Elijah Canlas Bags Best Actor Win at the 17th Asian Film Festival for ‘Kalel, 15’

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The IdeaFirst Company’s Gameboys breakout star Elijah Canlas was recently hailed the Best Actor in the 17th Asian Film Festival in Rome, Italy for exemplary performance for the titular role in the drama Kalel, 15.

In an announcement shared by the creative content company behind the critically-acclaimed film, the win came on the heels of the mid-season break of the widely-celebrated online series, Gameboys, where Canlas plays one of the shows now-iconic lead characters.

Kalel, 15 trails the coming-of-age tale of a young Catholic boy who turns out to be diagnosed with HIV, deepening the pressures he is facing in his adolescent life. With Kalel as the central figure in the story, the plot then dives into a wide array of cultural and sociological issues on religion, gender structure, poverty, and HIV awareness. Joining the 19-year-old actor in the film is multi-awarded actress Jaclyn Jose as his runaway mother, Gabby Padilla, and the late Eddie Garcia–a parish priest who is revealed to be Kalel’s father.

In a video that serves as his acceptance speech, Canlas expressed heartfelt thanks for the team behind the film that led to the “tremendous honor”. He then shared the award to his family, his director Jun Robles Lana, cinematographer, Carlo Canlas Mendoza, and co-actor Eddie Garcia, citing the great blessing of working alongside the legendary actor for his last film. Further, Canlas’ message highlighted the value of opening up and deepening the dialogue on HIV awareness.

He articulated, “This goes out to the kids and to everyone else who struggle with HIV, and continue to face stigma everyday. May we all be kind and help each other.”

Video messaggio di Elijah Canlas

🏆Miglior Attore a Elijah Canlas – Kalel, 15 (4)📜Il premio va a…protagonista di Kalel 15, per la capacità, nonostante la sua giovanissima età, di mettere in scena un personaggio fragile e pieno di contraddizioni, in maniera naturale e con delle sfumature da attore di grande esperienza. Siamo felici di premiare una performance onesta, commovente e piena di innocenza che ha molto colpito la giuria.✨ Ecco a voi un video messaggio di ringraziamento da parte di Elijah Canlas, protagonista di KALEL, 15!

Posted by Asian Film Festival on Friday, 7 August 2020

In a post, Lana praised the young actor for his impressive portrayal and how, through his hard work and intelligent choices in approaching the role, proves how much of a “chameleon” Canlas really is.

Amid the pandemic and the ongoing community lockdowns across the globe, this year’s Asian Film Festival collected 27 feature films and three short films from 10 countries in East Asia, namely Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, in its continuing focus in honoring the best of Asian filmmaking, along with a platform to hail new filmmakers through its Newcomers section.

In celebration of Philippine cinema’s centennial, the festival also featured 8 local feature films. This included Lav Diaz ‘ The Halt , which was also presented at Cannes 2019. Lana’s Kalel, 15 was also an official selection for the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia in 2019.

At present, Canlas’ acting streak continues with the undying fan adoration and critical success of the online series Gameboys, where he plays the role of Cairo, opposite another independent cinema regular, Kokoy De Santos. The series, which was originally slated for ten episodes, has now been extended to 13 episodes and a confirmed movie. Moreover, The IdeaFirst Company has announced a Gameboys spin-off series titled, Pearl Next Door, featuring the beloved female character in the lead role, played by actress Adrianna So.

Watch the trailer of Kalel, 15 here:

KALEL,15 di Jun Lana

🎎 Primo film dell’ultima serata di Festival è KALEL, 15, film filippino diretto da Jun Lana nel 2019.🎥 Kalel è un ragazzino cattolico. Eccezion fatta per la madre e la sorella, nessuno sa che suo padre è un prete. Incautamente alla ricerca di amore anche tra le braccia di sconosciuti in cui si imbatte on line, un giorno scopre di avere contratto l'Hiv. Nel momento in cui la madre scappa con il suo amante segreto e dopo qualche tempo viene sfrattato di casa, Kalel non può far altro che cercare il padre.📍Vi aspettiamo mercoledì 5 agosto alle 20.45 presso il teatro all'aperto Ettore Scola, sito alla Casa del Cinema, per assistere alla prima proiezione serale del Festival!🎫I biglietti sono acquistabili sia sul nostro sito web ( https://www.asianfilmfestival.info/ ) e sia in loco.Vi aspettiamo! ✨

Posted by Asian Film Festival on Monday, 20 July 2020