The 35th Metro Manila Film Festival-Philippines Awards Night held Monday night, December 28, at the SMX Convention Center, was the fourth day of the much-awaited annual Filipino film festival. MMFFP season started with 1) announcement of the top film entries; 2) the parade of stars; 3) the opening day for movie entries on December 25; and lastly, the awards night.
For this year, there were seven official entries. These are Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love; Shake Rattle and Roll XI; Ang Panday; Ang Darling Kong Aswang; Wapakman; Nobody, Nobody but Juan; and I Love You Goodbye.
Hosted by Pops Fernandez and Paolo Bediones along with segment hosts Jake Cuenca, Rhian Ramos and Anne Curtis, the MMFFP awards night was full of glitz and glamour. With performances by Kuh Ledesma, Vina Morales, Ralph Salazar, X-trail Dancers and Ms. Lea Salonga, the night was filled with lively production numbers as well as touching speeches from the winners themselves.
At stake are 21 awards including The Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award, Most Gender Sensitive Award, 2nd Best Festival Picture, 1st Best Festival Picture, Best Festival Picture, Best Festival Director, Best Festival Actor, Best Festival Actress, Best Festival Supporting Actor, Best Festival Supporting Actress, Best Festival Child Performer, Best Festival Original Story, Best Festival Screenplay, Best Festival Cinematography, Best Festival Musical Score, Best Festival Sound Recording, Best Festival Visual Effects, Best Festival Editor, Best Festival Production Design, Best Festival Original Theme Song, Best Festival Make-Up Artist and Best Festival Float.
There are also two special awards--the Lifetime Achievement and Posthumous award-given to the industry's 'servants' in uplifting Filipino film excellence. This year's Lifetime Achievement award went to the Comedy King Dolphy. The Posthumous Award was given to Atty. Espiridion Laxa, the chair of the Film Academy of the Philippines and MMFF executive committee member who passed away last September 15, 2009.
'FIRST-TIME, SECOND TIME.' This year's MMFFP Awards night was the year of 'first-time' and 'second-time' for celebrities who have entries for the film fest. It was second time in a row for Kapuso child star Robert "Buboy" Villar. He once again bagged the Best Festival Child Performer award for his comic-sidekick role in the fantasy-adventure movie, Ang Panday. He won the same award last year for his appearance as a young aswang fighter in the horror flick Shake, Rattle & Roll X. He said in his acceptance speech: "Hello po sa inyong lahat. Unang-una po sa Panginoon. Salamat Lord! Second kay Senator Bong [Revilla Jr.], kay Sir Phillip [Salvador] at kay Direk Mac Alejandre. Para sa buong staff ng Ang Panday, para sa inyo po ito."
For veteran actor Phillip Salvador, it was his first-time in portraying a villain role for the GMA Films and Imus Production fantasy film, Ang Panday. This portrayal of a bald Lizardo earned for him his second MMFFP Best Festival Supporting Actor. He won last year for the movie Baler under Viva Films. Phillip exclaimed as he accepted the award: "All for the glory and honor of Jesus!" The actor also expressed his gratitude to showbiz colleague Bong Revilla Jr.: "Best friend, maraming salamat sa'yo. Salamat sa tiwala mo. At sa MMFF committee, wag sana kayong magsawa. Pagbubutihan ko pa."
Heart Evangelista's portrayal of a rebellious daughter for Regal Film's entry Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love, earned for her this year's Best Festival Supporting Actress plum. When asked how the Full House actress pulled off her character, she pointed out, "Being a rebellious daughter myself, marami akong mapaghuhugutan doon." In her acceptance speech, Heart shared her award to co-star Sharon Cuneta, "Thank you Sharon, you're really a Megastar! Thank you for setting me on fire."
Once again, Bong Revilla has proven that his showbiz bertud (agimat) never fails to glisten not only among moviegoers but for the MMFFP committee for choosing him as this year's Best Actor. His heroic performance of the Carlo J. Caparas' original, Ang Panday under GMA Films and Imus Productions, earned for Bong his first acting award in the annual film festival. "After so many years...Una, nagpapasalamat ako kay Lord sa lahat ng biyayang natatanggap ko. Wala na akong hihilingin pa," said Bong in his acceptance speech. He dedicated his award not only to his family but also to the late Action King, Fernando Poe Jr. Bong told the crowd: "I would like to share this award to the real Panday, ang hari ng pelikulang Pilipino, Fernando Poe Jr., and to my best friend Phillip Salvador. He's the reason why I won the award."
Sharon Cuneta won the MMFFP Best Actress award for her heartfelt rags-to-riches character in Regal Film's 6th installment of the Mano Po series.
This family drama marks many 'firsts' for the Megastar: this is Sharon's first time to work with Regal Films after a long-standing offer since the '90s. It was also her first time to work with Heart Evangelista and Dennis Trillo; her first time playing a Filipino-Chinese character and speaking Fookien; and first time to go to Beijing, China for taping. Technically, this is Sharon's first acting award for MMFFP after she won the 2003 People's Choice Award for her 'dramedic' (drama-comedy) performance in Crying Ladies under Unitel Pictures.
As she said in her acceptance speech, "Ito ang kauna-unahang MMFF best actress award ko. Maraming salamat sa MMFF, MMDA, and Regal Films. Si Mother Lily [Monteverde] after 31 years in the business dapat may award ka rin. Thank you to my co-stars. Bakit ang pinaka-effective na kontrabida ang pinakamalapit sa akin like si Shashing [her pet name for Zsa Zsa Padilla]. To the Sharonians, para po sa inyo ito. And I also dedicate this to Yaya Luring."
KING OF COMEDY'S ACCOLADE. Seasoned director for Star Cinema's entry I Love You Goodbye, Laurice Guillen presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Rodolpho Vera Quizon (more popularly known as Dolphy) that night. But before the Comedy King went up the stage, a video was shown where Senator-actor Bong Revilla Jr, comedian-host Vic Sotto and singer-actress Zsa Zsa Padilla summed up the six glorious decades of Dolphy in the field of filmmaking and television.
The King of Comedy was in high spirits as he accepted the award. "Magandang gabi. Happy New Year. Thank you Lord, isa itong magandang regalo ngayong Pasko. Marami akong dapat ipagpasalamat. Unang-una kay Antonio Villegas na nagpasimuno ng film fest na to. Inaalay ko ang award na ito sa lahat ng director, writer, staff way back when panahon pa ng Hapon.
"Nakita n'yo ang videong yun [referring to the short video presentation] para akong butiking Pasay," he said with a laugh. "Inaalay ko po ang award na ito sa lahat ng mga nakasama ko sa TV, sa radyo, sa pelikula at maging sa entablado. Inaalay ko ito sa lahat ng mga nakasama ko buhay o namatay na. Karamihan,patay na..."
In his speech, Dolphy gave his advice to celebrities on how to stay longer in the industry. "Mahirap at masarap maging artista. Mahirap na pini-pikturan ka hanggang sa kubeta. Mahirap pag nag-uumpisa ka pero mahirap pag laos ka na. Advice ko: always stay humble."
He also made it a point to thank his family who supported him in the past decades. "Inaalay ko rin ang award na ito sa mga anak lalo na sa mga nanay nila. Higit sa lahat, sa pinakamamahal kong si ShaShing [Zsa Zsa]! 65 years na ako in the business. I-treasure ko ito at baka ito na ang last award ko. Hanggang kaya ko kakayod ako at gagawa ako ng pelikula..."
For the other special award given away that night, Mano Po 6 director Joel Lamangan presented the Posthumous Award to the late Atty. Espiridion Laxa for his contributions to the film industry. Accepting the award were Tony Ferrer, Laxa's brother and daughter Robyn Prioette, MMFF EXECOM: "Thank you on behalf of our late father he has devoted most of his life to the betterment of the film industry. Thank you for accepting his work."
GATHERING OF STARS. The Function Room 4 of the SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia, Pasay City was filled with the stars of the seven film entries. Some of the celebrities present that night were Zsa Zsa Padilla, Angelica Panganiban, Derek Ramsay, Iza Calzado, Rayver Cruz, Erik Quizon, Epy Quizon, Bianca King, John Manalo, Bangs Garcia, Ciara Sotto, Megan Young, Geoff Eigenmann, John "Sweet" Lapus, and Barbie Forteza. Cristine Reyes arrived at the venue with her escort named Christian Tan.
But there were several celebrities who missed the star-studded event such as Gabby Concepcion and Kim Chiu for I Love You Goodbye; Vic Sotto and Jean Garcia for Ang Darling Kong Aswang; Dennis Trillo for Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love; Eddie Garcia, Gloria Romero, Pokwang for Nobody, Nobody but Juan; Maja Salvador, Iya Villania, Zoren Legaspi and Ruffa Gutierrez for Shake, Rattle and Roll XI; Rufa Mae Quinto, Krista Ranillo and Manny Pacquiao for Wapakman; and Ogie Alcasid who won Best Festival Original Theme song for Ang Panday's "Tanging Ikaw Lamang."
Here is the complete list of winners:
- Most Gender Sensitive award: Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love
- Gatpuno Villegas Cultural award: Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love
Best Festival Cinematography: Lee Briones Meily (I Love You Goodbye)
- Best Festival Original Theme song: "Tanging Ikaw Lamang" by Ogie Alcasid (Ang Panday)
- Best Festival Make up artist: Noel Flores (Shake, Rattle and Roll XI)
- Best Festival Visual Effects: Jay Santiago (Ang Panday)
- Best Festival Sound recording: Albert Michael Idioma (Ang Darling Kong Aswang)
- Best Festival Musical Score: Von de Guzman (Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love)
- Best Festival Film Editor: Manet Dayrit, Efren Jarlego (I Love You Goodbye)
- Best Festival Production Designer: Richard Somes (Ang Panday)
- Best Festival Original Story: Vanessa Valdez, Kris Gazmen, Karen Ramos (I Love You Goodbye)
- Best Festival Screenplay: Roy Iglesias (Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love)
- Best Festival Director: Joel Lamangan (Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love)
- Best Festival Child Actor: Robert "Buboy" Villar (Ang Panday)
- Best Festival Supporting Actor: Phillip Salvador (Ang Panday)
- Best Festival Supporting Actress: Heart Evangelista (Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love)
- Best Festival Actor: Bong Revilla (Ang Panday)
- Best Festival Actress: Sharon Cuneta (Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love)
- 2nd Best Festival Picture: Ang Darling Kong Aswang
- 1st Best Festival Picture: I Love You Goodbye
- 35th MMFP Best Festival Best Picture: Ang Panday
JURORS.The 2009 MMFF Executive Committee is composed of Judge Oscar Inocentes (overall chairman), Maricor Imperial (Executive Chairman), Rolando Josef (Executive Director), AGM Edenison Fainsan (Chairman, Finance Committee), Angelito Vergel de Dios (Executive Director, TOC), Robert Nacenciano (member), Ric Camaligan (SM Cinemas), Manuel Nuqui, Wilson Tieng, Dominic Du, Marcus Ng, Boots Anson-Roa (Mowelfund), and Leo Martinez (Film Academy of the Philippines).