The Asian-American actress will explore her Filipino heritage through a documentary set in her mother’s home country, which will be filmed in Manila and Palawan.
Many people who grew up with the High School Musical films during the mid-2000s—as well as parents who raised children or young teens at the time—are well acquainted with the star Vanessa Anne Hudgens. She rose to fame with her role as Gabriella Montez, the leading lady and love interest of main character Troy Bolton (played by Zac Efron).
Since then, Hudgens has moved on from her Disney Channel fame and made a name for herself through a variety of film and television productions.
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Recently, she starred in the Oscar-nominated musical drama Tick, Tick…Boom! Alongside Andrew Garfield, showing off her vocal chops and impressive skills as an actress. She’s also worked in an assortment of Netflix rom-coms, like The Princess Switch trilogy and The Knight Before Christmas, which are testaments to the extent of her creative range.
Now, Hudgens is taking on an entirely new and personal documentary project that will center on her relationship with her sister Stella and Filipina mother, Gina—who emigrated to the U.S. when she was 25 years old.
A Purposeful Homecoming
Hudgens will be traveling to the Philippines for the documentary, which is set to take place in both Palawan and Manila. The project will be shot in March, produced by TEN17P, and directed by Paul Soriano, whose latest credits include the 2019 film Mañanita and the Manny Pacquiao biopic Kid Kulafu.
This will be the actress’ first trip to her mother’s home country. ““I feel like ours is such a relatable story to so many women all over the world,” Hudgens said. “The more that we can share, the more we can lift each other up.”
Telling Stories That Matter
There’s been a steady rise of stories that capture Asian experiences, and the wide-acclaim of beautifully-crafted movies like Parasite, Minari, and Everything, Everywhere, All At Once have shown how important it is to see one’s personal narratives reflected on the silver screen. Hudgens’ documentary will be another addition to this growing roster of works, and is a fulfillment of her wish to tell her mother’s story—something she explicitly expressed in a 2021 interview with Glamour UK.
“My mom is from the Philippines, and growing up there weren’t really that many women who looked like me and my mom and my family on screen,” she shared in the interview. “It’s so important to share all the different stories because America is a massive melting pot, [just like the] world. There are so many different stories that need to be told so that we are exposed to them and can have more empathy towards different people.”
Banner Photo via Instagram @vanessahudgens.