Fil-Am Creative and Lionsgate celebrate Blindspotting with a screening of latest episode featuring Fil-Am actors

By Oliver Carnay

Bianca Nepales Gervacio, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Lionsgate, and Lionsgate brought together members of both the entertainment and Filipino community on Friday, April 28th in celebration of Starz’ hit show, Blindspotting, featuring a screening of its latest episode. Ep 204, By Hook or by Crook, highlights Filipino-American actress April Absinth, (“Jacque”) as she introduces her boyfriend to her father, played by Filipino-American veteran and Hook star, Dante Basco. The episode also features Ruby Ibarra, a Filipina scientist turned rapper, and Chuti Tiu as Jacque’s relatives. The episode gives viewers a glimpse into the Bay Area Filipino community, one deeply familiar to Blindspotting’s co-creators and showrunners, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. 

Fil-Am audience members attend a screening and panel for Episode 204 of BLINDSPOTTING

Rafael said in the Q&A panel, “For us, it was hard to find other reference points of Filipino-American content that’s being made. We don’t have the credibility to do a whole show on it, but maybe we can just expose people a little bit more to a community that I feel doesn’t get a lot of shine on television, but played a huge role in all of our lives.” Blindspotting sparks numerous conversations about gentrification, class war, and the prison industrial complex all through the lens of its leads, played by Jasmine Cephas Jones, Candace Nicholas-Lippman, Jaylen Barron, Benjamin Turner, and Helen Hunt. Rafael added, “hopefully the episode creates a reference point for other Filipino-American creators” to make more material.

Yong Chavez moderates a panel featuring Fil-Am, April Absynth, actress, Jess Wu-Calder, Producer and Director, Lance Holloway, Actor, and Rafael Casal, Showrunner, Writer and Actor, in the Starz series, BLINDSPOTTING.

The screening was hosted by Bianca Nepales Gervacio, and moderated by Yong Chavez, a member of Hollywood Critics Association, Critics Choice, and the Golden Globes, planted seeds for the idea. “At the second season premiere, I brought Mark Labella, 2023’s FilAm Creative’s Executive Director, as my guest, and after working the red carpet we spoke with Daveed and Rafa, who immediately said yes when I mentioned doing a screening/panel for the community.” 

FilAm Creative Executive Director, Mark Labella, at the Blindspotting event uplifting Filipino Americans on screen

Mark Labella says, “As soon as Yong introduced me to Diggs, I started to connect the dots and blurted out how important this is for the Fil-Am community. We had to glorify this piece. There are very few Filipino stories and representation in American media today despite being the country’s second-largest AAPI population. One of our Directors at FilAm Creative, Christian Bustamante, was the Casting Associate for Season 1. Together, we contacted Bianca Gervacio at Lionsgate who really championed the idea. Yong, Bianca, and Christian have raised the tide for this event, our operating motto at FilAm Creative, and we have so much to thank them for. Joel Handler and Drea Castro, and the FilAm Creative team as well.”

Fil-Am Creative (FAC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit supporting Filipino American and AAPI artists for thirteen years. It promotes a more culturally integrated and diverse entertainment industry by providing educational and community-oriented programming and resources. 

Learn more about FilAm Creative @filamcreative @facfilmfestival @facliveevents