After making stops in Manila and Montreal, a chronically online Filipino gay sex worker (alongside his talking cat) is flying to New York City soon… well, kind of.
His name is Bold—the protagonist of “Bold Eagle,” a.k.a. the short film that has officially been selected for the “Currents Program 3: Inside Out” lineup at the New York Film Festival (NYFF) 2023.
Directed by Filipino filmmaker Whammy Alcazaren amid the pandemic, the film follows Bold and his feline companion as they turn to gay porn and cat videos to cope with isolation. Its setting—a dark apartment in Navotas City cluttered with encyclopedias, family albums, and wrestling posters—serves as the perfect backdrop for the odd but deep interactions between the two characters.
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If you’re raising an eyebrow at this point, you’re not alone. But considering NYFF’s “Currents” lineup traces “a more complete picture of contemporary cinema” by spotlighting innovative voices, “Bold Eagle” couldn’t be a more fitting candidate.
After all, the 16-minute film aims to take viewers on a surreal journey that blends personal history, queer politics, and the absurd internet culture. It also straddles the line between reality and hallucination. In fact, Bold and his cat are able to go on a Hawaii trip without leaving home. How exactly? Find out yourself at the NYFF from Sept. 29 to Oct. 15.
X-rating to critical acclaim
You might be wondering how the film was received in the Philippines. Well, it got an “X” rating from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board in 2022.
But despite being deemed unsuitable for public consumption, “Bold Eagle” strutted on and even left a trail of accolades in its wake.
It had its local debut at the 10th QCinema International Film Festival, where it won Best Short Film for “articulating a timely and queer political critique that captures anger, loneliness, frustration, boredom, and alienation amidst the pandemic.”
“Bold Eagle” then soared onto the international film festival circuit.
Besides landing at the 2023 Fantasia International Film Festival (Montreal, Canada) as one of the five local films under the “Pinoy Party” program, the Alcazaren-helmed film also emerged as the festival’s Best Short Film.
The lineup was curated by festival programmer Ariel Esteban Cayer—who described “Bold Eagle” as a “cocky commentary on censorship, dictatorship and repression.”
According to Alcazaren, the film’s premise came to him at a time when “we were all stuck at home, trapped and forced to confront our place in the world,” Inquirer Entertainment reports.