World Premiere of "Diwa" at 21st Dances with Films

The award winning short, “Diwa” will make a world premiere at the 21st Dances with Films screening on Saturday, June 9th at 5pm, at the historic TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood. Dances with Films is an annual Academy Awards qualifying festival.

Diwa POSTER (Foam Core).jpg

Filipina actress and filmmaker Aina Dumlao stars in the award winning short film, Diwa which centers around a young undocumented immigrant by the same name. Diwa comes to America in search of a better life and to help her family in the Philippines, the most popular way, sending money back home.

As is most often the case, life isn’t always greener on the other side and Diwa faces the harsh reality of living in America as an immigrant who becomes exploited by her employer and then falls victim to a broken immigration system.

Aina Dumlao as Diwa

Aina Dumlao as Diwa

Aina Dumlao and her business partner (Undercurrent Films) and husband, Bru Muller both share directing, writing and producing credits for this beautifully told film. Dumlao was initially inspired to write Diwa by her uncle who spent over 3 decades as an overseas worker and barely saw his own family. When his wife passes away from cancer, he is out at sea, working to pay for their mounting medical bills. Aina hopes that Diwa” will “give voice to the hopes, dreams and struggles of the millions of undocumented immigrants who come to America, desperate to carve out better lives for themselves and their loved ones.”

Aina Dumlao is compelling as Diwa. In the first three minutes of the film, without any dialogue, she transports you into Diwa’s heavily burdened life which is full of frustration, internal and external struggles and exhaustion. The cinematography beautifully captures the spirit of the film and the music was absolutely moving.

"Diwa" also stars Leslie Thurston, Maria Pallas, Seli M. Rose, Shaw Jones, Jeremy Andorfer-Lopez and Eddie Martinez.

You can show your support by attending the screening. For more information, you can head to

Check out my personal thoughts on the film here

Here's a look at the trailer: