Clara Benin joins Sony Music’s new Southeast Asian label

PHILIPPINE singer-songwriter Clara Benin has signed on with Sony Music Entertainment’s new Southeast Asian label, OFFMUTE. The label “offers emerging artists from across all genres a dedicated platform to pursue their own creative vision. The new label will support Southeast Asian artists in amplifying their music and building a strong pan-regional audience base through enhanced promotional, marketing and artist development, drawn from Sony Music’s global expertise and resources,” a press release explains. Signed alongside Benin are Indonesian alt-pop singer Mezzaluna and Malaysian recording star Liesl-mae. Clara Benin has amassed more than 25 million streams on combined music platforms Spotify and YouTube, and has headlined local and international music festivals, and won multiple awards including Wishclusive Contemporary Folk Performance of the Year for her song “I Rose up Slowly.” Singer-songwriter Mezzaluna, who comes from strong musical lineage, is known for her “deep, soulful vocals and an intensely personal storytelling style.” She will be releasing her debut single this year, which OFFMUTE will be amplifying across the region. Malaysia’s Liesl-mae is “making waves in the Malaysian music scene with her soothing, almost-lullaby-like tunes.” For details on OFFMUTE and its artists, visit

Five Films For Freedom now available via British Council

FIVE Films for Freedom, the world’s largest LGBTIQ+ digital campaign, is now available to watch on British Council’s global digital networks until Mar. 28. This year’s five short films from India, Spain, Sweden, the USA, and the UK explore emerging sexuality, trans-activism, homophobia, and genderless love. The films are free to view on British Council’s Arts YouTube channel. The British Council in the Philippines is partnering with the Film Development Council of the Philippines to bring this festival to audiences in the country. In the Philippines, Five Films for Freedom was viewed 7,000 times last year, premiering online a week after the country was placed under lockdown. This year’s campaign acknowledges that links between global LGBTIQ+ communities may have been adversely impacted by restrictions arising from COVID-19. In response, the campaign asks audiences to share the films widely using the hashtag #FiveFilmsForFreedom. Viewers are also invited to vote for their Five Films Favorite on the Five Films For Freedom homepage and select the film that resonates most for them via a web poll. The winning film will be announced on British Council social media channels prior to Mar. 28. The Five Films For Freedom 2021 are: Bodies of Desire (India), Indian poet Panikar’s work is the basis for this visual, poetic film capturing four sets of lovers in a sensual celebration of genderless love and desire; Land of the Free (Sweden) follows David and friends as they celebrate his birthday with a swim at the beach but the good mood swiftly changes after two straight couples walk by and laugh; Pure (USA) is about a young Black girl grappling with her queer identity and ideas of “purity”; Trans Happiness is Real (UK) is a documentary about transgender activists take to the streets of Oxford, England to fight anti-trans sentiments using the power of graffiti and street art; and, Victoria (Spain) which follows a bittersweet reunion between a trans woman and her ex, sparking tension and long buried resentment. Some films may contain nudity or sexual elements. Viewer discretion is advised.