Filipino actor Elijah Canlas has been named Best Actor at the recently concluded 16th Harlem International Film Festival in New York City, USA. 

Canlas was awarded the top honor for his performance in the film “Kalel, 15.”

News of the neophyte actor’s win was shared by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and IdeaFirst Company, who both offered congratulatory messages to the 20-year-old actor.

For his part, Canlas took to Twitter to thank the award-giving body as well as the entire team behind the film.

Apart from this recent recognition, Canlas’ performance in the movie also bagged him the best actor awards in the 17th Asian Film Festival held in Rome, Italy, the Gawad Urian, and the FAMAS awards – which all happened last year. 

The film “Kalel, 15” depicts the story of a teenage boy suffering from HIV as he struggles to deal with daily life alongside his dysfunctional family. It was helmed by famed Filipino director Jun Robles Lana and was co-starred by the 2016 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Jaclyn Jose.

According to the Harlem International Film Festival, it honors “dynamic films by anyone about anything under the sun.” Its panel includes top names in Hollywood like award-winning actors Susan Sarandon and Keith David, director Mira Nair, and playwright Eve Ensler.

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Image credit: IdeaFirst Company’s Official Twitter Page