An indie film shot in Davao won two awards in the recently concluded 10th Jeonju International Film Festival.
Sherad Anthony Sanchez's Imburnal (2008) won both the Woosuk and the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (Netpac) awards in the filmfest considered South Korea's second largest after Pusan IFF. The nine-day film fest was held from April 30 to May 8, featuring 200 films from 42 countries.
Imburnal is a nonlinear digital film that runs for four hours, depicting the tale of manhood of two boys hanging out in the sewers of Barangay Matina Aplaya, Punta Dumalog in Davao. Direk Sherad cast real-life residents of the area for his indie film, which bested 12 other films in the international category.
The Woosuk award, which comes with a cash prize of $10,000, is given to the film that contributes to widening the scope and depth in contemporary cinema.
According to the official website of the Jeonju IFF, the jury chose Sherad's work because "it fulfills the progressive spirit of the Jeonju International Film Festival: it is an innovative, experimental, even miraculous work, a unique blend of documentary and fiction, which returns us to the fundamental question of the past and the future: what is cinema?"
Sherad Anthony Sanchez's film also received the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (Netpac) award for the "art of showing hopelessness in the youth of rural Philippines using a tone and visuals alternating in a duality that are at times playful and often heartbreaking."
In the Philippines, Imburnal was classified unfit for viewing three times by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) for its "objectionable presentation" of poverty.
Despite the setback, the film was named Best Picture at the 4th Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival, receiving the Lino Brocka Grand Prize during the 10th Cinemanila International Film Festival.
Aside from Direk Sherad, another Filipino participated in the Jeonju IFF. Lav Diaz's Butterflies Have No Memories was commissioned as one of the three-part digital project of the event. His short film tackled environmental degradation in the Philippines.
Lav Diaz previously won the Orizzonti Grand Prize at the Venice International Film Festival for his film Melancholia in 2008.