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Lilet Never Happened: The Saga of Child Prostitution in the Philippines

Lilet Never Happened
Lilet Never Happened, a Dutch-Filipino production filmed in 2012, scooped the Best Youth Film honors at the 2013 Copenhagen International Film Festival.

The movie, entirely shot in Manila, centered on the plight of Lilet, a 15-year-old maladjusted Filipino-American street-girl who is prostituted by her mother and stepfather.

“Once upon a time there was a girl in the Philippines named Snow White. But one day, her mother and stepfather made her eat a poisoned apple,” opened the film trailers. Lilet aptly depicts the malady that forces helpless families to drive their family members to unheard-of activities—including prostituting their own children.

International social worker Claire entered the scene on a bid to rescue the young girl to safety but her efforts proved fruitless. Though Lilet was given many opportunities to redeem herself, she stubbornly chose the hard way. The film is based on interviews with Lilet, a little girl, who became Manila’s most famous child prostitute (
The blog writes: "It has truly captured the real picture of poverty in the Philippines and how this practice of pimping children to rich men has become a culture that is so sad, yet so real."

In his interview with Philippine Star, the film’s director Jacco Grown was  “very happy to see that there are a lot of young people watching the film.”

“Lilet Never Happened is made for the younger audience, you need to reach the new generation who will say enough is enough, we cannot accept this anymore in a society that we call civilized. With this movie we really hope to raise awareness about the sad reality of child prostitutes not only in the Philippines, but all over the world,” he continued.

Sandy Talag convincingly portrayed Lilet’s character. She was already featured in the movies Bahay kubo: A Pinoy mano po! and Seance.

Completing the cast were seasoned actor John Arcilla, Marife Necesito and Dutch actress Johanna Ter Steege.

The film already competed in over 22 international film festivals last 2012, including the Warsaw International Film Festival (Poland), International Film Festival India, Moscow International Film Festival, Zlin Film Festival for Children and Youth (Czech Republic), Zanzibar International Film Festival (Tanzania) and the Kristiansand International Youth Film Festival (Norway), where it also won the prize for Best Youth film 2013.

Lilet Never Happened is set to hit local cinemas this December. 

Watch the trailer here:


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