Pusong Bato by Martika Ramirez Escobar was named Best Short Film in the 11th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition.
This year's edition, which focused on the Short Feature category, culminated with the Cinemalaya Awards program held last night, August 15, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The Special Jury Prize and the NETPAC Award was given to Wawa by Angelie Mae Macalanda.
Praised “for its playfulness in telling a story, for creating tension between nostalgia and loneliness and for taking risks without being absurd,” Pusong Bato is about a middle-aged faded actress who tries to relive her glory days as a movie star in the 1970s by watching films at home everyday until an earthquake rouses her from her Hollywood dream.
As Best Short Film winner, Pusong Bato won a cash prize of P150,000 and the Balanghai trophy.
Wawa won the Special Jury Prize for “its engaging use of location to evoke longing and for its poetic depiction of grief” and the NETPAC Award for “its evocation of grief and the impermanence of life by a grippingly visual funeral ceremony on the river. Wawa is about a young boy’s journey as he, with others, take his father to his final resting place.
The Best Direction award went to Petersen Vargas for his Lisyun Qng Geografia. Vargas was cited for his “effective harnessing of the technical elements of filmmaking in telling a simple story” of a boy who finds an old map that triggers him to retrace the places that are special to him and his high school best friend.
The Best Screenplay Award was given to Darwin Novicio for Papetir which he also directed. Papetir was cited “for its interesting presentation of contrast in what is being stated and what is actually happening.”
Sanctissima, a film about a girl who lives alone in the dark with an even darker secret, by Kenneth Dagatan won the Audience Choice Award. As Audience Choice winner, Sanctissima won a cash prize of P25,000.00.
Finalists for the 2016 Cinemalaya Main Competition (Full Length Feature) were also announced during the awards night. The finalists will receive production grants of P750,000 each, up from the previous P500,000 of previous years.
Some of the chosen directors have helmed past Cinemalaya entries.
In 2009, Ralston Jover helmed Bakal Boys that tackles the lives of real-life children metal divers in Baseco, Tondo. The film won the First Cinemalaya NETPAC Award handed out in Cinemalaya Cinco.
Sisters Janice and Denise O’Hara directed the Cinemalaya 2014 entry Sundalong Kanin, which depicted four young boys coming of age during World War II.
Vic Acedillo Jr. wrote the 2006 Cinemalaya entry Batad: Sa Paang Palay, which was directed by Benji Garcia. Vic's first full-length film Ang Nerseri was one of the finalists of Cinemalaya 2009.
Jason Paul Laxamana wrote and directed the suspense thriller Babagwa, which competed in Cinemalaya 2013. It depicts how an online scammer tries to swindle a mature lady but ends up falling in love with her.
Eduardo Roy Jr. has competed in Cinemalaya twice: for Bahay Bata (2011) and Quick Change (2013).
The 2014 edition of Cinemalaya featured Children's Show directed by Derick Cabrido. It showed the plight of young children competing in underground wrestling matches.
Meanwhile, David Corpuz directed the Cinemalaya short film The Ordinary Things We Do that debuted in 2014.
The Main Competition finalists are:
1. Ang Bagong Pamilya Ni Ponching by Inna Salazar, Victor Villanueva
2. Ang Mga Bisita Ni Mamang by Janice O’Hara, Denise O’Hara
3. Dagsin by Atom Magadia
4. Hiblang Abo by Ralston Jover
5. I America by Ivan Andrew Payawal
6. Kusina by David Corpuz, Cenon Palomares
7. Lando At Bugoy by Vic Acedillo Jr.
8. Mercury Is Mine by Jason Paul Laxamana
9. Pamilya Ordinaryo by Eduardo Roy Jr.
10. Tuos by Derick Cabrido
The 12th edition of Cinemalaya will be held on August 5-14, 2016 at the CCP and other festival venues.
Now on its eleventh year, Cinemalaya is expanding its mission to the training of practitioners in key aspects of film production and serving as an inspiration to independent filmmaking in Asia. It opened the Cinemalaya Institute offering short courses in Film Producing, Screenwriting and Directing.
Cinemalaya is a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc. and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Established in 2005, Cinemalaya is an all-digital film festival and competition that aims to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers.
Cinemalaya is the Philippines’ leading independent film festival and competition. To date, Cinemalaya has supported and promoted the production of 118 full feature independent films and 96 short films. Many of these films have won awards in local and international competitions and festivals. Through the annual festival, Cinemalaya has showcased over 1,000 works by independent filmmakers including full feature films, shorts, documentaries, Filipino film classics, and art films.