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It has almost been two decades since Anna Gianelli “Gelli” de Belen-Rivera, who is professionally known as Gelli de Belen, starred in a film. Currently starring as the aunt of Daniel Padilla’s character in the ABS-CBN show “La Luna Sangre,” she is looking forward to making a comeback on the big screen.

During a sit-down interview on Aug. 24, at Limbaga 77 Café Restaurant in Quezon City, de Belen did not hesitate to say yes when I asked her if she was willing to do indie films. What she wanted, she said, is just a good project. 

De Belen does not have to be the main star in the film, she said. Since she waited for many years before returning to the big screen, she said she wants to make sure the role is challenging and is worth the wait.

The last film de Belen starred in was “Mahal Kita, Walang Iwanan,” which was released on Feb. 9, 2000. Her co-stars in the romantic drama film were her best friend Aiko Melendez and Jomari Ylanna, Melendez’s former husband.

(Gelli de Belen, Conan Altatis, Aiko Melendez)

“Mahal Kita, Walang Iwanan” written by Wali Ching and directed by Maryo J. de los Reyes. It also starred Marita Zobel, Ama Quiambao, Arlene Tolibas, Estrella Antonio, Flora Gasser, Cezar Xerez-Burgos, Ester Chavez, Winnie Cordero, Lucita Soriano, Ramil Rodriguez, Gerald Lauron, Lui Manansala, Israel Salonga, Elmer Andres, Lauro Delgado Jr., Poppo Lontoc and Eugene Domingo, among others.

After “Mahal Kita, Walang Iwanan,” de Belen starred in one short film and one advocacy film about AIDS opposite her husband Ariel Rivera. Aside from this, she has yet to star in another full-length film.

In 1995, de Belen won the Best Actress award at the Gawad Urian for her portrayal of the title role in “The Secrets of Sarah Jane: Sana’y Mapatawad Mo,” which was also directed by de Los Reyes. Among her co-stars were Yllana, Candy Pangilinan, Al Tantay, Melissa Mendez, Richard Gomez and Karla Estrada, the mother of Padilla.

Watch a clip from my interview with de Belen here: 





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