Bea Alonzo’s ‘1521’ wins at Sweden Film Awards 2023 amid issues hounding movie

Screengrab from the trailer of the “1521” movie featuring Bea Alonzo as Diwata (Screengrab from inspireonewithfrancisho7307/YouTube)

The film “1521: The Quest for Love and Freedom,” which recently figured in a controversy, won big at a Sweden-based international competition.

Francis Lara Ho, the movie producer, announced this milestone on his Facebook account on Monday, October 9.

“MGA KABABAYAN WE DID IT!!! #1521MOVIE JUST WON IN THE SWEDEN FILM AWARDS 2023,” he said.

“1521” is a romantic period film reimagining the Battle of Mactan with a love story between a diwata and a Portuguese translator named Enrique.

It stars Kapuso actress Bea Alonzo, Hector David Jr., acclaimed actor Danny Trejo and Michael Copon.

The movie won two awards at the Sweden Film Awards (SFA) in September 2023:

Feature FilmBest Cinematography Feature Film

Lara Ho dedicated this recognition to the Philippines amid Filipino-American History Month this October.

“This is the 1st WIN for ‘1521’ and this is a WIN for Filipino Americans and ALL Filipinos worldwide! My family offers this historic WIN as a gift to our Inang Bayan at buong sambayanang Pilipino on our 125th Independence Day as well as to all our kababayans sa Amerika on our FILAM History Month,” he said.

The SFA is a competition in Sweden that recognizes stellar films from different parts of the world both on a monthly and annual basis.

The rest of the movies that the SFA recognized last September can be viewed here: September 2023 – Sweden Film Awards.

What’s the controversy about?

Last September, a staff of Bea alleged that the actress was disinclined or unwilling to promote “1521” due to supposed disappointing experiences she had during its production.

Ogie Diaz was the one who revealed these claims from the staff, whom he did not name in his vlog. This vlog was uploaded on September 21.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kEySOngNDg?si=VtQ2RjOzwRO7JjCh]

According to Ogie, the staff claimed that Bea was the one paying for her staff’s accommodations. Bea’s staff added that the actress paid for her own costume while filming the movie in Palawan.

The source also alleged that the “talents” were not compensated enough for their work.

Moreover, one of them was even allegedly injured, citing the “unsafe” location of the shoot.

Days later, a representative of Lara Ho countered these claims in a statement sent to Inqurier.net.

The representative asserted that Bea brought additional staff members who were not part of her signed contract, hence the producer not paying for the “additional rooms.”

The hotel rooms provided were also supposedly “high-end”, with showers and swimming pools.

Moreover, Bea also allegedly did not show up during her costume fitting schedule and then later sought a “redesign” of her costume.

“So she ended up paying for the repair herself since she refused the services of the production tailor,” the producer’s camp was quoted in a report as saying.

As of writing, Bea has yet to promote the move on any of her social media accounts.

The English-language movie also figured in a controversy last July following the release of its first trailer.

Several Filipinos criticized the casting of Bea as a lead actor, given her half-British ethnicity and being fair-skinned.

Other Filipinos, meanwhile, slammed the perceived poor depiction of indigenous Cebuanos during pre-colonial times.

READ: Team of ‘1521’ movie expresses gratitude amid criticisms vs viral trailer

The Battle of Mactan, which served as the backdrop of the controversial film, took place in the historical city of Mactan in the province of Cebu.

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