Sanctuary Director and Texas Filmmaker Kayla Abuda Galang Wins Special Jury Award at SXSW

Texas filmmaker Kayla Abuda Galang, the Filipino-born, U.S.-raised filmmaker known for dynamic, character-driven stories that explore themes of home, family, and belonging, received the SXSW 2023 Special Jury Award in the Texas Shorts category for her most recent film When You Left Me On That Boulevard. The SXSW award (which was adjudicated by filmmakers Angie Reza Tures and Iliana Sosa and the Festival Director of the Hill Country Film Festival, Amy Miskovsky) comes on the heels of her win of the Grand Jury Prize for the Short Film Program at this year’s 2023 Sundance Film Festival with the same film.

When You Left Me On That Boulevard, written and directed by Kayla Abuda Galang, centers on a day in the life of a young Fillipino-American teen in the year 2006. As her boisterous family prepares a Thanksgiving meal, she sneaks out and smokes with her cousins. Returning home to a house full of food, booming laughter and karaoke, the teen’s inward, awkward struggle to navigate a new crush and her overbearing aunties comes to a tragicomic head.

Watch the teaser for When You Left Me On That Boulevard

“Kayla is one of those unique talents that is able to tell a story simply, sincerely and with such authenticity that you feel as if you’re in the story with her characters,” says Preston Lee, Sanctuary’s Founder and MD. “Every choice she makes in her film conveys that she’s not only an incredibly talented director but also an awesome person who cares deeply about how her story gets told. On top of all of that, she’s f@$king hysterical and we’re lucky to get to work with her!”

Born in Olongapo City, Philippines and raised in San Diego and Houston, Kayla Abuda Galang’s work is informed by the beauty and idiosyncrasies of growing up a second-generation Filipino-American. Along with the awards for this latest film, her 2021 short  Learning Tagalog With Kayla premiered at SXSW, received an Audience Award, and went on to screen at festivals such as Palm Springs, Indie Memphis, Encounters, and Reel Asian. Kayla Abuda Galang is currently working on two feature films.

“I want to extend all my love and gratitude to the jury at SXSW for receiving this film so warmly, and to the programmers for featuring it with so many great Texas-rooted films in the new Texas Shorts category this year,” said the Texas-bred filmmaker. “Most of all, I want to thank my Austin and San Diego communities. Every film is a miracle and we truly made one together.”

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