'Huling Balyan ng Buhi' is Best Picture in digital film fest

Veteran actress Gina Alajar explains why this film shot in Mindanao can be called the ’dark horse’ in the competition.

Huling Balyan ng Buhi, a digital film shot in Mindanao, won Best Picture in this year’s Cinema One Originals competition during the awarding ceremony at the Teatrino in Greenhills on November 26.

As one of the jurors in the recently concluded Cinema One Originals film festival, veteran actress Gina Alajar explained why Huling Balyan ng Buhi is worthy of the Best Picture trophy and a cash prize worth P200,000.

In an interview with Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) right after the awarding ceremony, Gina recalled the selection process of the four-member jury.

“The problem we had was that halos lahat ng pelikula, may problema sa screenplay. Parang meron silang idea regarding the script pero hindi nila nailagay sa pelikula kung ano yung idea nila. Kaya nagkakagulo…parang hindi namin maintindihan.”

She continued: “But with Balyan [Huling Balyan ng Buhi], it was a simple movie na nai-present ng simpleng-simple. Walang bravura shots or ganyan. Of course, the location was fantastic.”

When asked if she considers Balyan to be the dark horse of this competition, she responded, “Oo.”

Directed by the 21-year old Sherad Anthony Sanchez, Huling Balyan ng Buhi was shot entirely in Mindanao. It stars Bembol Roco and the people of Arakan Valley, North Cotabato.

The movie is about an over-protective Balyan (also known as Babaylan) named Idang of the Buhi tribe. In the movie, she performed her last miracle—a stigmata. This supposedly Catholic miracle affects everyone around her in an attempt to keep the tradition, religion, and practices of the tribe alive since the culture of the Buhi tribe members is on the verge of extinction.

The other members of the 2006 Cinema One Originals film festival board of jurors include chairman Mr. Robbie Tan, Dr. Mike Rapatan, and Mr. Teddy Co.



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