Seven years after she started her acting career, Anna Luna is finally a rising star.
The lovely morena actress was very visible during the recently concluded Cinemalaya film festival where at least four films in which she appeared as a cast member were screened.
This included Joseph Israel Laban’s “Baconaua” and Bradley Liew’s “Singing in Graveyards” where she portrayed supporting roles as well as Lem Lorca’s “Maestra” and Nerissa Picadizo’s “Requited” where she played lead.
Even though critics were not high on “Requited,” many conceded that Anna was captivating as Sandy, the cycling buddy of Matt, a young man afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease played by Jake Cuenca.
“To be partnered with Jake Cuenca, I saw it as a big chance for me to get more lead roles,” Anna told InterAksyon in a recent interview.
The actress need not wait for a chance to make her mark on a film with a nationwide theatrical run, though. It’s already happening with Zig Dulay’s “Paglipay,” an entry in the 2016 ToFarm Film Festival that was recently selected as one of the 12 films in the ongoing Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino film festival.
Winner of six ToFarm awards including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Anna, who won Best Supporting Actress in 2013 for Ralston Jover’s “Bendor” during the Cinema One Originals film festival. “Paglipay” went on to receive multiple nominations in the Star Award for Movies and that Gawad Urian that also included another Best Supporting Actress nomination for Anna.
“I’m so thankful for all the honors that I’ve received for ‘Paglipay’ specially Direk Zig for making it all possible,” Anna said in mostly Filipino. “It was really surreal being in the company of the artists I admire during the Gawad Urian awards night.”
In “Paglipay,” Anna played Rain, a UP student who is working on a thesis on the culture of the Aetas in Zambales and their differences with the Unat or lowland people.
“While researching, Rain felt a lot of frustration and heartache. Oh, the pain of loving someone who doesn’t love you back. Hugot!,” she exclaimed.
Like her experiences in “Requited” which saw her and Jake biking all the way to the foot of Mount Pinatubo and in “Baconaua” which was filmed in the shorelines of Marinduque amid a killer storm, Anna’s experience in “Paglipay” is something she will never forget.
“It was my first time in Botolan, Zambales and I stayed there for three to four days. The people are very nice, the location is quiet and very beautiful. I’d like to come back there,” she enthused.
If her role in “Requited” required her to undergo training in competitive biking, Anna needed to adjust to her Aeta co-stars particularly lead performers Garry Cabalic and Joan de la Cruz in “Paglipay.”
“It’s Garry’s first time to face the camera so Direk Zig told me to adjust to him. We had to undergo an acting workshop as I needed to get to know him better so he can feel comfortable when we start shooting,” she recalled.
So what was their scenes like when the cameras started rolling?
“At first, Garry was quite shy and could not make eye to eye contact. We thought this might be a problem as almost all of my scenes are with him. So during the shoot, me and Manel Sevidad who plays my character’s best friend asked him to talk about himself until it got to a point where he also started calling us, ‘Bes’.”
Aside from “Paglipay,” she is also a cast member of Ralston Jover’s street children drama, “Hamog” as well as Kip Oebanda’s law school comedy-drama, “Bar Boys.”
These numerous big screen exposure should further boost her visibility factor. As we continue to see more of Anna Luna in the days to come, there’s nowhere else for her to go but up.