Big night for PH at Asean Fest
Ai-Ai delas Alas was initially skeptical when she had heard the good news. She couldn’t believe she won best actress for “Area” at the 3rd Asean International Film Festival and Awards (Aiffa) held in Kuching, Malaysia, on Saturday night.
“Grabe! Natulala ako,” she told the Inquirer. The usually loquacious comedienne was stunned speechless.
The reality only hit her after receiving a call from “Area” director Louie Ignacio, who attended the event.
Ignacio recalled that Delas Alas was sobbing on the other end of the line.
“It was my first time to win in an Asian film festival,” explained Delas Alas, who was not able to travel to Kuching because she was promoting her latest comedy film, “Our Mighty Yaya,” in Manila. “Aiffa was the same event where Jackie Chan was honored two years ago. I only used to watch his movies!”
Delas Alas turned introspective. “God is so good to me. I don’t know what else I can do to give all this glory back to Him. I’m so blessed. Perhaps all I can do in return is to be good and do good.”
Ignacio related that the Aiffa had been an extremely “stressful” event for him because two of his movies (“Area” and “Laut”) were in competition.
“In my speech, I thanked my fellow Filipino filmmakers who were in Malaysia, the entire team Philippines,” he recounted. “We were there not as individual directors; we represented the entire Philippine movie industry—so that our neighbors would know more about us.”
According to Ignacio, the Filipino contingent stood as one and supported each other throughout the fest.
Ignacio won best director for “Area,” while Ana Capri received the best supporting actress award for Ignacio’s other entry, “Laut.”
Capri told the Inquirer that she was “thankful for the chance to represent and give pride to the country.”
She was all set to join the Aiffa, but was sidelined by an illness. She expressed gratitude to her director Ignacio and echoed his sentiments regarding their producer Baby F. Go’s unwavering support for indie movies.
Another Filipino, Ricky Davao, scored the best supporting actor award for Bor Ocampo’s “Dayang Asu.”
Davao, who was not able to attend the Aiffa because of his work as a director (in the GMA 7 series, “Legally Blind”), told the Inquirer: “This honor is a reminder that I am still an actor, in spite of my hectic schedule as a director.”
He insisted that he would never give up acting. “I still get an actor’s high on the set.”
He dedicated the award to his late father, character actor Charlie Davao, and his four kids, whom he described as “my biggest fans and critics.” He shared the trophy with his fellow Filipino nominees in the category, Bembol Roco (“Pauwi Na”) and Bernardo Bernardo (“Imbisibol”), “actors I admire.”
Lawrence Fajardo bagged best editing for his work in the film he also directed “Imbisibol.” A special citation was also accorded to Lav Diaz’s “Ang Babaeng Humayo,” which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival last year.
This year, the country received a record haul of 18 nominations, bringing home six trophies during glitzy rites held at the Grand Ballroom of the Pullman Hotel in Kuching on Saturday night.
In 2015, the country got 17 nods and collected five trophies—including a Lifetime Achievement award for Nora Aunor and a best actress honor for Cherie Gil. Aunor and Gil graced this year’s awards ceremony, with last year’s Cannes best actress Jaclyn Jose.
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