It was a great victory for the Philippines during the recently concluded Fantasporto 2019.
Four films of the 2018 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival were able to bring honor to the country during the 39th edition of the Oporto International Film Festival.
Ina Raymundo and Ai-Ai delas Alas tied with each other as Best Actress winners in the film fest held in Oporto, Portugal from February 22 to March 2.
Ina was recognized for her Cinemalaya 2018 film Kuya Wes while Ai-Ai won for the drama film School Service.
Directed by Louie Ignacio, School Service also took home the Orient Express Special Jury Award.
The film, which also gave Ai-Ai her Cinemalaya Best Actress trophy last year, is a drama about Filipino children begging in the streets of Manila.
This can be considered Ai-Ai’s third international Best Actress trophy. In 2017, she was named Best Actress for her film Area during the 2017 AIFFA (ASEAN International Film Festival and Awards) held in Sarawak, Malaysia. She also bagged the Best Female Actor award at the 2017 Queens World Film Festival in New York.
In her Instagram account, Ai-Ai dedicated her triumph to her "pogi" and "mabait" husband Gerald.
The GMA-7 actress wrote:
"MAGANDANG UMAGA AT NAPAKAGANDANG GISING ... una sa lahat maraming salamat sa atung mahal na ina MAMA MARY AND SA ATING BUTIHING AMA LORD MARAMING SALAMAT PO SA NAPAKA GANDANG BLESSINGS NA ITO SA 2019 ... and thank YOU very much FANTASPORTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AWARD ( PORTUGAL).. for the best actress award maraming maraming salamat ..
"nais kong i share ang award na ito sa aking mga co actors sa pelikulang SCHOOL SERVICE ... sa aking peborit director at ang maswerteng ka tandem ko pag gumagawa kami ng movie DIREK LOUI IGNACIO ... salamat ferdie lapuz at dennis evangelista tita baby go forproducing this film BG PRODUCTIONS) at sa aking pamilya at mga anak SANCHO SHAUN SOPHIA ANDREI AND SAILOR---
"sa aking pogi ar mabait na asawa GERALD ( mahal ko kayo kaya ko binubuhos ang powers ko para sa inyo hehe).. at sa lahat ng nanood nito at manonood pa ... and also congrats din sa ka tie ko na si ms ina raymundo @inaraymundo95
@direklouieignacio @gerald_sibayan @sanchovito @sophdelasalas @spuppies10 #shaunnicolo @bgproductions_bgp .. TO GOD BE THE GLORY AMEN!!!!!"
As for Dante, this is his first international recognition, after many decades of working in the Philippine movie industry.
The veteran Pinoy thespian grabbed the Best Actor plum for his poignant performance in Carlo Enciso Catu’s Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon (Waiting For Sunset). This film also won the Special Jury Prize in the Director's Week competition (non-genre official section).
Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon is about an unmarried old couple (Perla Bautista and Menggie Cobarrubias) who is asked to help the woman’s long-lost husband (Dante Rivero), after many years of separation.
Dante's local acting awards include: FAMAS Awards Best Supporting Actor for Sa Dibdib Ng Sierra Madre (1985), FAP Awards Best Supporting Actor for Tuhog (2001), FAP Awards Best Supporting Actor for A Love Story (2007), and Cinemalaya Best Actor for 1st Ko Si 3rd (2013).
As for Ina, she won her first local Best Actress trophy from the Star Award for Movies for Jeffrey Jeturian's Tuhog (2001). After many years, this is her second Best Actress win: an international recognition from Portugal.
Director Louie Ignacio personally received his award in Portugal.
Earlier during the festival week, both director James Mayo and Kuya Wes lead actor Ogie Alcasid arrived in Portugal.
Since the winners were not revealed to them ahead of time, the two went back home to the Philippines not knowing that Ina bagged the Best Actress honor.
“Hindi kasi sinasabi agad ‘pag mananalo. Kaya nakaalis na si James,” disclosed producer Ferdy Lapuz in a Facebook chat with PEP.ph.
When asked about missing the chance to fly to Portugal, director Carlo said, “Oo nga. Pero keri na din, at least na-recognize ang film natin.”
A couple of weeks ago, he attended a different international film festival.
The other Filipino winners--Dante, Ina, and Ai-Ai--were unable to attend, due to work schedule conflicts in Manila.
Incidentally, Kuya Wes, produced by Spring Films, will have its commercial release starting March 13 (Wednesday) in Philippine cinemas.
According to Spring Films, the movie was slightly enhanced to give it a more commercial feel and look. Kuya Wes now features a new soundtrack and tighter editing of some long and dragging scenes but the story is still intact just like its Cinemalaya version.