The Filipino musical film Emir won the Youssef Chahine Award for Best Artistic Contribution at the 34th Cairo International Film Festival in Egypt held last Thursday, December 9.
Director Chito Roño graced the closing ceremony held at the Opera House in Cairo to personally receive the trophy and plaque awarded by festival director Ezzat Abou Ouf.
This year's edition of the Cairo IFF screened 150 films from 70 countries in a span of 10 days.
This movie tells the story of an Ilocana nanny (played by Frencheska Farr) who risks her life to protect the son of a royal family in the Middle East.
Also starring Sid Lucero, Jhong Hilario, Dulce, Kalila Aguilos, Julia Clarete, and Beverly Salviejo, Emir was shot on location in Ilocos and Morocco.
This landmark film was produced by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) in cooperation with the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The Philippines also fielded two entries in the digital competition section of the Cairo IFF: Joel Lamangan's period film about activists, Sigwa, and Danny Anonuevo's military film, Rekrut. However, Mike De Jong won the Golden Award in this category for the film Joy.
After winning his award, Direk Chito is plans to direct an independent film next year.
Prior to Cairo, Emir was shown in Montreal, Canada last August for the 34th World Film Festival and in South Korea last October for the 15th Pusan International Film Festival.
It was included in the lineup of the "A Window on Asian Cinema" category along with other Filipino films Chassis, Magkakapatid, and Donor.
Direk Chito would like to share this award with the FDCP (former chairperson Rolando Atienza and Digna Santiago as producers), CCP (Nestor O. Jardin), Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the actors and his staff: writer Jerry Gracio, cinematographer Neil Daza, production designer Rodrigo Riccio, editor Jerrold Tarog and musicians Ebe Dancel, Vin Dancel, Diwa de Leon, Gary Granada and Chino Toledo.
The FDCP, headed by its new chairman Briccio Santos, supported the participation of the Filipino films in Cairo.