NEW YORK — “Area,” a drama about aging prostitutes coping with social and economic challenges, screened this month at the 7th Queen’s World Film Festival and won for actress Ai- Ai delas Alas, a comedian, the best female actor award. “Area” was one of 130 films from around the world which screened at the 7th edition of the festival held at the New York Museum of the Moving Image and the historic Kaufman Theater. It was directed by indie filmmaker Louie Ignacio. “A short distance from the city’s red-light district is Area, a neighborhood of brothels where over-the-hill sex workers can be had for a can of sardines or even on credit,” says the film’s synopsis. “During its heyday, Area had up to 700 brothels servicing thousands of lowincome men, hormonally active boys and society misfits–all taking advantage of the bargain price of sex available only at Area. One of the last remaining brothels is operated by Ben, whose family of former pimps and subversives depends on the brothel for survival. Hillary, one of the sex workers, keeps her life savings to fulfill a dream to travel to the United States to find a son she lost during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Hillary’s world collapses when her money is stolen and Ben refuses to file charges, because the suspect is a village watchman whom Ben cannot afford to displease. The story happens during the Holy Week, when the residents of Area perform rituals of penitence to wash away their sins and be ready for another year of business as usual.” The particular thrust of the Queen’s Film Festival is to champion cinema produced from around the world and to connect further to the borough of Queens which has one of the most racially diverse demographics in New York. Consul General Theresa Dizon- De Vega congratulated Ignacio for the successful screening of his film and for the award garnered by the film’s lead actress. In a meeting, she shared the Consulate’s Philippine promotion efforts including the annual “Sinehan sa Summer” held at the Philippine Center in New York every August and individual special film screenings as well as promotion of Philippine films being screened in events in the Northeast. Ai-Ai delas Alas is known as the “Philippine Queen of Comedy” and “Comedy Concert Queen.” Her 2003 movie “Ang Tanging Ina” was a comedy which became one of the highest grossing films it resulted in a TV sitcom spin-off. The movie had three sequels with very catchy titles: “Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat,” “Ang Tanging Ina Mo (Last na ‘To!),” and “Enteng Ng Ina Mo.” Adopted and raised by an unmarried aunt after her parents died, Delas Alas has a Mass Communication degree from Far Eastern University. She did standup comedy in clubs around Manila before she became an actress. She was married two times – to actor Miguel Vera and later to FilAm businessman Jed Salang, a marriage that lasted only a month. She has three children. Delas Alas has a production company called MEDA Productions, which is the acronym of her name Martina Eileen de las Alas. Ignacio’s film “Area” was accepted at the 41st Cleveland International Film Festival to be held from March 29 to April 2 and at the 15th Boston International Film Festival from April 13 to 17, 2017. It won a Special Jury Prize at the Eurasia International Film Festival in Almary, Kazakhstan in 2016. Ignacio, the director, is known also as an artist who has exhibited his paintings in group shows.