Boat people story wins Asian Film Prize

Boat people story wins Asian Film Prize

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Boat people story wins Asian Film Prize

Filipino director Sheron R. Dayoc’s film, ‘Ways of the Sea,’ won the APSA prize. Company photo

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards yesterday announced that the winner of the annual APSA NETPAC Development Prize was Filipino filmmaker Sheron R. Dayoc for his film “Halaw” (Ways of the Sea).

Designed to nurture outstanding talent in the region, a prize of $5,000 will be offered by APSA to the winner.

Sheron wrote, produced and directed “Ways of the Sea,” a dramatic account of human trafficking through the seas from the southern Philippines to Malaysia.

The jury chose the film “for its seamless storytelling and documentary quality which evokes the uncertainty and desperation in a little-known story of modern-day boat people.”

“I feel encouraged, considering it’s my first feature film, to be cited as an Asian, by fellow Asians. In spite of our region’s colorful diversity, we also share common aspirations, problems and issues and a unifying language with cinema as its accessible voice.

“This award inspires me to do more films that distinctly capture not only the Filipino spirit, but, in essence, represent the Asian value of resilience as well. Thanks for this very important recognition of the film, which is also a recognition of my country’s vibrant independent cinema industry,” said Dayoc.

Based on research and interviews, the film follows the journey of a kaleidoscope of characters hoping for a better life in Sabah, Malaysia despite the dangers of illegal immigration and the uncertainty of a true job in Malaysia. The film also represents a microcosm of the multi-cultural groupings of Mindanao whose diversity is bound by a common goal, an opportunity to earn a living, as they take the illegal small boat ride from their homeland to a foreign “Promised Land.”