Brillante "Dante" Mendoza's Tirador (Slingshot) was awarded a Special Jury Award in the 7th Marrakech International Film Festival in Morocco last Saturday, December 15. The Philippine entry tied with the Russian film Kremen for the said recognition.
Direk Dante called me last Saturday around 4 p.m. (Toronto time) and gave me the good news. The award was presented to him by Academy Award winner Milos Forman who was the head of the jury.
Sugisball from Estonia won the Best Film award while entries from South Korea and Netherlands won the Best Actress and Best Actor awards, respectively.
The members of the jury were Hamid Benani (director, producer and writer), John Hurt (actor), Shekhar Kapur (director and actor), Pavel Lounguine (director, screenwriter and producer), Aissa Maiga (actress), Claude Millier (director and writer), Parker Posey (actress) and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon (actress).
Academy award nominee Shekhar Kapur of Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age approached Direk Dante after giving his acceptance speech. He was surprised when the Filipino director mentioned that Tirador was shot in 10 days and that the film was shot and projected in digital format.
Tirador stars Jiro Manio, Coco Martin, Kristofer King, Nathan Lopez, Harold Montano, Nico Taverna, Angela Ruiz, Benjie Filomeno, and Arman Reyes with the special participation of Julio Diaz, Simon Ibarra and Jaclyn Jose. It was written by Ralston Joel Jover with Armando Lao as creative consultant. Jover also wrote Mendoza's Manoro and Foster Child.
The other films in competition were:
Sugisball (Autumn Ball) by Veiko Ounpuu, Estonia
L'envers Du Miroir by Nadia Cherabi, Algeria
Funukedomo, Kanashimino Ai Wo Misero (Funuke Show Some Love, You Losers!) by Daihachi Yoshida, Japan
Grand Hotel by David Ondøièek, Czech Rebublic
Samira Fi Dayaa (Les Jardins De Samara) by Latif Lahlou, Morocco
Miehen Tyo (Man's Job) by Aleksi Salmenperä, Finland
Kremen (The Hard-Hearted) by Alexey Mizgirev, Russia
Hong Se Kang Bai Yin (The Red Awn) by Cai Shangjun, China
The Savages by Tamara Jenkins, USA
Klopka (The Trap) by Srdan Golubovic, Serbia
Partes Usadas (Used Parts) by Aarón Fernandez, Mexico
Geomen Tangyi Sonyeo Oi (With the Girl of Black Soil) by Jeon Soo-il, South Korea
Wolfsbergen by Nanouk Leopold, Netherlands
Tirador French distributor Didier Costet of Swift Distribution was very happy with the award. He took care of Direk Dante during their stay in Marrakech. Swift is handling all French festivals and it is very likely that Tirador will compete in Deauville Asia in France next year. Programmer Jerome Lasarre selected Tirador for Marrakech and he is also in charge of programming in Deauville.
After its world premiere in Toronto, Tirador was screened in Pusan and Dubai. Its first festival next year is in Berlin's Forum section. It will compete next year in Indianapolis (Best Film gets North American distribution deal from Film Movement), Singapore and Granada, Spain (Best Film gets 50,000 Euros).
Direk Dante and I are now preparing for his next film, Serbis, which won a script development funding grant from the Asian Cinema Fund at the Pusan International Film Festival last October.
Centerstage might co-produce it with two international productions. Swift Distribution has already expressed interest to co-produce Mendoza's next feature film.
James Liu of Joint Entertainment in Taiwan is also
interested. We already had a preliminary meeting with James during the
Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece last month.
Serbis is to be written by Boots Agbayani Pastor (Masahista, Kaleldo), with Armando Lao as creative consultant.
Tirador is Mendoza's fifth film to win international recognition. His first feature Masahista won a Golden Leopard in the video section at the 2005 Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland and Interfaith Award in Brisbane, Australia in 2006.
Manoro (The Teacher) won the CinemAvvenir award in Torino, Italy, in 2006 and also the Best Film and Director awards in the digital local section of Cinemanila.
Earlier this year, Kaleldo (Summer Heat) won
the Netpac Award from Jeonju, Korea and gave Cherry Pie Picache a Best Actress
award from Durban, South Africa last June.
Foster Child merited Cherry Pie another Best Actress award from New Delhi, a Special Jury award from Eurasia in Kazakhstan, and the Prix dela Fiction from the Paris Environmental Film Festival.
Foster Child is competing next year at Las Palmas (Canary Islands, Spain), Cinema Novo (Bruges, Belgium) and Durban International Film Festivals.