On Monday 29 June, the Asia premiere of Spanish documentary film “True Smile” (Spanish name “La Sonrisa Verdadera”), directed by Juan Rayos, screened at SM Mall of Asia as part of the World Premieres Film Festival Philippines (WPFF) 2015 under the ‘Ibero-America’ section selection.
“True Smile” is a documentary film about two brothers, Sergio and Juan Manuel Aznárez Rosado, who journey from Cuenca in Spain to Morocco on a tandem bicycle to meet their friend, Mati. The journey, however, was no ordinary one. Sergio is blind – and also, autistic. The inspiring film begins with the journey and moves on to explore Sergio’s extraordinary life, literally without eyes, and with autism.
Brothers Sergio and Juan Manuel Aznarez Rosado with members of the Autism Society Philippines community and ASP Trustee Jan Pena after the screeningThe two brothers, Sergio and Juan Manuel, flew to the Philippines for the first time from Spain especially to attend the premiere. The premiere was very well-received and attended by members of the Instituto Cervantes Manila, as well as the Autism Society Philippines (ASP), whose community watched the film and met the brothers. After the screening a question and answer session took place. ASP Trustee Jan Peña said: “Thank you for sharing with us such an inspiring film. We hope that as many members of our community as possible will be able to watch such an important documentary about autism.”
Later in the week, on Friday 3 July, the second screening of “True Smile” took place at SM Megamall. The brothers introduced the film and festival representatives of the World Premieres Film Festival Philippines awarded Sergio and Juan Manuel each with a “Certificate of Appreciation for Distinguished Participation” on occasion of the festival. After the certificates were presented, Sergio introduced the film in Spanish after greeting everyone good afternoon in Tagalog – which drew laughter and applause.
“We’re very happy to be here in the Philippines,” said Juan Manuel. “I’d like to thank everybody for giving us this welcome to the festival. I’m really impressed with how well you’ve welcomed us. It’s very important that [True Smile] is not only a movie to be enjoyed in the cinema – we can help other people with this example. For us, this trip to the Philippines has become something really touching and really special. We hope you enjoy the film.”
This second screening was again attended by members of the Instituto Cervantes Manila, and a greater number of the ASP community. During the question and answer session, ASP National President Mona Magna-Veluz gave thanks to the brothers for promoting awareness of autism, and deemed the film “truly fantastic” and “inspirational”.
The brothers, who are now travelling around the Philippines starting with El Nido in Palawan, hope to visit ASP communities in various parts of the country before their return to Spain.
The WPFF celebrates the power and magic of film by showcasing over 70 films from 35 countries by critically-acclaimed upcoming film directors from across the globe. The festival is held in partnership with SM Cinemas and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.