Drama Del Rosario on 'meaningful' Hollywood film festival win as Filipino LGBTQ+ filmmaker

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 18) — Award-winning documentary filmmaker Drama Del Rosario said a Hollywood film festival’s recent recognition of his work also serves as a message to Filipino members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“It is so meaningful because it’s a Filipino LGBTQ+ story being recognized by Hollywood, by a jury consisting of Academy Award and Emmy winners. That’s a message from Hollywood saying hey, LGBTQ+ Filipinos, we want to hear you,” Del Rosario told CNN Philippines on Monday.

The filmmaker bagged the award for Best Short by an LGBT+ Filmmaker in this year's Next Generation Indie Film Awards for his documentary “In This Family,” which tackles Del Rosario’s experience of being outed by his teacher during a parent-teacher conference and how his family handled it.

“I find myself at the intersection of several things: being Filipino, being gay, being an immigrant in America,” he said, adding the documentary takes on how these facets of his identity interact with one another.

With this, Del Rosario bared his approach to making documentaries is a more personal one — likening it to British singer-songwriter Adele’s practice of writing albums based on different stages in her life.

“For a lot of documentary filmmakers, the journey is about travel, it’s geographical, it’s a spatial journey. Whereas for me, the journey has always been temporal. It’s a journey through time, looking at the personal heartbreaks that made me the person I am today,” he explained.

Del Rosario also shared his advice to aspiring filmmakers: always go back to yourself and tell your own story — referencing Dorothy Gale’s self-realization in The Wizard of Oz after clicking her red shoes.

“Find your own intersection. Where does your yellow brick road intersect? The answer that you’re looking for, the stories that you’re gonna be sharing are not that far," he said.