In the spirit of Romeo Candido’s feature film debut Lolo’s Child, celebrating its 20-year anniversary at Reel Asian, and the groundbreaking nature of the water buffalo (Kalabaw) of the Philippines, the Kalabaw Bursary is a grant to help a storyteller who is almost at the finish line. The grant will be awarded through Reel Asian to an emerging Filipinx media artist with a strong voice, clear vision, artistic approach and a story to tell.

Prize: $5,000 CAD



  • Must identify as Filipinx-Canadian (Canadian citizen or permanent resident) 
  • Must have a project in production
  • Must submit a one-pager for the project (logline, synopsis, stage of production), rough budget of fund, and 5 mins of the shot footage
  • Must have not completed a feature film

Submit your application by June 1 to kalabaw@reelasian.com


Applications will be reviewed by Romeo Candido and a small jury of filmmakers and artists.

Award recipient may have the opportunity to premiere work at the 2023 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (subject to review), with full festival accreditation.



  • Open call: April 1
  • Submissions due: June 1
  • Recipient announced on June 30 

Listen to this Backstory Podcast episode with Romeo Candido as he speaks with Amanda Parris during the 26th Reel Asian Film Festival. Candido reflects on his career, how BIPOC film communities supported him when no one else did, and his hopes for the future with this Kalabaw Bursary. 

2023 Kalabaw Jury

Romeo Candido
Writer, Director, and Musician

Romeo Candido is a writer, composer, director and showrunner. TV writing credits include Another Life (Netflix) and Son Of A Critch (CBC). As a television director credits include Circuit Breakers (Apple TV), Workin’ Moms (CBC), This Hour Has 22 Minutes (CBC), Popularity Papers (BBC), Second Jen (Rogers). As a showrunner, The Next Step (BBC) and the award winning 10 part musical series Topline (CBC GEM), which he served as creator, director and composer. Feature film credits include Lolo’s Child, Ang Pamana: The Inheritance and Prison Dancer: The Interactive Musical.

Shasha Nakhai
Director, Producer, Compy Films

Shasha is a storyteller whose work has taken her to the Hawaiian coastline, the ski slopes of Davos, a Cold War bunker, the engine room of a decaying ship, Philippine sugar mills and the front lines of Nigeria’s energy crisis.

Her work has aired on the BBC, CBC, ZDF, and Arte; screened at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); been nominated for 16 Canadian Screen Awards; named TIFF’s Top 10; and shortlisted for an Oscar.

With over a decade of experience in documentary, Shasha recently released her first drama feature, Scarborough, adapted from the award-winning novel by Catherine Hernandez, and co-directed with Compy Films partner Rich Williamson.

Martin Edralin

Martin Edralin is a Toronto-based filmmaker. His first short film, Hole (2014), won the Grand Prize at Clermont-Ferrand, jury prizes at Locarno and Seattle, and screened at Sundance, TIFF, and BFI London. His second short, Emma (2016), was selected in TIFF Canada’s Top Ten and won Best Live Action Short at the Rhode Island IFF. His debut feature, Islands (2021), premiered at SXSW and was awarded Special Jury Recognition.

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