This was another surprise the QCinema festival had up its sleeve. I was in a bad mood. I just had a horrendous cab journey through Manila traffic. A typhoon was approaching Luzon and I was still jetlagged. It was too hot outside – and too cold inside the Trinoma mall: the air-condition at the Gloria Maris venue was set to freezing. “This better be good” I thought to myself.
And it was! I forgot all about the chilled air-con blasting down my neck as I absorbed Andrew’s lively account of how he tracked down Filipino action movie star Ernesto de la Cruz, also known as Weng Weng. Ernesto is listed as the shortest action movie star of all times by the Guinness Book of World Records: he was 83 cm tall.
Weng Weng was Agent 00 – aka the Filipino James Bond and starred in 11 feature films. Andrew Leavold, a big fan of Filipino movies, went on a search to find out what happened to Weng Weng.
In his talk about ‘The search for Weng Weng’ Andrew shows how a documentary filmmaker can successfully navigate archives, public and private, to uncover what happened to Ernesto de la Cruz.
Weng Weng, we learn, died of a heart attack in less glamourous circumstance. The promised support by the producers of production company Liliw never realized according to Ernesto de la Cruz’ brother. It is because of Andrew Leavold that Weng Weng is brought back into the limelight. His film is a touching tribute to the shortest action movie star of all times.