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Celeste Lapida strives to bring drag dance film to life

The transfeminine filmmaker, artist & DJ enlivens her dream of bringing unapologetic queerness to Filipino cinema

  • Samantha Nicole
  • 30 June 2021
Celeste Lapida strives to bring drag dance film to life

At a time when club doors are shut tight, creatives across dance communities have been nothing short of resourceful in keeping the music alive — particularly in the Philippines. In between producers and DJs churning out new material and the continuously bright spotlight on queer artists often at the centre stage of pre-corona raves, the love (and longing) for dancing overflows.

For filmmaker, performance artist and DJ, Celeste Lapida, it’s reimagining queerness and dance culture — and bringing it to the big screen.

Taking My Time to Dance is about Rana’s own coming of age through drag and dance. I wrote the story almost out of fear of having to question my gender more than I did when I was younger,” she shares. “With this awareness on how it’s difficult for queer people to live in the every day, Taking My Time to Dance finds a way to celebrate queerness through dance and the act of finding other queer people — a glimpse into somewhere safe, somewhere ultimately queer.”

For someone whose first movie won Best Film at the Shanghai Queer Film Festival at 16 years old and has grown up frequenting weekly club nights across the metro, Lapida‘s experience of the local dance scene and the LGBTQIA+ community are at the core of her film-to-be, which currently seeks funding to bring it to life.

“I guess with this film I can only hope that the people who’ll get to see it understand how important it is for all of us to realize our femininity and be able to celebrate it,” she notes. “A great inspiration for the script is queer people looking out for each other, and to experience exactly this while making the film can only bring that warm fuzzy feeling we queer people are very familiar with.”

The dance floor domination of trans and queer Filipino DJs may be on pause. However, relevant conversations haven’t slowed down. In fact, for Lapida, it’s only getting louder.

“It's really interesting how online broadcasts have taught us in regards to how much music brings us together. The comments section became a virtual dance floor of pseudonyms, handles, and names we use in real life where we're starting to loosen up with more people,” she explains. “The talk around queer bodies taking up space seems to be more pronounced, especially trans and feminine bodies. I can only hope more people become more aware of the importance of this to truly have progressive dance floors.”

[Images via Jack Alindahao & Facebook]

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