By Eric Borromeo

Congratulations! Indeed, your wide screen comeback is indeed a wonderful experience.

The Best Actress and Direk Elwood Perez, the film fest's chairman of the Board of Judges                Actress and TV host Gelli de Belen’s first official foray in the indie film scene is via the short film Si Tita Ang Nanay ko, one of the six short films in the Anak OFW Film Festival which held its free screening last Dec. 10 in SM Megamall Cinema 12. And true enough, her decision to accept the role was indeed, a major comeback. The other night’s awarding ceremony, she won best actress for the role (a tie with Rich Asuncion for the movie A Better Life).

                For Gelli, it was an entirely new experience since the last movie she did was some 15 years ago. “Malaki ang difference ng indie sa regular film. Iba yung feel. Iba yung artistic freedom. Wala nang film ngayon, at yun ang maganda, kasi hindi ako natataranta. Kasi noon pag umandar na yung makina ng camera, kailangan magawa ko na ito kasi sayang yung negatibo… puwede kang mag-experiment, puwedeng  ‘Ay, isa pa!’ Nakakapanibago din pala. Mas relax ako,” said the ever bubbly actress during the press junket of the said film festival.Gelli

              Although she has been offered an indie project a year ago, which she turned down because of its very mature content, the actress did not hesitate to accept this project because of its advocacy; that is honoring and giving importance to modern day heroes: the OFWs.

             Gelli admitted that she missed acting in front of the camera. She jokingly said that it could have been the producers that forgot that she can still act.

             “Kung ano yung ginagawa ko noon, puwede ko pa rin namang gawin ngayon. Yung something na more interesting. Kahit ano puwede. Huwag lang yung sobrang… If I am going to devote time here, might as well do something na interesting,” she  added.

             But the actress set personal limitations on the roles she would be playing. She also has to consult her husband, singer-actror Ariel Rivera on certain projects. Gelli also has to put in top consideration her family.

             “With regards how daring the role is, depende pa rin yun.  Huwag lang yung hindi mapapanood ng anak ko,” she stressed.  “Pag alam ko na medyo tagilid ng konti, ikukuwento ko sa kanya (Ariel). May nag-offer na din sa akin before, pero it’s always my kids. What if they watch this movie, or their classmates. Mahirap din na niloloko din sila. No regrets din naman,” she said.

              Noticeably, Gelli is still sexy and beautiful, and members of the press noted she seem not to aged a bit. Her simple secret: Happiness.

              “Kailangan palaging happy. I am in a happy disposition. Yung happy ka sa buhay, sa pamilya mo, sa mga anak mo, malaking bagay yon. Tapos nakaka-add on doon kung nag-aalaga ka din ng sarili mo. Siyempre at my age, hindi na puwede yung papetiks-petiks na lang. You really have to make an effort,” she shared.

               After her good experience with Si Tita Ang Nanay Ko, the actress said she is very open in doing more indie movies. “If the project naman is really interesting, why not?” Gelli said in closing.

            Anak OFW Film Fest was organized by the indie filmmaker Jenny ‘JP’ Ninalga in cooperation with IMPACT Creative Organization for Development & Empowerment, Inc., Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrant Itinerants-Catholic Bishop of the Philippines, and other government and private partners. The filmfest showcased heartwarming short films about OFWs experiences, aimed on the advocacy of the children and the families they left behind. With the support from SM Cinemas, the films will be toured and be shown nationwide.

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