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On its 30th anniversary, the Inquirer throws a pre-Christmas party for 30 film artists

entertainment / Indie
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Night of ‘indie’-genius and Guyito fever

On its 30th anniversary, the Inquirer throws a pre-Christmas party for 30 film artists

About 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the 6th Indie Bravo! Awards last Thursday at Inquirer’s multipurpose hall, the company’s chair, Marixi R. Prieto, looked at the empty seats and surmised, “Oh, they’re probably still stuck in the traffic.”

Indeed, many of the guests were delayed by the monstrous jam that was reported in the news the following night. Still they trooped to the paper’s Makati office and filled the venue.

In her speech, actress Aiko Melendez, who won in London and Manhattan for “Asintado,” jested that she was still feeling a little dizzy from enduring the horrible traffic.

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Melendez thanked producers and directors and said she hoped they would never tire of making films.

She considered the Indie Bravo! trophy and the Guyito stuffed toy an “early Christmas gift and birthday present.” The actress’ birthday is on Dec. 16.

While trophies this year took on a new colorful design by Inquirer graphic artist Sam Calleja, it was the Guyito stuffed toy, which now sports overalls, that remained the most coveted souvenir among the guests. Guyito is the paper’s carabao mascot.

“Everyone’s been thanking the Inquirer,” said acclaimed filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik. “But let me thank Guyito,” he added, putting the microphone close to stuffed animal’s mouth. The paper honored Tahimik for his Berlin triumph in February.

Producer-director Perci Intalan, who was honored this year for his debut film “Dementia,” has been a regular presence at the event, usually to accompany his husband and fellow filmmaker, Jun Robles Lana—who was also honored this year for his triple victory in Vladivostok.

This time, Intalan has his own award and Guyito. “I no longer have to share with Jun,” he quipped. Intalan also accepted the award of Lana, who is in Kerala, India, for yet another film fest.

Meanwhile, Real Florido, who won in the United Kingdom and Canada for “1st Ko si Third,” put it succinctly: “Ang cute ni Guyito!”

It was a night for movie and music lovers as well.

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For the first time a music scorer was honored. Awardee Teresa Barrozo won in Sitges for her work in “Kinatay.” Another first was the prize for film editor. It went to Benjamin Tolentino (who won in Malaysia for “Bendor”).

Singer Noel Cabangon opened the ceremony with two songs from the movies: “Ang Buhay Nga Naman” from Soxie Topacio’s “Ded na si Lolo,” and Jose F. Lacaba and Ding Achacoso’s “Sangandaan” from “Sister Stella L.”

Cooky Chua and Bayang Barrios also performed original Pilipino music: Gary Granada’s “Uunahin Ko Kayo” and Mike Villegas’ “Harinawa.”

The setup inside the venue was relatively spruced up, too. There were moving headlights! But the atmosphere, as always, was genial, intimate, and at the same time, crackling with the awardees’ combined talents. And it was apparent that everyone in the cramped hall treated each other more than industry colleagues: They were, more importantly, fans.

Tahimik made giddy fan boys out of acting honorees Richard Gomez and Sid Lucero.

Young filmmaker Carlo Enciso Catu, who was cited for “Ari (My Life with a King),” was as thrilled about the Indie Bravo! trophy as he was excited about having a photo taken with Lucero. In his speech, Catu said he wanted a picture with Lucero, who generously granted the young filmmaker’s request.

Another popular guest among snapshot hunters was “Heneral Luna” himself, John Arcilla, who regaled the audience with impassioned song numbers: Bienvenido Lumbera and Ryan Cayabyab’s “Nanaginip ang Puso” (from “Noli”) and Cayabyab and Jovy Miroy’s “Kung Minsan” (from “Fili”).

The program ran for two hours, with each minute filled with laughter, rousing music and an overwhelming sense of camaraderie. But more than the frequent eruption of cheers and praises, what made the Inquirer Indie Bravo! an important celebration, said Florido, is its commitment to support Filipino films and filmmakers.

“Thank you, Inquirer, for encouraging us to tell more stories!” Florido said.

Tahimik, whose real name is Eric de Guia, showed his appreciation by gifting the Inquirer with a bamboo camera, which he said was “a metaphor for the Filipino POV (point of view).” He then challenged young filmmakers to “stay out of formulae… to respect the ‘indie-genius’ culture and its strengths.”

He likewise posted a challenge to the Inquirer to make sure that “the voice of the people will not be stifled.”

Meanwhile, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) executive director Mike de la Rosa commended young indie filmmakers for “capturing the true human spirit” in their movies and the Inquirer for recognizing “the “immense talent of Filipino filmmakers and actors.”

De la Rosa then announced the opening of another cinematheque, located in Manila, and the FDCP film museum this month. The other FDCP cinematheques—located in Baguio, Iloilo, Davao and Zamboanga—regularly offer free film screenings.

Other speakers included former Entertainment editor Emmie G. Velarde and Cinemalaya festival director Chris Millado (who is also vice president and artistic director of the Cultural Center of the

Philippines).

Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) Chair Eugenio Villareal sent a video message. (It was the government agency’s Christmas party that same night.)

It was also a time for some guests to try other careers.

Ormoc City Rep. Lucy Torres, wife of honoree Gomez, was her husband’s official photographer that night; actress Bing Pimentel was her son Lucero’s shutterbug. Screenwriter-director Clodualdo del Mundo was both escort and photographer to daughter-honoree Ida Anita del Mundo.

In her acceptance speech, the young Del Mundo said “people always ask me how it’s like to be following in my father’s footsteps. Now, I got ahead of him; I already have a Guyito.”

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TAGS: Aiko Melendez, Filipino films, Guyito, Indie Bravo Awards, Indie Bravo!, Inquirer, Kidlat Tahimik, Percy Intalan, Richard Gomez
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