Hannah Espia’s Transit was named Best Film and swept up nine other awards in the New Breed Full Length Feature category while Jerrold Tarog’s Sana Dati (below) won Best Film and seven more awards in the Directors Showcase of the 9th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition. This was announced at the Cinemalaya Awards night at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.
New Breed Full Length Feature category Best Film Transit, a film about the struggles of a Filipino migrant family in Israel, won for Hannah Espia the Best Direction Award. Irma Adlawan was named Best Actress for her role as a Filipino migrant mother while Jasmine Curtis Smith earned the Best Supporting Actress award. The cast of Transit which included Ping Medina, Mercedes Cabral and Marc Justine Alvarez received a Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting. In addition, Transit won the NETPAC Award and was named the Audience Choice. It also won the awards for Best Original Music Score (Mon Espia), Best Cinematography (Ber Cruz and Lyle Nemenzo Sacris) and Best Editing (Benjamin Tolentino and Hannah Espia).
Transit was cited “For its very powerful rendition of a Filipino migrant family in Israel whose members face threats of cultural dislodgment and capricious immigration policies, for treating sensitively the problems that confront them without mawkish melodrama, and for its highly competent use of the language of cinema to paint the challenging world of the Filipino OFW in the Middle East.”
Hannah Espia, the only woman director in the New Breed Full Length category, was cited “for poignantly capturing the dilemmas and struggles of Filipino migrant families abroad as they undergo not only economic hardships but social and cultural dislocation as well, for effectively employing all the resources of film to tell a compelling and very relevant story, and for emerging as a new voice in Philippine independent cinema.”
Directors Showcase Best Film Sana Dati, a love story about a woman whose wedding is thrown into disarray when a mysterious person arrives and reminds her of the man she really loves, won for Jerrold Tarog the Best Direction award and for TJ Trinidad the Best Supporting Actor award.
Sana Dati also bagged the awards for Best Sound (Roger TJ Ladro), Best Original Music Score (Jerrold Tarog), Best Editing (Pats R. Ranyo), Best Production Design (Ericson Navarro), Best Cinematography (Mackie Galvez).
Vilma Santos was named Best Actress for her role in Jeffrey Jeturian’s Ekstra in the Directors Showcase. She was cited “for her bold decision to deglamorize herself and take on the lowly role of the TV and movie bit player, for her moving portrayal of the unsung hero of show business, for the polish and aplomb with which she essayed the role, and for her powerful cinematic presence.”
Ekstra won the Special Jury Prize “for its poignant take on the lowly bit player, the unheralded hero of show business, whose contributions are often ignored in movie and TV credits, for its bittersweet evocation of the magic of cinema, and for its humor, pathos and sheer humanity.”; the Netpac Award for its “comedic but insightful and touching treatment of a day-in-the-life of a movie bit player, seamlessly woven in the production of a TV soap opera.”; and the Audience Choice Award.
Ekstra also won for Ruby Ruiz the Best Supporting Actress award and for Zig Dulay, Antoinette Jadaone and Jeffrey Jeturian the Best Screenplay award.
There was no Best Actor award given in the Directors Showcase.
The Best Actor award in the New Breed Full Length Feature category went to Mimi Juarez, who was considered in the male category even if she is a transgender woman. This award is for her role in Quick Change, where Juarez was cited “for his effective depiction of a dark character belonging to the criminal underworld, for his bold take on a gender-bending role, and for endowing his portrayal with the right mixture of repulsion and sympathy” (sic).
Quick Change, a story about a middle aged transsexual looking for her niche amid the complexities of the world she is in, won Special Jury Prize in the New Breed Full Length feature category “for its coruscating take on the criminal underworld, its effective employment of the resources of film language in evoking the dark world of illegal cosmetic surgery, and for its gripping tale of corruption and personal redemption.” Quick Change also won the Best Sound Award (Michael Idioma), and Best Screenplay (Eduardo Roy Jr.).
In the New Breed Full Length Category, Joey Paras won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Babagwa. He was recognized “for his effective portrayal of the accomplice of a con artist in an elaborate Internet scam, and for effectively endowing his character with the correct balance of repugnance and empathy.”
Rekorder by Mikhail Red won the Best Production Design award in the New Breed Full Length Category.
In the Short Feature category, Paolo O’Hara’s The Houseband’s Wife won Best Film and Best Screenplay while JE Tiglao won Best Direction for Onang. Adi Bontuyan’s Taya won Special Jury Prize and a Special Citation was given to Nica Santiago’s Sa Wakas.
Cinemalaya is a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Econolink Investments, Inc. and Film Development Council of the Philippines. It is an all-digital film festival that aims to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity.
Cinemalaya was held on July 26 to August 4 at the CCP, TriNoma, Greenbelt 3 and Alabang Town Center. Cinemalaya featured about 70 films on exhibition with twenty five in competition.