We narrow down our list to 8 acts in the entertainment industry who are soaring to greater heights

Tatler celebrates the visionaries—from the powerful to the disruptive, the established to the up-and-coming—who are shaping the country's cultural future

1. Ben&Ben

Music

Regarded as the country’s hottest band, this 9-piece musical group composed of twin brothers Paolo and Miguel Benjamin, Agnes Reoma, Poch Barretto, Keifer Cabugao, Pat Lasaten, Toni Muñoz, Andrew de Pano and Jam Villanueva has been captivating audiences with their heartfelt lyrics, unique musicality and distinct electrifying vibe onstage. The band’s diversity of themes, messages and stories is conveyed through songs—and nowhere more evidently than in its second album, Pebble House Vol. 1: Kuwaderno.

2. Madge Reyes

Dance

When everything was frozen by the pandemic, dance found life in the digital event Fifth Wall Fest. Launched in October 2020 by this dancer/filmmaker, FWF combines dance and other art forms such as film, fashion, music, architecture, food, art. The creator of FWF, which is on its third iteration this year, is a former Ballet Philippines soloist and Asian Cultural Council Fellow. Not only has she kept dance alive and provided dancers with an audience, but also continued the conversation about it and its transformative role in different communities.

3. Dominic Bekaert

Film

Film is an obvious passion for Dominic Bekaert, a Manila-based film director and film preservationist, who also co-founded ZooPraxi Studio. Both director and his studio are advocates of versatility, challenging their talents to create everything from experimental music videos to short films and animation. “I’m inspired by Art in all its shapes and forms,” Bekaert shares. Their upcoming project includes an international collaboration—their first—with a Los Angeles based label for singer FKJ.

4. Erwin Romulo

Music

There isn’t much that he hasn’t done. Writer, composer and filmmaker are just a few titles that have preceded his name. But what lies at the centre of it all is a simple yet instrumental knack for people. Whether it’s as Esquire Philippines’ founding editor-in-chief, the musical director for BuyBust and On the Job, or most recently, the creative force behind various NFT media pieces, he demonstrates immeasurable talents in engendering an honest human connection, no matter the medium.

Read more: 10 of the Most Iconic Films That Shaped Philippine Cinema: Magnifico, BuyBust, and More

5. SB19

Music

The artist group of Pablo, Stell, Josh, Ken and Justin pioneered the P-Pop sound we know today. Promoting Filipino music in the local and international arena, they have been receiving nods from award-giving bodies like MTV EMAs and Billboard. In their latest EP Pagsibol, the members’ collaborative efforts shone in the songs, choreographies and aesthetics. They identify the Filipino music industry as an inspiration. “We believe Filipino music deserves to be seen, and appreciated by the world,” they say.

6. Quark Henares

Film

“The talent is [here]. We just need to give [them] a chance to tell the kind of stories they want to tell,” says this multi-faceted film practitioner who supports passionate voices and acts as both gun and fodder for pushing the Filipino film industry forward. Most recently, he was part of the powerhouse team that brought On the Job: The Missing 8 to the Venice Film Festival, a title that would make history with lead actor John Arcilla’s Volpi Cup win.

Read more: John Arcilla on His Road to the Volpi Cup

7. Avid Liongoren

Film

With his team, the Rocketsheep Studio’s director-producer is leading the revolution of our local entertainment industry in animation. His first film, the French CNC Fund recipient Saving Sally, took 12 years before it earned international accolades like the jury prize at Belgium’s BIFF, Portugal’s Fantasporto and South Korea’s SICAF. His second, Hayop Ka!, was the first Filipino film to compete at the Annecy Festival in France. Currently, he is working on the film adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel Zsazsa Zaturnnah.

Read more: 7 Underrated Filipino Films to Watch This Valentine's Day

8. Martika Ramirez Escobar

Film

It took eight years for this filmmaker to finish her directorial feature debut Leonor Will Never Die—but it was all worth the wait. The work won the Special Jury Award: Innovative Spirit in the World Cinema Dramatic competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. "Getting into Sundance is a bonus that I’m very grateful for and quite proud of, especially because it’s rare for a first-time Filipina filmmaker to be given this opportunity," Escobar shares. Aside from working on projects of Quark Henares, she entered the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival in 2014 and in 2020. “I believe that a work of art will find its place, its home and its people in its perfect time,” she says. Of the people that inspire her creatively, Escobar shares that it's the 'natural artists' whose work exist not in galleries but in regular life. "My Grandma and Mother are my favourites because ever since I was young, they would find ways how to make life more beautiful through art. Everything is art to them and that is a perspective I like having when making my own films."

Read more: Martika Ramirez Escobar Talks About Sundance and Why Trust is Important in Today's Independent Film Industry

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