The Filipino film Lola has earned six awards in just one weekend. The 24th Fribourg International Film Festival and the 11th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival both held their awards night last Saturday, March 20, and Brillante "Dante" Mendoza's film was able to earn three nods from each festival.
In Spain, the Filipino film won the Golden Lady Harmiguada (grand prize), Best cinematography for Odyssey Flores, while lead stars Anita Linda and Rustica Carpio shared the honor of Best Actress. The cash prize of 100,000 Euros (approximately Php 6.19 million) of the Golden Lady Harmiguada award is given to the Spanish distributor of the film.
In Fribourg, Switzerland, Lola was given special mention and earned the Ecumenical Jury Award as well as the Don Quijote Award during the awards night.
The Fribourg IFF ran from March 13-20 and aimed to promote quality selected films from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Produced by Didier Costet's Swift Productions and written by Lynda Casimiro, Lola is also the first Filipino film to be distributed in Switzerland.
At press time, Direk Dante is attending the 34th Hong Kong Film Festival, which kicked off last Sunday, March 21. He will attend the Asian Film Awards tonight, March 22, where Lola is nominated for the categories Best Film, Best Direction, and Best Editing.
"I FEEL GOOD." Through a phone call earlier today, Direk Dante told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) that he is glad to receive recognitions in international film festivals but he also finds satisfaction in knowing that his films will be available to the general public.
"I feel good about that kasi importante na mapanood ka hindi lang sa mga film festivals kundi sa major theaters. [Distribution] that's the most important thing."
What is the reaction of Swiss viewers to his film Lola?
"Maganda ang feedback nila and understandable yun kasi emotional ang film...lalo na nung nagkita na yung dalawang grandmothers. Sentimental rin ang mga Pinoy na nakakapanood ng film. It has a universal theme—it's about the unconditional love of two grandmothers."
He added, "Nakaka-symphatize rin kasi yung mga viewers sa characters."
The Philippine Embassy in Berne, Switzerland even hosted a special reception for Direk Dante last March 14, on the day of the premiere showing of Lola, at the Cap Cine 5 at the Manor in Fribourg.
ECUMENICAL JURY AWARD. The Ecumenical Jury Award of Fribourg IFF comes with a cash prize of 5,000 Swiss francs (approximately Php 215,529). It was conferred by two organizations—the Catholic group Action de Carême and the Protestant group—to the director whose film "best reflects the values of these two organizations."
The citation of the award describes Lola thus: "In Manila, the fates of two grandmothers cross paths: the grandson of one of the women has murdered the grandson of the other. While the victim's grandmother seeks justice and struggles to scratch together money for his funeral, the culprit's grandmother fights to have him freed through an extrajudicial financial agreement.
"Even through the limits between good and evil, victims and perpetrators are well-defined, both grandmothers are united in their struggle for the survival of their families in everyday life.
"With a documentary precision, the filmmaker transports us into a context that embraces the reality of death, justice, poverty and the quest for honor."
DON QUIJOTE AWARD. The members of the International Federation of Film Societies gave Lola the Don Quijote Award, which the jury described as follows:
"In emphatic tones, transported by the personal drama of the two grandmothers, 'Lola' illustrates the way life functions in Manila: the police, the courtrooms, the prisons, etc. What is a human life worth in the 21st century? Money in an envelope, handed over in a restaurant."
This honor gives Lola a chance to be screened at the annual International Film-Club Festival at Reggio di Calabria in Italy.
These six awards come on the heels of Direk Dante's latest triumph in the 27th Miami International Film Festival where Lola bagged the Grand Jury Prize.
On March 26, Direk Dante will return to Hong Kong where he will serve as a jury member in Hong Kong IFF.
The film Lola is also invited to the Showcase (not in competition category) of the 9th Tribeca Film Festival in New York. It is the only Filipino film included in this year's festival, which will run from April 21-May 2.
According to Direk Dante, his next project is a documentary on climate change. He was also tapped by the ABS-CBN Foundation to shoot an infomercial in support of its Kapit Bisig sa Ilog Pasig project. Coco Martin, Zaijian Jaranilla, Matanglawin host Kim Atienza, and CNN Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida will lend their star power for this advocacy.
The Filipino director also has plans to shoot an action drama set in the Philippines.
CLICK HERE to read PEP's review on Lola.