By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today
Despite the continuous rain that caused flood and traffic congestion, throngs of independent film buffs flocked to the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City last July 26 to witness the conclusion of the 10-day Cinemalaya independent film festival and competition.
The awards night named Last Supper No.3 as the best film in the full-length category. It was directed by Veronica Velasco and Jinky Laurel.
While receiving the Cinemalaya Balanghai trophy, one of the directors said that a day before the awarding ceremony, she received numerous text messages saying, “Congratulations, but comedy films don’t win the top honor in film festivals!”
Now she proved them wrong because aside from a trophy, the film also received an additional P200,000 and a post-production package worth P1 million from Roadrunner Network and a Certificate for Full Audio Post, Remix and Remastering Services from SQ Film Laboratories.
Based on a true story, Last Supper No. 3 is a humorous look at the circuitous path the Philippine legal system takes to justice. The main character who is an assistant production designer is tasked to look for a Last Supper to use as a prop for a TV commercial. He finds three, but loses one. What happens next changes the lead character’s fate forever as he spends the next two years entangled in bureaucracy and red tape facing estafa and serious physical injury charges. As to how will this ordinary man fare against a system he knows nothing about is the main issue the film resolves.
Meanwhile, cited for their being exemplars of the possibilities of filmmaking, Colorum and Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe tied for the Special Jury award.
This years Cinemalaya jury was composed of Mark Vincent Escaler, director of the Ateneo de Manila University Center for Communication Research and Training; Aude Hesbert, head of Paris Cinema International Film Festival; Aruna Vasudev, founder-president of NETPAC; film director Chito Roño; and actress Cherry Pie Picache.
Known as a comedian and a seasoned stage actor for decades, Lou Veloso was surprised when he bested other independent film veterans receiving the Best Actor trophy for his serious portrayal of a 70-year-old ex-convict in Colorum, a feature by Jon Steffan Ballesteros.
“I only do serious acting in stage plays,” Veloso chuckled and ended his acceptance speech with hilarity, “I also want to share this award to my leading man, Alfred Vargas.”
Meanwhile, budding actress and showbiz scion Ina Feleo won Best Actress plum for Sanglaan. Tessie Tomas won the Best Supporting Actress award for the same film while indie film regular Arnold Reyes went home with Best Supporting Actor trophy for Astig.
Being the most watched competing film in this year’s festival, Astig, which stars Dennis Trillo, Glaiza de Castro, Sid Lucero, and Edgar Allan Guzman, snatched three other honors including Best Director for GB Sampedro, Best Editing and Best Sound Recording.
Other awards like Best Screenplay went to Nerseri, Best Cinematography to 24K, Best Production Design to Mangatyanan, and Best Musical Score to Dinig Sana Kita.
Three special awards were also given out: NETPAC Award went to Baseco Bakal Boys; and National Council for Children’s Television Award and Audience Choice were both awarded to Dinig Sana Kita.
For the short film category, the Best Short Film award went to Bonsai by Borgy K. Torre. Bonsai was cited for its story of hope and pain in love that can and do exist even in the most ordinary of circumstances. Bonsai won P100,000 cash award, the Balanghai Trophy, and a Canon XHA-1 kit pro video worth P220,000.
Other awards given out in the Short Feature category were: Special Jury Award for Blogog; Audience Choice for Tatang; Best Director for Dexter Cayanes (Musa), and Best Screenplay for Behind Closed Doors.
According to CCP president Nestor Jardin, this year’s Cinemalya Cinco attracted 38,000 people. That is about 10,000 more audience compared to last year’s number of attendees.
“I can’t believe that in a span of five years, we’ve gone this far. Now, the only challenge we have is how to keep it growing,” Jardin remarked.
Cinemalaya Cinco, was held from July 17 to 26 at the CCP. It is a competitive film festival that aims to discover, encourage and honor the cinematic works of Filpino filmmakers and seeks to invigorate the Philippine film industry by developing a new breed of Filipino filmmakers. Cinemalaya is a presentation of the Cinemalaya Foundation in cooperation with the CCP, Econolink Investments and the Film Development Council.