"Iba ang energy sa Cinemalaya!" This was the rallying cry heard during the awarding ceremony of the 6th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival held last night, July 18, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The positive vibe was so infectious that it has given a second wind to director Gil Portes and prompted actor Baron Geisler to say that he is once again given a reminder to turn over a new leaf.
FIVE AWARDS FOR DONOR. Veteran directors were grouped together in a newly established category of Cinemalaya called the Directors' Showcase. The five entries that competed this year were: Ang Paglilitis ni Bonifacio by Mario O'Hara, Donor by Mark Meily, Pink Halo-Halo by Joselito "Jay" Altarejos, Sigwa by Joel Lamangan, and Two Funerals by Gil Portes.
The coveted Best Film award went to Donor, a film about human organ trafficking in the country. Direk Mark Meily recalled: "Tuwing umaga, ang alarm clock ko ang text o tawag ni Gil Portes na nagtatanong lagi. Gusto kong batiin rin ang kapatid ko sa Director's Guild of the Philippines na si Direk Joel. Dati, nakikita ko lang ang pangalan niya sa pelikula pero ngayon magkasama na kami sa isang category."
Aside from Best Film, Donor also won Best Performance of an Actor (Baron Geisler), Best Performance of an Actress (Meryll Soriano), Best Performance of a Supporting Actress (Karla Pambid), and Best Production Design (Aped Santos).
BARON "BAGONG BUHAY" GEISLER. When Baron Geisler received his trophy that night, he reminisced how the director of Donor convinced him to portray the live-in partner of Meryll Soriano in the film. "Sabi ni Direk Mark, puwedeng umangat ang career mo dito. Ikasisikat mo 'to." As he gripped the ornate Balanghai trophy in one hand, Baron quipped: "Isa itong reminder na magpakatino na ako!"
This is Baron's second Best Actor trophy from Cinemalaya after winning for Jay (2008) wherein he portrayed a homosexual producer.
In an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) after the program, Baron said that he would also like to thank Cinemalaya's head of monitoring committee, Robbie Tan, for giving him the chance to appear in an entry this year.
His co-star in Donor, Meryll Soriano, also marks her second time to receive an acting trophy from Cinemalaya since she won the Best Actress plum in 2005 for the entry Roomboy.
SECOND WIND. Two Funerals director Gil Portes made a bold confession last night when he accepted the Best Director award. "This is unbelievable. I thought of going back to the States so I can just fade out. But this award and the reaction of the audience to Two Funerals has convinced me that I can still do films. Pag senior citizen ka na kasi, ayaw na ng producers sa 'yo kasi mabagal ka nang gumalaw."
Since his film is a road movie, he admitted that it was very costly for him to shoot from Cagayan in the north to Sorsogon in the southern part of Luzon. "Pag nagpapa-gas ang mga sasakyan namin, sumasakit ang dibdib ko. Three thousand [pesos] ang full tank ng funeral hearse na gamit namin."
The drama-comedy film Two Funerals bagged the Special Jury Prize, Audience Choice Award, Best Screenplay (Enrique Ramos), and Best Cinematography (Arvin Viola). It tells the story of a mother (portrayed by Tessie Tomas) who goes on a road trip to retrieve the body of her daughter who died in a vehicular accident.
HAWAK-KAMAY. When the filmmakers competing in the New Breed category were called on stage, all of them put down their framed certificates and held hands as if they were contestants in a beauty pageant. Jury member Ricky Davao, who announced the winners in this category, even teased them by saying, "Quarter turn, please."
The nine competing entries this year were: Halaw by Sheron Dayoc, Limbunan by Gutierrez "Teng" Mangansakan II, Magkakapatid by Kim Homer Garcia, Mayohanby Dan Villegas and Paul Sta. Ana, Rekrut by Danny Añonuevo, Sampaguita, National Flower by Francis Xavier Pasion, Si Techie, Si Teknoboy at si JuanaB by Art Katipunan, The Leaving by Ian-Dean Loreños, and Vox Populi (Siya ang Meyor Ko!) by Dennis Marasigan.
The Best Film went to Halaw, which was cited "for its timely depiction of the rigors and dangers that Filipinos go through in order to reach Sabah in search of greener pastures, its mastery of the elements of filmmaking and meaningful narrative, and its powerful herald that Mindanao cinema has come of age."
John Arcilla, who portrayed an illegal recruiter in Halaw, was named Best Actor in the New Breed category. He had a heartbreaking story to tell about child actress Arnalyn Ismael who was cast as a Tausug named Daying in the film.
"Sa taping, nakakakain siya ng tatlong beses sa isang araw kasi sa kanila, ang kinakain lang niya kanin, toyo, at mantika. Yung batang lalake naman [Aljimar Hajijon] sumisisid siya ng 100 feet para kumita ng P150 a day. Actually, namatay na yung mga kuya dahil dito," he narrated.
LJ REYES FINDS OUT THROUGH TWITTER. LJ Reyes earned the Best Supporting Actress plum for her role in horror-drama film The Leaving.
She found out that she won when columnist Allan Diones informed her through her Twitter account. The nine-month pregnant actress, who is currently in New York, gave her reaction by posting in her Twitter account: "just woke up to a very honoring news! thank you Lord! thanks The Leaving. Ian and Ate Kat! this is so overwhelming! nakakaiyak naman!"
She also added: "iba yata talaga swerte ng buntis! i feel [like] heaven!"
According to The Leaving director Ian-Dean Loreños, he didn't know until the last minute that one of his stars, LJ Reyes, was pregnant when they were shooting their film about Tsinoys living in Chinatown.
"Nalaman ko na lang nang tapos na yung pelikula. Tinago niya sa amin na buntis siya para hindi makaapekto sa production. Nakonsensiya nga ako kasi ang dami niyang physical scenes," Direk Ian told PEP right after the awards night.
STAR-STUDDED AFFAIR. Magkaribal starGretchen Barretto was present during the awards night and she was seated beside Tonyboy Cojuangco, Chair of Cinemalaya Foundation.
Serving as the event hosts last night were Iza Calzado and Cogie Domingo. This year's Cinemalaya jury was composed of Jose Javier Reyes, Ricky Davao, Lito Zulueta, Ishizaka Kenji, and Italo Spinelli.
Lovi Poe earned her first Best Actress trophy for her entry Mayohan, where she played a provincial lass involved in a traditional pasayaw. Her leading man in an upcoming Lovebug episode, Rocco Nacino, made time to show his support for Lovi that night.
Dawn Zulueta came to the event with her husband Anton Lagdameo; Tirso Cruz III came with his entire family; Rekrut stars spotted that night included Emilio Garcia, Joem Bascon, JM De Guzman, Maxene Magalona, and Dominic Roco. Tessie Tomas, Epy Quizon, Princess Manzon, Mon Confiado and Benjie Felipe of Two Funerals also graced the occasion.
Beauty queen Danielle Castaño of Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio attended the event wearing a dark purple creation by Eric de los Santos.
CINEMALAYA 2011. Cinemalaya president Nestor Jardin announced that supporters of the annual film fest can look forward to an exhibition of Asian films in next year's edition. They also revealed that the deadline of submission of entries for next year's batch is on August 31.
The competition films of Cinemalaya 2010 will be screened at the University of the Philippines Diliman Film Institute (Cine Adarna) from July 20-23 and July 26-30. (CLICK HERE to view the screening schedule)
Here is the complete list of winners in the 6th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival:
New Breed of Filmmakers (Full-length feature) category
Best Film: Halaw
Special Jury Prize - Sampaguita, National Flower
Audience Choice - Magkakapatid
Best Director - Sheron Dayoc (Halaw)
Best Actress - Lovi Poe (Mayohan)
Best Actor - John Arcilla (Halaw)
Best Supporting Actress - LJ Reyes (The Leaving)
Best Supporting Actor - Emilio Garcia (Rekrut)
Best Screenplay - Mayohan (Paul Sta. Ana)
Best Cinematography (tie) - Mayohan (Dan Villegas) and The Leaving (Rommel Andreo Sales, Jr.)
Best Production Design - The Leaving (Syrel Lopez and Ivan Zaldarriaga)
Best Editing - Halaw (Lester Olager and Chuck Gutierrez)
Best Musical Score - Mayohan (Emerzon Texon)
Best Sound Recording - Rekrut (Albert Michael Idioma)
Directors' Showcase category
Best Film - Donor
Special Jury Prize - Two Funerals
Audience Choice - Two Funerals
Best Director - Gil Portes (Two Funerals)
Best Actress - Meryll Soriano (Donor)
Best Actor - Baron Geisler (Donor)
Best Supporting Actress - Carla Pambid (Donor)
Best Supporting Actor - Tirso Cruz III (Sigwa)
Best Screenplay - Two Funerals (Enrique Ramos)
Best Cinematography - Two Funerals (Arvin Viola)
Best Production Design - Donor (Aped Santos)
Best Editing - Pink Halo Halo (Chuck Gutierrez)
Short Films category
Best Film - Wag Kang Titingin
Special Jury Prize - P
Audience Choice - P
Best Director - Rommel "Milo" Tolentino (P)
Best Screenplay - Harang (Mikhail Red)
NETPAC winner: Sheika by Arnel Mardoquio