Fortissimo Films has acquired worldwide rights to comedy drama BWAKAW, directed by the Philippines’ Jun Robles Lana, which recently won three awards at the Cinemalaya  Independent Film Festival.

Several years in the making, the film stars local icon Eddie Garcia as a grumpy aging gay man, living alone with a stray dog, who has only come out recently while in his 70s. He is forced to seek the help of others when the dog falls ill.

At Manila’s Cinemalaya festival, the film was awarded best actor, the Netpac Award and the Audience Choice Award.

The film was written as well as directed by Jun Robles Lana, one of the Philippines’ most prolific commercial filmmakers, with credits such as My Neighbor’s Wife and Kulam. BWAKAW was produced by Ferdinand Lapuz (Serbis) and Antonio Tuviera and executive produced by Perci Intalan under the Octobertrain banner.

BWAKAW is scheduled for nationwide release in the Philippines early next month. It will receive its international premiere in Toronto’s Contemporary World Cinema Section, where Fortissimo will commence sales.

BWAKAW is one of those rare films with universal appeal that will transcend language, nationality, class, gender and age,” said Fortissimo chairman Michael J. Werner.

Producer Ferdinand Lapuz said: “Fortissimo is the only distributor I know which has consistently and  reliably been distributing Filipino movies for more than 20 years and I think BWAKAW will feel right at home with them.”