Last night, November 13, was the awards night for the Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival 2011, held at the Carlos Romulo Auditorium of RCBC Plaza, Makati City.
Aside from the awards for the filmmakers who submitted their entries in this year's festival (CLICK HERE to read related story), Cinema One added a new accolade: an honorary award for artists who pioneer efforts in the country's independent cinema.
The awardees for this year are multi-awarded film and television director Mario O'Hara, and renowned film actress Nora Aunor.
According to the official citation from Cinema One, both artists are pioneers in the Philippine indie scene.
Mario O'Hara is known as an actor, screenplay writer, and director.
His acting stints include Stardoom (1971) and Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974).
He wrote the classic films Insiang (1976) and Mortal (1975).
He also directed the masterpieces Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (1976) and Condemned (1984).
But it is Mario's low-budget independent film Babae sa Breakwater (2003) in 2003 that solidified his connection to indie cinema.
Babae sa Breakwater was screened at Cannes, as well as other film festivals.
This feat inspired other local indie filmmakers to submit their films to the major film fstivals abroad, gaining them a global audience.
Nora Aunor, meanwhile, is known for her role in several classic films, like Banaue (1975), Bona (1980), Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (1976), and Annie Batungbakal (1979).
But what might be surprising to many is that Nora not only acted in these movies; she also produced them.
Nora can then truly be called an indie artist.
"REMAIN INDEPENDENT." Direk Mario was the first to receive his citation.
In his speech, he expressed that he felt emotional watching the tribute video made for him, which was shown before he took the stage.
He said he felt this because he remembered all the people he worked with in the past, who already passed away.
"So siguro, kaya very emotional kasi you remember so many people, so many talents, and the people you worked with, and wala na sila," he said.
He then thanked the people around him who continue to inspire him to make good films.
"But then, katulad ni Ms. Nora Aunor, at ilan pang natitirang mga kasama na patuloy na nakakasama sa hanapbuhay na ito, patuloy na pinapakita ang kahusayan at galing, ikaw ang nagsisilbing inspirasyon sa akin para patuloy na gumawa ng magagandang mga produkto," he said.
Direk Mario also gave an advice to the young filmmakers in attendance.
"Sana, patuloy kayong maging matapang. At sana, dahil I'm sure, karamihan sa inyo nangangarap na pumasok sa commercial na world, sana patuloy pa rin kayong maging independent," he said.
SUPPORTING INDIE. Nora Aunor, on the other hand, gave a longer speech after receiving her citation.
She narrated to the audience how she became an actress, and explained what motivates her to make good movies.
"Ako ho, kapag lagi akong dina-down, ako po, ang pagrerebelde ko ay ibang klase.
"Nasa isip ko para malabanan lahat ng nangyayari noon, isa lang po ang nasa isip ko noon—ang lumikha ng isang makabuluhang pelikula," she said.
She then told the audience how she was able to produce the movie Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, which she also starred in.
"Dahilan po sa gusto kong gawin, e, naibenta ko yung bahay. Di bale po.
"Nagkaroon naman ng... hanggang ngayon, e, pinag-uusapan ng tao at sa totoo lamang po, ginawa po ito sa Japan.
"Dito lang po bibigyan ng halaga ang mga Hapon. Dyinastify po ang ugali ng mga Hapon.
"Ito po ang Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos," she said.
She also thanked all the people who supported her, especially her fans who flocked to the venue of the awards so they can cheer for her.
"Napakapalad ko po, hindi lang po sa paggawa ng makabuluhang pelikula, sa pagiging mang-aawit...
"Nasira lang po ang boses ko, pero may awa ang Diyos na maibabalik po yun, at sa mga mahal ko sa buhay, lahat sila," she concluded.
UPDATE ON NORA. PEP had a brief interview with the Superstar after the event. Here, she expressed that she would like to support the indie movies of today.
She said the award inspired her to do so.
"Mas lalo kaming gagawa ng makabuluhang pelikula sa ngayon. Yun ang magbibigay inspirasyon din sa akin," she said.
She also expressed that she is willing to work with the young filmmakers who has entries in this year's Cinema One Originals.
"May balak, may balak bago ako umalis," she said quickly.
Asked to explain what she meant by "umalis," Nora said it had something to do with her operation to get her voice back.
Nora Aunor's vocal cords were damaged last year due to an operation.
"January 9 ako naka-schedule sa Boston. One month lang ako dun... Baka sakali po, may awa ang Diyos. Mababalik po ang boses ko," she said.