Mike Sandejas says Cinemalaya Audience Choice Award is not "a consolation prize"


Director Mike Sandejas says that the Audience Choice Award that he received in Cinemalaya 2009 is "not a consolation prize." He is photographed (above) with his daughter Zoe Sandejas, the star of Dinig Sana Kita.


Maraming manonood at tagasubaybay ng taunang Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival and Competition 2009 ang nagsabing standout ang pelikulang dinirek ni Mike Sandejas, ang Dinig Sana Kita (If I Knew What You Said). May mga umasang mananalo ito ng isa o dalawa sa mga major awards, tulad ng Best Picture at Best Direction.

Pero base sa resulta ng Cinemalaya Cinco awards, hindi ang nasabing indie film entry ang nanalo ng festival top prizes. Instead, Dinig Sana Kita won Best Musical Score (for Francisbrew Reyes) and the much-coveted Audience Choice Award.

Ang DSK ay tungkol sa friendship na nabuo sa pagitan ng isang hearing impaired young man (played by a real Deaf, Romelito Mallari) at troubled teenage rocker (Zoe Sandejas, anak ni Direk Mike).

Nanalo rin ito ng special award mula sa National Council for Children's Television (Kid's Treat). Ginanap ang awarding ceremony noong Linggo, July 26, sa Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Nakausap ng Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) si Direk Mike Sandejas, matapos ang awards ceremony, at ito ang mga naging pahayag niya tungkol sa naging resulta ng Cinemalaya awarding:

"I can't speak for the others, but speaking for myself, I learned a lot by winning the Audience Choice. Maybe I should make more 'audience-friendly' films and would like to cross-over na to the mainstream. That was what I learned today."

Bukas ang pang-unawa ng premyadong direktor hinggil sa katotohanan ng mga parangal pam-pelikula.

"It's anybody's ballgame," aniya. "Kumbaga, parang basketball 'yan, e. You hope, you want, you win. Everybody was hoping na [ako] magwi-win...[but] ayan na 'yung result. The jury has spoken. Maybe this is the choice of Cinemalaya.

"Sabi ko, well, it's telling me something; and, I think, what it's telling me is that I should do more of these films, but hindi na sa Cinemalaya.

"Kasi, kung madami ang manonood sa akin, 'di kikita na lang ako! 'Di ba? Perahin ko na ito!" tahasang banggit pa ni Sandejas.

Sa pagpapatuloy niya: "Yung sa akin lang, I learned a lot about myself, not through the awards but through the Cinemalaya experience itself.

"I have so many fans, people who watch. Maybe I should take advantage of that, you know. 'Yun na 'yon, eh!"

* * * * *

AUDIENCE CHOICE. Back in 2006, sa ikalawang taon ng Cinemalaya Film Fest, ang directorial debut niyang Tulad Ng Dati ang nagwaging Best Picture, among other awards. Sa una pa lang niyang indie movie ay naging tatak na ng direktor ang mahusay na pagsasanib ng kalidad at komersiyalismo sa kanyang obra.

Hindi nalalayo ang pangyayari sa naging resulta ng Dinig Sana Kita ngayong taon, na nagustuhan ng pinakamaraming manonood sa CCP venues.

Sang-ayon si Direk Mike sa obserbasyon. "I was out to test the theory and ang findings ganito, so ang mangyayari diyan, I will evolve.

"I have never sacrificed quality, pero ang mangyayari diyan, di ba, it makes you think. Ibig kong sabihin, don't be sad for me..."

Dahil marami ang umasang ang pelikula niya ang mananalo, marami umano ang nagpahayag ng panghihinayang na hindi ito ang nakakuha ng pinakamataas na panalo.

"Everybody was so sad for me, but why?" tanong ni Direk Mike. "I made you laugh, and made you cry... and I'm happy I did that. I mean, the award would be nice. But there is... alam mo, 'yang mga award na 'yan, destiny 'yan, e. The competition was meant to choose the destinies of a lot of people. Hindi lang naman ako ang naghirap sa pelikula, e. But I feel for a lot of them."

Nasorpresa ba si direk Mike Sandejas sa pangkalahatang resulta ng Cinemalaya Awards sa taong ito?

"Surprises... hindi na surprise sa akin 'yung Audience Choice Award!" sabi niya.

* * * * *

ENCOURAGEMENT. Base sa ilang naparangalan sa major categories, Cinemalaya '09 gives encouragement especially to first-time directors of indie movies, such as Vic Acedillo, Jr. (best screenplay winner, for Nerseri) and GB Sampedro (best director, for Astig).

Aware si Mike Sandejas sa pagiging mahigpit ng laban sa taong ito.

"From the beginning, sinabi ko, delikado ako. It's so hard to fight against the raw passion of a first-time filmmaker. And this is my second time, e. Alam ko 'yon.

"'Yung sa akin, I discovered that three years later, people still remember me," sabi pa niya.

Nagpahayag pa ang indie director na handa na siya upang tumanggap ng proyekto mula sa mga mainstream studios, Ani Direk Mike, "Nananawagan ako sa mga big studios, na open na for bidding ang kontrata ko! Ibig sabihin, I'd do a good film, and rest assured, it will be an audience favorite!

"And... ah, hindi ko man sabihin... siguro naman... I think what I learned in Cinemalaya is that I should make more films, because then I thought I would be retiring after my first work.

"Minsan nga, iniisip ko, baka pag first time, mananalo ka ng top award, kasi baka maging lazy ka, e. Ang nangyari [nga], I won it last time, three years ago. And that Audience thing, wala namang Audience Award nu'ng 2006, e!"

Speaking for himself, muling nagpahayag si Mike Sandejas tungkol sa mga napanalunang awards ng Dinig Sana Kita, partikular ang Audience Choice: "It's not a consolation prize!" pagtatapos niya.

Dinig Sana Kita will be screened at the UP Film Institute in Diliman, Quezon City this Monday, August 3, at 7 PM.

Tickets are priced at P80. For ticket reservation and inquiries, please contact 0915-6040072.


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