Filipino creativity is boundless. Filipinos have been celebrated in a number of fields and industries for the vigor and passion they ultimately incorporate into their crafts.

Among these famous artists are filmmakers that showcase the nuances of Filipino culture in their respective decades: Manuel Conde renowned for his film titled, “Genghis Khan” (1950), Lino Brocka with his film, “Wanted: Perfect Mother” (1970) and Ishmael Bernal with the film “Himala” (1982).

The aforementioned Filipino filmmakers paved the way for indie films (independent films) to be beloved by the newer generations of Filipinos. In our contemporary society, indie films of today have taken inspiration from the works of these veteran filmmakers and have given them a modern edge. Filmmakers of today tend to go for overarching themes that were considered “taboo” before; such as exploration of one’s sexuality, queerness, etc.

These three Filipino indie films are worth checking out to celebrate “Buwan ng Wika.”

“Billie and Emma” (Dir. Samantha Lee)

Directed by a queer filmmaker, “Billie and Emma” rightfully portrays the struggle of being a queer person in the Philippines. The film centers around Billie, a queer woman, whose father sent her to an all-girls Catholic school in hopes to change her sexuality. There she meets Emma, a popular student who despises her. They eventually grew close and formed a relationship before finding out Emma is pregnant with her long-term boyfriend’s child.

The film gives a nod to a lot of issues the LGBTQAI+ community face on a daily basis. The discrimination and derision they face and how they are ostracized in society is also tackled.

“Billie and Emma” is able to highlight the Filipino culture that oftentimes undermines women and the choices that they make. It is a profound film that takes a deep dive into the experience of young love and the lengths one goes through for the name of it.

“Fan Girl” (Dir. Antoinette Jadaone)

“Fan Girl” exceptionally provides a look into the life of a girl blindly enamored by a celebrity she idolizes. It takes into account how fangirls in real life are ridiculed for the passion they have for an idol they don’t even know. The movie does a great job of showing how these celebrities we laud over are just humans like us: flawed and capable of doing ugly things for self-preservation.

The film is gritty, dark, and somewhat comical in some scenes. One thing it perfectly does is set the record straight: Fangirls are not crazy. They are just passionate.

“The Bit Player” (Dir. Jeffrey Jeturian)

“The Bit Player” otherwise titled, “Ekstra” is a social commentary on the film industry. The viewers get to see the struggles of an “ekstra” in a film and how they go over and beyond what is needed on their job. Despite this, they don’t get paid enough and are overworked.

The film shows the innate Filipino attitude of persevering against odds.

Filipino filmmakers are truly one-of-a-kind with their portrayal of unflinching themes of self-exploration and the constricting hold of culture. These films are a testament just how much Filipino filmmaking has evolved over the years. Now, films are inclusive and voice out the stories of those who are not heard.