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Filipino Studio ANIMA & Project 8 Projects Team On Antoinette Jadaone’s ‘Sunshine’

EXCLUSIVE: ANIMA, the Filipino studio behind Venice winner On The Job 2: The Missing 8 and Sundance winner Leonor Will Never Die, is joining with Project 8 Projects to co-produce Antoinette Jadaone’s teenage pregnancy drama Sunshine.

Maris Racal stars in the film, marking her third collaboration with Jadaone. The story follows a young gymnast who discovers she is pregnant on the week of the national team tryouts. On her way to a seller of illegal abortion drugs, she meets a mysterious girl who eerily talks and thinks like her.

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Currently in post-production, the film is a follow-up to Jadaone’s Fan Girl (2020), which played at Tokyo International Film Festival and Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival main competition.

Jadaone is known for both indie and mainstream films in the Philippines. She directed one of the highest-grossing indie films in Philippine cinema history, That Thing Called Tadhana (2014), which also played widely at genre festivals including Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. He debut film, Six Degrees Of Separation From Lilia Cuntapay (2011), traveled to several international film festivals, including Busan.

Racal previously worked with Jadaone on Simula Sa Gitna and The Kangks Show. Her credits also include Quark Henares’ Where Is The Lie? and Mae Cruz Alviar’s Can’t Buy Me Love.

Speaking to Deadline, Jadaone said she hopes the film will raise awareness of women’s reproductive rights in the Philippines, where these issues are not as widely discussed as they are in the West.

Sunshine represents the hundreds of thousands of girls who became pregnant in their teens,” Jadaone said. “These topics have always been taboo in the Philippines because of our deeply conservative roots, but when cases of teenage pregnancy and self-induced abortions rise every year, it is imperative that these stories be told.”

ANIMA’s Bianca Balbuena added: “One of ANIMA’s goals is to support content that not only entertains, but also challenges the status quo. I always advocate for women’s voices in cinema, and as a long-time fan of Antoinette Jadaone’s works, we are proud to be part of Sunshine, after our collaborations on critical and commercial darling Fan Girl, and the series Simula Sa Gitna.

“We’re very excited to share Sunshine, with a statement that is of paramount importance in a world that constantly hinders women’s freedom over her own body.”

Formerly known as Globe Studios, ANIMA is part of Kroma Entertainment, which in turn is owned by Filipino telecoms giant Globe Telecom. The studio has credits including Erik Matti’s On The Job 2: The Missing 8, which won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor Award at the 2021 Venice Film Festival,  and Leonor Will Never Die, directed by Martika Ramirez Escobar, which won a Special Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

ANIMA also produced Whether The Weather Is Fine, which won the Youth Jury Prize at Locarno Film Festival in 2021 and coming-of-age thriller Dead Kids, the first Filipino Netflix Original.

Project 8 Projects is a Manila-based film production outfit founded by Jadaone and Dan Villegas. Their recent production, The Missing (Iti Mapukpukaw), directed by Carl Joseph Papa, was the Philippines’ submission to the Best International Feature category of the 96th Academy Awards.

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