Meanwhile, Filipino director and producer Sonny Calvento in 2021 brought to Sundance's his 2020 film Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss, which made history as the first-ever Filipino film to enter the prestigious festival's shorts program.
This year, the Philippines is back in competition with Escobar's feature film entering the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, while Eblahan's short film is part of the Shorts Program 4 section for cinephiles to appreciate.