The Filipino action drama “Across the Crescent Moon,” written and directed by veteran filmmaker Baby Nebrida, made its international debut at the Honolulu Filipino Film Festival this month at the Doris Duke Theater, with successive screenings.
Across the Crescent Moon, tells the story of a Special Action Force (SAF) agent named Abbas—played by heartthrob Matteo Guidicelli—who investigates a case of human trafficking. Abbas, a Muslim married to a Christian, leaves behind his pregnant wife to fulfill his mission to protect the state.
The film, which was shown in Philippine theaters in January, features a star-studded ensemble. Aside from Matteo, the cast includes Christopher de Leon, Dina Bonnevie, Gabby Concepcion, Sandy Andolong, Alex Godinez, Joem Bascon, Ivan Carapiet and Jerico Estregan. It is the first Filipino film with Dolby Atmos sound, the global standard in film audio quality.
“I feel very overwhelmed that our film is well appreciated internationally. I feel so blessed that there’s a hidden Hand guiding us and our film to travel to numerous places overseas,” said director Baby Nebrida of her latest work.
Across the Crescent Moon opened the Honolulu Filipino Film Festival and is one of eight Filipino films in the showcase, which ran until June 17. The others were full-length features “Hele sa Hiwagang Hinagpis,” “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 1,” “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2,” and “Ma Rosa,” and the documentaries “Sunday Beauty Queen,” “The Sakada Series” and “Curiosity, Adventure & Love.”
In its website honolulu.org, organizer Honolulu Museum, described the films as works that “are unafraid to address political and social issues.” It particularly recognized “Across the Crescent Moon” for tackling the Philippines’ often overlooked Muslim community. Although the movie is a work of fiction culled from research, Nebrida noted that it is very timely especially in the wake of the conflict in Marawi City.
Nebrida declared, “Our film speaks the truth and shows how everyone is horribly affected by criminality and war of all kinds.”
A day after her film premiered at the Honolulu Filmfest, Nebrida was interviewed on Hawaii Public Radio where she talked about the audience’s response. She said, “It is good that many people have resonated with the message about the need to respect each other’s beliefs and to co-exist peacefully.”