MILLBURN, NJ - Millburn High School’s Eliza Tagle is stretching the boundaries of Millburn/Short Hills all the way to the Philippines. One of only nine entries selected, Tagle’s School Girls promises to mesmerize students, parents, and faculty in attendance at the Millburn Film Festival.
The film follows the difficult lives of two girls (Monica and Jeanalyn) in Macato, Philippines. The two serve a family as household help, in exchange for room and board, supplies, and an allowance that they will need to complete high school. Although Tagle herself does not face these struggles on a daily basis, she was able to connect with the two school girls.
“I’m the same ethnicity as them and the same age as them. We’re the same height. Our families speak the same language” said Tagle. “And yet, I get the better education and in the future I get a better job, make a better living, because of the better opportunities I have in America.”
Tagle learned about the two girls over the past summer. She was visiting her grandparents in their Macato. Quickly realizing the surplus of cultural differences between the United States and the Philippines, she felt the need to record her observations. She then immersed herself in the daily lives of Monica and Jeanalyn, documenting their work, education, and somewhat western style social life.
Tagle though, was not just excited to shed light on these two resilient teens, but also on Filipino culture as a whole.
“Many times the stories of my culture is overlooked in a lot of media” Tagle said. “To have it shown as a film I feel especially grateful to be able to depict my culture and to show the Filipino life. It shows a fresh idea, a new perspective. The media always shows poverty in one way. But to see it in a different culture, and in people my age is different. It’s important.”