Cebu Dancing Inmates-Inspired Web Series Bags Award In Toronto Reel Asian Int’l Filmfest

MANILA, Philippines - Following the footsteps of the YouTube phenomenon Cebu dancing inmates and their videos that have gone viral, the web series of the Filipino-Canadian transmedia production titled ''Prison Dancer: The Web Musical'' has began to make waves outside the internet.

The first feat of the now defunct 12-series web musical directed by Romeo Candido is bagging the Reel Asian Best Canadian Film award at the recently concluded Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival last week.

Touted as the ''largest Asian film festival in Canada,'' the 15-year-old award-giving body bestowed $2,000 to ''Prison Dancer'' for its ''unique showcase of contemporary Asian cinema and work from the Asian diaspora.''

''Prison Dancer'' recounts in faux documentary style the ''personal, poignant, hilarious, and universal'' story of six Filipino prisoners whose lives were forever changed by the dancing rehabilitation program that eventually became a worldwide viral sensation on YouTube.

Among the production's cast are YouTube stars and emerging Filipino-Canadian talents in North America like Mikey Bustos, who plays the role of Christian in the web musical. Broadway star Catherine Ricafort is also a cast member, taking took on the role of Cherish, the warden's daughter's who harbors a secret love towards Bustos' character.

Completing the cast are Jeigh Madjus, Nicco Lorenzo, Normal Alconce, and Canadian music and pop culture reporter Matt Wells who played himself in the series.

During the sold out live performance of ''Prison Dancer'' for the film fest last Nov. 9 (Canadian Time), the cast wowed the crowd with their so-called ''performative cinema,'' which involved a ''combination of video, live performance and audience participation.''

The production, which encompasses several media platforms (hence the term ''transmedia'') also counts its Broadway debut at The Theater at St. Clements as part of the 2012 New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF) last July as its other achievement.

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