Film on Pinoy 'queen' reigns in Berlin film fest
A FILM on a Pinoy transvestite won Thursday the top prize at the Berlinale's Teddy Que er Film Awards. "The Amazing Truth about Queen Raquela," which stars Raquela Rios of Cebu, bagg ed the Best Feature Film Award in the sidebar of the Berlin International Film festival. "Queen Raquela" was cited by the jury "for its ability to address race, gender and poverty in an entertaining way, while also playing with audiences' expectat ions of form." Filipino director Auraeus Solito won the same award in 2006 for his acclaimed " Ang Pagdadalaga ni (The Blossoming of) Maximo Oliveros." The prize includes a 3,000 Euro endowment to the film's director, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson. Arlene Cuevas co-produced "Queen Raquela" which also features act ors from the Philippines and Iceland, including Olivia Galudo, Brax Villa, Amor Alingasa, Raniel Dave Balasabas, Ren Christian Balasabas, Stefan C. Schaefer, Edith Galudo, Luis Labandero, Archie Modequillo, Reynaldo Palatulon and Alexis Yap. "Queen Raquela," which also tapped a Pinoy crew that includes Alexis, Butch Mad dul, Ragnar Santos, and Beverly TaÃ±edo, was shot in the Philippines, Thailand, Iceland, Denmark, France and the US. Olaf wrote the plot summary in the film's IMDB.com entry: "Raquela is a poor la dyboy prostitute who dreams of escaping to Paris, France to supposedly find her knight on Champs-Elysees, marry and have a familyâ¦ But she has little chance of getting a French visaâ¦ "When Raquela is discovered by a photographer, she gets a job working as a webc am host on a popular ladyboy website. Within six weeks, she becomes the first F ilipino online porn star and earns ten times the average salary in the Philippi nes. Wanting to escape, she tries over the Internet to find that special guy wh o will take her to Paris but she is not fortunate: she is stood-up month after month at the airport. "Things change when she meets online Valery, the only ladyboy in Iceland lookin g for friendship and who promises to help Raquela with her visa so she can fina lly go to Paris."
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