Triangle of Sadness Star Dolly De Leon Sails to Fantastic Fest: Awards Season Hope Puts Filipino Cinema on the Map
Dolly de Leon, star of triangle of sadnesstries his hand at printing posters, courtesy of the press room, during the closing party of Fantastic Fest 2022 (Photo by Heather Kennedy)
Attendees of tonight’s Fantastic Fest closing night screening had a surprise visitor: Cannes Palme d’Or star Dolly De Leon triangle of sadness. “I’m so excited,” she said before the screening. “I’ve heard so many stories. I feel like I’m going to a rock concert.”
For her performance as Abigail, the housekeeper on a posh yacht filled with worthless wealthy people, she’s already making headlines as a potential Oscar nominee. Still, when she first auditioned for the role in 2018, “it was another job I knew I had to get.” She was a veteran of Filipino television and scenes, “but I wasn’t in a position where I could choose my roles.” However, she had never done an international production, and it was an opportunity to work force majeure the director Ruben Östlund, fresh out of his palme d’or at Cannes for The place“and I was dying to do this kind of work.”
Her performance not only puts the spotlight on her, but on the potential of the entire Philippine film industry – an industry she sees as being in a particularly healthy, post-pandemic place. De Leon explained, “Before, especially on TV, production was always after a quota. They had to finish 45 sequences in one day. Can you imagine?” (The opposite of notorious perfectionist Östlund, “because with Ruben it’s 45 takes”.) The result emphasized quantity over quality, “and quality was left behind” . However, there is now a strict production time limit of 12 hours per day, “so the filmmakers can focus on quality. Even our soap operas, our teleseries as we call them, are getting better.”
As for independent cinema, the problem in the Philippines was not quality but budget. However, the Film Development Council of the Philippines has recently increased its financial support for small productions “and they really help us a lot”. De Leon said she sees the new wave of Filipino independent cinema filling a void left by major studios and network content that still plays it safe. She said: “We are so hungry and craving for stories that we can relate to and stories that need to be heard, and that can help us become a better society and become better humans. The scene independent filmmaker does that.”
triangle of sadness opens in Austin on October 14. Read more from our interview with Dolly de Leon in this week’s issue.
Fantastic Fest takes place in person from September 22-29 and online with [email protected] from September 29-October 29. 4. Tickets and passes at fantasticfest.com.
Follow all of our coverage, news, reviews and interviews at austinchronicle.com/fantastic-fest.