Filipino filmmaker Baby Ruth Villarama is one of the three 2018 global awardees of British Council’s annual Study UK Alumni Awards. Villarama was recognized in the area of social impact. The prestigious award is given to an outstanding alumni of a UK university who used his or her UK study experience to make a positive contribution in society.
“I made a crazy decision to be a film maker because I wanted to change how the world sees the Philippines and more importantly how the Philippines sees itself,” said Villarama in a video about her journey as a student in the UK.
After completing her MA Film Distribution and Marketing at Birmingham City University through a Chevening Scholarship, Villarama returned to the Philippines to begin working on Sunday Beauty Queen, a documentary film that gave viewers a peek into the secret lives of some overseas Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong who find joining beauty pageants a worthwhile escape from the daunting realities of work and life.
“Meeting the Sunday Beauty Queens in Hong Kong made a huge impact in my life,” said Villarama, who hails from Baliuag, Bulacan. “I now understand that it’s not what our people can get from countries they are working for but what the Filipinos and other migrants can contribute to the world.”
Her film premiered globally at various film festivals such as the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea. It was also the first documentary film to win the Best Picture Award in the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival. Moreover, Sunday Beauty Queens sparked various meaningful discussions on the living and working conditions of migrant workers around the world.
“The UK’s recognition of the importance of Baby Ruth’s work in using film as a medium to open hearts and minds is a proud moment for the Philippines,” said Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo. “Filipinos naturally excel in the art of storytelling but Baby Ruth takes that talent a level higher by using it to ignite an important conversation on many uncomfortable realities and what we can do to make the world better for all people.”
Villarama currently teaches Film Production Management at the University of the Philippines Film Institute. Before Sunday Beauty Queen, she directed other renowned documentaries such as Jazz in Love (2013) and Little Azkals (2014). She has also trained under some of the world’s best film making organizations such as the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE), the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, and the Pitch Conference at TokyoDocs. Villarama obtained her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas (UST). END
For more information, please contact:
STACY DANIKA GARCIA
Public and Cultural Diplomacy Officer
Third Secretary and Vice Consul
Embassy of the Philippines in London
Department of Foreign Affairs
Republic of the Philippines
+44 750 7025 1062