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Docu on Azkal Simone Rota gets grade A and wins in Italian filmfest

“Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story,” a documentary that is part of the 2018 Sinag Maynila Film Festival, has received a grade of “A” from the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB). The docu also received the Audience Prize at the European Philippine International Film Festival held in Florence, Italy.

“Journeyman Finds Home” film director Albert Almendralejo, Marilena Rota (mother of Simone Rota), Buklod Kalinga benefactor Roberto Innocenti, and Maurizio Rota (father of Simone Rota) at the European Philippine International Film Festival 

“Journeyman…” tells of the struggles of footballer Simone Rota, an Italian with Filipino roots who returned to the Philippines to join the Philippine Men’s National Team (the Azkals) and search for his biological mother. The docu is by directors Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga, and is supported by Davao Aguilas FC, the professional club that Rota plays for.

Program host Alvin Anson and Maurizio Baldini, director of the European Philippine International Film Festival (EPIFF), announce that “Journeyman Finds Home” had won the Audience Prize.

The CEB applauded the film for its exceptional subject, inspirational message and truthful narrative. In its summation, the CEB declared, “’Journeyman Finds Home…’ is convincing without frills, and there are too few films on soccer hereabouts not to give it the highest incentive.”


One of the biggest strengths of “Journeyman” is its ability to communicate how Rota refused to give up in the face of adversity. As CEB reviewers further noted, “Rota’s story becomes an inspiration for all abandoned kids, as well as a sampler on the mixed composition of the Azkals team, and the difficulties of adjusting to a new culture. His search for his biological parents, coupled with his serious injuries, only steeled his determination to succeed.” All things considered, the CEB called “Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story “a fine brace of a documentary.”

Directors Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga thanked the CEB for the recognition and said the seal of approval is a boost for their film and for Filipino documentarists. “The CEB grade validates the hard work and attention to detail during the shoot and post-production work. It is encouraging to filmmakers to enable us to venture into pioneering forms and subjects,” said Almendralejo.  “It is fulfilling for a filmmaker’s work to get a grade of ‘A.’ Three years of hard work are paying off,” said Cariaga.

Meanwhile, “Journeyman Finds Home” took home the Audience Choice Prize at the European Philippine International Film Festival (EPIFF) held in the Teatro della Compagnia located near the famous Piazza Duomo. Almendralejo was present to receive the award. The exposure in the said filmfest drew support from Italy-based Pinoys. “We have received requests from the Filipino community to screen in Rome, Milan and Venice,” Almendralejo reported.

Catch “Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story” in selected SM cinemas until March15.  SM Megamall on Thursday, March 15 at 11:30 am; SM North Edsa on Sunday, March 11 at 3:30 PM; SM Mall of Asia on Tuesday, March 13 at 11:30 am and Wednesday, March 14 at 5:45 pm; SM Manila on Monday, March 12 at 1:45 pm, and SM Southmall on Saturday, March 10 at 7:45 PM.

For updates, check out Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story on Facebook.

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