Mike Downey

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Lilet Never Happened

Lilet Never Happened

The drama script is based on the real life story of a child prostitute in Manila who, having reached the end of her possibilities, attempts suicide as a desperate way out of her terrible life.

Her story is very much the story of the more than one million other children working in the global commercial sex trade today.

In 1998, Jacco Groen visited the Philippines to research a documentary. There, he met the real life Lilet in a psychiatric institution. Lilet is a child prostitute. Because she is part Western-part Filipina, she is a very popular child prostitute amongst Western pedophiles. Lilet tells Jacco that she has tried to commit suicide: "Everyone is only interested in my body and no one is interested in me as a person". Later on, when Jacco tries to contact Lilet again, she is nowhere to be found. Lost without a trace. Deeply moved by Lilet’s story, Jacco decides to write a script for a feature film called "Lilet Never Happened". With the film he wants to raise awareness for the problem of child prostitution and the crime that comes with it.


  • EFCA Award, Kristiansand International Children's Film Festival, Kristiansand, Norway, 2013
  • Golden Castle Award for Best Film, Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema, 2013
  • ASPI Award, Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema, Bellinzona, Switzerland, 2013
  • Buster's Youth Jury Award, Buster International Children's Film Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2013
  • Nominated for Best Dutch Film, Cinekid Film Award, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2013
  • Nominated Best European Debut Film, Zlín International Film Festival for Children and Youth, Zlín, Czech Republic, 2013
  • Nominated Grand Prix, Warsaw International Film Festival, Warsaw, Poland, 2013
Lilet Never Happened