Premiere of ‘1521: The Quest for Love and Freedom’ celebrates Filipino history in Las Vegas

Photos courtesy of Vic Esquivel

Las Vegas – The enchanting aura of Las Vegas was adorned with Filipino culture and history as hundreds gathered at the South Point Cinemark Century Theater for the premiere of “1521: The Quest for Love and Freedom.” This groundbreaking film, premiering across the United States, brings to life the story of Datu Lapulapu and his courageous warriors who valiantly defended their land against Spanish invaders in the historic Battle of Mactan in April 1521.

The film’s producer, Francis Lara Ho, had a profound vision for this project. He expressed, “We didn’t want to make just another movie about the Battle of Mactan. Instead, we sought to craft a beautiful love story between Diwata and Lorenzo, the heart and soul of the film.”

“1521: The Quest for Love and Freedom” transports viewers to the pre- Spanish colonial era in the Philippines. The narrative unfolds through the eyes of Lapu-Lapu, portrayed by actor and director Michael Copon. It delves into a passionate love affair between Diwata, played by the award- winning actress Bea Alonzo, and Lorenzo, portrayed by actor Hector David Jr., a Spanish soldier under the command of Ferdinand Magellan, played by the seasoned actor Danny Trejo. It is important to note that the film is a work of historical fiction, blending real events with imaginative storytelling.

The timing of the premiere is significant, as October marks Filipino American History Month. Filipino American organizations in the Las Vegas area rallied to support the movie, celebrating their heritage and the contributions of Filipinos to American history.

Jacque de Joya, President of the National Federation of Filipino American Association Nevada chapter, highlighted the importance of this event: “With Filipino Americans being the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) group in Las Vegas, this event contributes to the city’s commitment to cultural awareness, unity, and intercultural dialogue and understanding.”

Photos courtesy of Vic Esquivel

Gloria T. Caoile, Event Coordinator, echoed these sentiments, saying, “It is heartwarming to see such a large turnout. The acceptance of this event and its recognition as culturally important contributes to the unity and diversity that we are trying to promote within the vibrant tapestry of Las Vegas.”

Sonny Vinuya, Director of Outreach for Southern Nevada from the Office of Governor Joe Lombardo, emphasized the film’s role in challenging stereotypes and increasing awareness of Filipino American history: “Our exposure to Filipino American heroes is limited, so I am glad this film dispels stereotypes and showcases the rich history and culture of the Filipino community.”

As “1521: The Quest for Love and Freedom” graces the screens of Las Vegas and beyond, it serves as a testament to the resilience and love that transcends borders and time. This captivating film not only entertains but also educates and inspires, shedding light on a pivotal chapter of history that deserves recognition.

For those eager to experience this cinematic masterpiece, be sure to check your local listings for showtimes. Don’t miss the opportunity to embark on a journey through history and love, courtesy of this remarkable Filipino- American production.


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