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Indie Bravo!

PH films win big in Malaysia

Pepe Smith in “Singing in Graveyards”

Pepe Smith in “Singing in Graveyards”

Two Filipino productions won big at the 2017 Malaysia International Film Festival and Malaysia Golden Global Awards, held at the Arena of Stars, ResortsWorld Genting, Malaysia, on March 5.

Bradley Liew’s “Singing in Graveyards,” which topbills Filipino rock icon Pepe Smith, bagged the best film honor, while Brillante Ma Mendoza won best director for “Ma’ Rosa,” which stars Cannes best actress Jaclyn Jose.

Liew, who is originally from Malaysia, told the Inquirer: “When they announced it, we couldn’t believe it, as the nominees’ list was insanely competitive. It was surreal. But [producer] Bianca [Balbuena] and I couldn’t be happier.”

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The win is made more poignant because it is the film’s “Malaysian homecoming,” Liew explained. “I’m so glad that both the Malaysian audience and the international jury were able to connect with the film. Hats off to my crew, the cast and, of course, to the man himself, Pepe Smith!”

Mendoza quipped: “I am happy and surprised at the same time. I didn’t know that the film was in competition.”

Mendoza told the Inquirer last Monday that he was headed to Malaysia, with “Ma’ Rosa” lead star Jose. “We will attend the press conference for the commercial screening of ’Ma’ Rosa’ there. I am glad we have good news to share with the press.”

Jaclyn Jose in “Ma’ Rosa”

Jaclyn Jose in “Ma’ Rosa”

The Malaysia Golden Global Awards seeks to “involve filmmakers from the Asian region  … to provide opportunities and an accessible platform … at a local and international level … to champion new creative talents [and] to reward excellent films and filmmakers.”

The two Filipino productions competed with such Oscar-caliber films as Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” (which won the Academy’s best foreign language film this year) and Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann.”

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