Alberto Monteras II’s RESPETO, an exploration of the Pinoy hiphop underground world where a young aspiring rapper and a Martial Law poet cross paths, won seven awards at the 13th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival Awards Night at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Respeto won Best Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Sound, Best Editing, the 2017 NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema) Award and the Audience Choice Award.

The film shared the Best Cinematography Award with another full length feature Joseph Israel Laban’s filmBaconaua, which garnered two major prizes—the Special Jury Prize and Best Direction award.

Respeto was cited “for its infectious, propulsive energy, its highly convincing cast of characters and very effective ensemble acting, its breathtaking, nearly epic sweep of the underside of Manila, its expert application of the resources of cinema to depict a teenager’s drive to rise above poverty and violence, its cogent melding of contemporary rap and traditional oral literature, and its sheer humanity and coruscating poetry.”

The NETPAC jury praised the film “for tackling the complex issue of human rights violation across two generations, musically connected by the vibrant and socially-conscious use of language.”

Best supporting actor Dido de La Paz was lauded “for his powerful portrayal of an old man haunted by the demons of his past and compelled to adjust to the present.”

Corinne De San Jose garnered the Best Sound award “for the impressive evocation of the din and blare of the underside of Manila, and the effective conjuring of the roar and tumult of the hip-hop underworld” while the Best Editing Award went to Lawrence Ang.

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Respeto‘s Ike Avellana and Baconaua’s TM Malones shared the Best Cinematography award for their “powerful application of light and shadow and effective rendering of shots and images.”

Respeto bested 8 other films in the Full Length Feature category.  As Best Film winner, Respeto garnered Php350,000 cash award and the Cinemalaya Balanghai trophy.

Baconaua, based on an actual story of how one morning after a particularly strong squall, a sleepy fishing village woke up to the astonishing sight of the sea that had turned red, was acclaimed for director Joseph Laban’s “effective summoning of the resources of cinema to depict a sleepy fishing village reeling from the auguries of superstition while confronting the ugly specter of crime and violence.”

Angeli Bayani won Best Actress for her role in Bagahe by Zig Dulay while Noel Comia Jr.  and Yayo Aguila landed the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards respectively for their work in Kiko Boksingero by Thop Nazareno.

Bayani was hailed for her role as an OFW suspected of dumping a newborn child in the trash bin of an airplane toilet; Comia for his heartrending performance of a boy grieving for his mother while trying to win the love of his estranged father; and Aguila for her endearing portrayal of the nanny who tries to soothe her ward’s loneliness.

Bagahe also won the Best Screenplay award for Zig Dulay while Kiko Boksingero bagged Best Musical Score for Pepe Manikan.  Nabubulok won Best Production Design for Marxie Maolen Fadul.

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In the short feature category, the Best Film award went to Hilom by P.R. Patindol while Fatima Marie Torres and the Invasion of Space Shuttle Pinas 25 by Carlo Francisco Manatad won the Special Jury Prize.  Aliens Ata by Karl Glenn Barit scooped up the 2017 NETPAC Award; Best Direction went to E Del Mundo for her Manong ng Pa-Aling and Duwi Monteagudo won Best Screenplay for Bawod.  The Audience Choice Award was given to Marvin Cabangunay and Jaynus Olaivar’s Nakauwi Na.  Best Short Film winner Hilom won Php150,000 cash award and the Cinemalaya Balanghai trophy.

In this year’s Cinemalaya, nine films competed in the Full Length Feature category.  These were:  Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa (My Teacher Who Doesn’t Know How To Read) by Perry Escaño; Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha(The Family That Doesn’t Weep) by Mes de Guzman; Baconaua by Joseph Israel Laban; Bagahe (The Baggage) by Zig Dulay; Nabubulok (The Decaying) by Sonny Calvento; Kiko Boksingero by Thop Nazareno; Requited by Nerissa Picadizo; Respeto by Alberto Monteras II; and, Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig (Clouds of Plague) by Iar Lionel Benjamin Arondaing.

For the first time in Cinemalaya history, there were 12 short films, instead of the usual 10, that competed. These were:  Aliens Ata (Maybe Aliens) by Karl Glenn Barit; Bawod (Bent) by TM Malones; Fatima Marie Torres and the Invasion of Space Shuttle Pinas 25 by Carlo Francisco Manatad; Hilom (Still) by P.R. Patindol; Islabodan (Free Men) by Juan Carlo Tarobal; Juana and the Sacred Shores by Antonne Santiago; Lola Loleng (Grandma Loleng) by Jean Cheryl Tagyamon; Manong ng Pa-Aling (Man of Pa-Aling) by E del Mundo; Maria by JP Habac Jr.; Nakauwi Na by Marvin Cabangunay and Jaynus Olaivar; Nakaw by Arvin Belarmino and Noel Escondo; and Sorry For The Inconvenience by Carl Adrian Chavez.

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Members of the Main Competition Jury were Padmashri Dr. Girish Kasaravalli, Freddie Wong, Sheron Dayoc, Lee Briones-Meily and Joselito “Lito” B. Zulueta.

In the NETPAC Jury were Ismail Basbeth, Tsengel Davaasambuu and Ricardo Lee.

Now in its 13th year, Cinemalaya has supported and promoted the production of 136 full feature independent films and 116 short films. Many of these films have won awards in local and international competitions and festivals. Through the annual festival, Cinemalaya has showcased over 1,000 works by independent filmmakers including full feature films, shorts, documentaries, Filipino film classics, and art films. Cinemalaya this year was held at the CCP and Ayala Theaters in Greenbelt 3 and Glorietta, Makati, Fairview Terraces, TriNoma, and UP Town Center, Quezon City, and Marquee Mall in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Cinemalaya is a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, the Cultural Center of the Philippines in partnership with Ayala Malls Cinemas.  Established in 2005, Cinemalaya is an all-digital film festival and competition that aims to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers.