Even though Ploning director Dante Nico Garcia is
busy advocating for his film Ploning in the United States, he took time
to attend the Asian Festival of 1st Films (AFFF), which took place at Singapore
from December 4 to 10.
Direk Ga (Dante's nickname) introduced his film about
Ploning, a woman from Cuyo, Palawan (portrayed by Judy Ann Santos) but he did
not stay for the awarding ceremony that took place last December 11. Ploning
producer Jourdan Sebastian accepted the trophy in behalf of
The effort was well worth it since the first-time director was able to beat
three directors of the films Firaaq (India), Ganglamedo (China),
and Little Zizou (India). According to the official website of AAFF, the
Filipino director was awarded Best Director for "successfully creating an
extraordinary love story filled with local flavour in his film Ploning."
In a phone interview with Direk Tikoy
Aguiluz, he informed PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) about the triumph of
Ploning in the Asian Festival of 1st Films.
Direk Tikoy, described by AAFF as a leading figure in the
alternative cinema movement in the Philippines, was one of the three jury
members who chose this year's winners. The other members were Hong Kong
director Yim Ho, Silver Bear winner in Berlinale for the 1996 film The Sun
Has Ears, and Nadia Tass, one of Australia's most respected and unique
The Best Film award went to Firaaq, which is written and directed by
actress Nandita Das. She also took home the awards for Best Screenplay and the
Foreign Correspondents Association Purple Orchid Award for Best Film.
Another Philippine entry, Pisay directed by Auraeus
Solito, was nominated in the Best Producer category but it did not bag the
prize. Aside from being nominated for Best Director, Ploning was also
shortlisted in the Best Screenplay category.
This year, a total of 638 submissions came from 26
countries for the fourth edition of the AAFF. The list was trimmed down to 28
films and documentaries that competed for the 11 awards categories.