Beauty Queen was named Best Film at the 17th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.
The short film, a historical drama that tells the story of a young woman dealing with the death of her father, bested 12 other finalists and received the Balanghai trophy and PHP150,000.
On Thursday, August 19, 2021, director Myra Aquino was awarded for the short film starring Febie Agustin, Lau Apostol, Norman King, Bajun Lacap in Cinemalaya's online ceremony.
Aquino said in her director's notes, "Growing up, I had limited exposure to inspiring women who looked like me in the films I watched, and that void bore a burning desire to bring stories about Filipino women to life. And I couldn't imagine a better story than that of Remedios Gomez: a beauty queen who transformed into a fearless resistance leader.
"Making this film was important to me because it is a reminder that we all have grace and courage within ourselves that we can express without ever giving up who we are."
Arjanmar H. Rebeta's An Sadit Na Planeta received multiple awards, such as the Netpac Jury Prize, Special Jury Prize, and Audience Choice Award. Shot in 360-degree video, the short film sees a man journey 40 days on a small planet called Planet I.
Speaking to Esquire, Rebeta said the Balanghai trophy was a source of motivation for him.
"Pangarap ko ang magka-Balanghai Trophy kaya sobrang tuwa ko. Honestly, yung actual trophy, isang motivation ko sya. Kaya, sobrang tuwa ko. Sabi ko nga, dalawang beses na ako hindi natanggap sa Cinemalaya pero ngayon, sa pangatlong beses, saka ako nakuha at may bonus pang triple awards na ibinigay."
Meanwhile, Kyle Nieva won Best Director and Best Screenplay for Kids On Fire. The dark comedy tells the story of a prepubescent boy as he discovers the power of his sexuality while in a religious camp.