Norwegian-Filipino actor in Cine Europe's opening film

- It’s nice to know that my movie is living its own life in festivals abroad. And especially wonderful that it has reached my father’s home country, says the Norwegian-Filipino actor Hermann Sabado. Learn more about the talented actor.

Hermann Sabado is born in Norway. His mother is Norwegian and his father is originally from Imus in Cavite. He recalls celebrating the Filipino national Independence Day as a little boy, although he has only visited the country once. However, his visit to the Philippines in 2004 was a good experience, as he learnt to know more about the Filipino culture and his family.

He might still have a rather unfamiliar name in the Philippines, but has acquired increased attention in the theatre and movies scenes in Norway.

Sabado is now of current interest due to his lead role in the movie “Upperdog” which will be Norway’s contribution in the 15th Cine Europe Film Festival Philippines. In fact it will be the opening film of the festival screened at Shang Cineplex 7.45 PM September 5.


The character Axel is adopted into a wealthy family in NorwayThe character Axel is adopted into a wealthy family in Norway

Filipino films in the future?

- The acting was just a hobby that turned out to become my career, says Sabado, which is a busy guy these days.

He currently rehearses for a play by Henrik Ibsen called “Peer Gynt” at the National theatre in Oslo, that will run this autumn. A role in another movie is also on his door steps.  But despite his tight schedule, he is not unfamiliar with the thought of acting in a Filipino movie in the future.

 - It would have been very fun to travel to the Philippines and work with Filipino film directors, he says. 

Inspiration from movies

- I’ve watched all too few Filipino movies, but I think there are many, which probably have other stories than the ones important to us here in Norway. And that’s always interesting, reflects Sabado.

The last good movie he watched was “Shame” by Steve McQueen, where Michael Fassbender did an excellent role, he tells us.

- But this can change any time. Maybe tomorrow I’ll watch another movie with other actors that are more inspiring.


There were some challenges playing the character Axel, says Sabado. 
Photo: Norsk Filmdistribusjon.There were some challenges playing the character Axel, says Sabado. Photo: Norsk Filmdistribusjon

The Upperdog

Sabado has one of the lead roles in the movie where he plays Axel, a Vietnamese boy that was adopted into a wealthy Norwegian family. He is consequently spoiled, and has difficulties binding in relationships. His half-sister, on the other hand, also adopted into a Norwegian family, enjoys less material wealth than Axel. After having been separated, unaware about the other’s fate, they are finally reunited as adults.

- It was challenging to play Axel. He was supposed to be repulsive, mean to women, thus several of the scenes where demanding for many of the actors. But challenges are good, though, Sabado says. - You grow by challenges.

The movie is directed by the renowned director Sara Johnson which has received several nominations and awards for the film.

- I’m proud to have been a part of the team producing this film. I have huge respect for Sara Johnson and the other actors.

Wish to come back to the Philippines

- I always want to travel to the Philippines, and dream about it often. I would like to visit my family again, and to see more of the country. It’s just hard to find time, says Hermann Sabado.


Photo: Norsk Filmdistribusjon.Photo: Norsk Filmdistribusjon

It might take some time before you can meet this talented actor in the Philippines or even watch Hermann Sabado in a Filipino movie, however, the movie “Upperdog” will be screened in Manila from September 5 – 16, in Cebu September 21-23, and in Mindanao September 28-30. Don’t miss this opportunity.

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Did You Know?

The 15th edition of the Cine Europa Film Festival will open with a splash at Shangri-La Plaza on 5 September including a performance by the Manila String Quartet, a painting exhibition by local artists and the screening of the movie "Upperdog" to mark the inclusion for the first time of a movie from Norway. To mark its fifteenth year Cine Europa will draw on its collaboration with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) to double the number of Film Festival locations from three to six. Cine Europa 15 is organised by the European Union Cultural Group in Manila which gathers together the Embassies and Cultural Institutes of the European Union. The Embassies of Norway and Switzerland, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the Independent Film Cooperative, the Shangri-La Plaza Mall (Manila), Arts Council of Cebu and Liceo de Cagayan de Oro (Mindanao) are Partners of Cine Europa 15. Julian Vassallo, Political Counsellor at the European Union Delegation to the Philippines said that: ‘Cine Europa 15 is first and foremost and opportunity for Filipinos to enjoy a taste of Europe's particular cinematic traditions. It is also an opportunity for us Europeans to wear our heart on our sleeve and share our hopes, fears and dreams with our Filipino friends.’ Source: Press release