Young Solomon Islander actor wins prestigious Sydney film award

Regina Lepping in Honiara today

She loves movies and counts Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Denzel Washington as her favourite actors.

And now 27-year-old Regina Lepping is one step closer to becoming one of those stars.

The young actor, from Langa langa lagoon in Malaita Province and Shortland islands Western Province, won the Best female lead award for her role in the film “Blackbird” at the prestigious Sydney Indie Film Festival last month.

Speaking to SIBC, Ms Lepping said she never thought she would be exposed to the big screen, let alone win an award.

“The Director Ammie Batalibasi emailed me and said guess what Reggie, you won an award!” she said.

“I wish I was there at the time. I just imagined them announcing my name at the festival is a very big thing!.”

Regina Lepping and Jeremy Bobby as siblings Rosa and Kiko in Blackbird

Ms Lepping played a young female from Solomon Islands, Rosa, who was taken to the Australia sugar plantation with her brother as slaves.

Blackbird was nominated for three awards and, on top of Ms Lepping’s win, also won the Best Drama Film award.

The film, directed by fellow Solomon Islander Ammie Batalibasi, was inspired by the history of Australia’s sugar plantation slaves.

The film was shot in Queensland in Australia and Regina volunteered to play the role of “Rosa”.

She said it was a dream come true.

“Blackbird enabled me to be exposed to work with other professionals, like the person who is controlling the camera,” she said. “There were about seven or eight people on set.”

It also took a lot of hard work and effort, but Ms Lepping said when she put on her costume, she became Rosa.

Regina Lepping

“The minute I put on Rosa’s clothes and saw everyone else in their costumes, I just became the character,” she said. “I thank Ammie Batalibasi for giving me the opportunity, someone from Solomon Islands to have this kind of exposure.”

Ms Lepping currently works at the office of the United Nations Development Program, but wanted to continue her love for movies and film.

“My twin sister Georgiana shares my love for film, and I know other young people in the country are also interested in it,” she said. “So we have started the Honiara Film Makers group to bring interested film makers together to promote our passion for filmmaking.”

Blackbird is screening for the second time in Honiara soon.

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