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Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards: Keep the fire burning

/ 12:20 AM December 09, 2017

In its eight years, the Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards has seen the full blossoming of the local independent filmmaking scene. But, of course, it didn’t just start eight years ago, or in 2005, when the paper’s Entertainment section first decided to vigorously champion the indie cause.

Filmmaker Paolo Villaluna, in his first acceptance speech in 2010, dedicated the trophy to his mentors and inspirations because, he said, “we stand on the shoulders of giants.” (Villaluna is honored again this year for “Pauwi Na.”)

First, a brief explanation on the name. Indie Bravo! is the title of this section’s regular feature that reports on the achievements of Filipino filmmakers in the international circuit. The reportage has never revolved around the validation given by foreigners, but has always been regarded as a celebration of Filipino artistry and talent.

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Atom Magadia, a first-time honoree this year for “Dagsin,” put it succinctly: “The Inquirer Indie Bravo! is a unique platform that celebrates the international accomplishments of Filipino filmmakers. To me, by virtue of its name, the award is a distinct honor which references the early triumphs of our nation’s revolutionary Founding Fathers abroad, particularly in the arts.”

Lotlot de Leon and Tommy Abuel in “Dagsin”

Like the Indios Bravos of the 19th century, this present generation’s artists are traveling to distant lands, to share the Filipino story—a narrative of resistance, a tale of struggle and hope.

Magadia asserted: “As an indie filmmaker, this distinction inflames and impassions me to forge on, to gain new ground for our cinema and our unique Filipino stories beyond our shores!”

Through the years, Inquirer Indie Bravo! has been evolving and expanding—like the filmmaking community itself.

From directors (both veterans and neophytes), the honor roll has opened up to include actors and other members of the collective—a scriptwriter, producers, a music scorer, cinematographers and a costume designer.

The citations, which are not competitive and are culled from the Indie Bravo! reports all-year-round, have also included not just full-length features, but also short films and documentaries. This year, there’s a live action-animated film (“Saving Sally”) on the roster.

Rhian Ramos in “Saving Sally”

Avid Liongoren, “Saving Sally” director, remarked: “As a first-time and small-time movie producer, I am immensely thankful for the support Indie Bravo! has given to our tiny little film.”

Baby Ruth Villarama, who is awarded for the second time for “Sunday Beauty Queen,” related: “For someone trying to create documentary films in a country where there are so many real-life stories yet very little support [in marketing and distributing these films], the Inquirer Indie Bravo! award feels like a tap on the shoulder and an encouragement to carry on and move the dream forward. Nothing is sweeter than to escape to the movie theaters (or our home entertainment systems) and see the beautiful truth unfold on the big screen.”

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“Sunday Beauty Queen”

Actress Iza Calzado, a first-time honoree for “Bliss,” pointed out: “In the United States, independently produced [movies] are distributed by big companies. My dream is for the masses to truly get and appreciate that which we call ‘indie’ … like ‘Smaller and Smaller Circles’ being appreciated by … Aling Tasing.”

Iza Calzado in “Bliss”

Calzado, who has been doing indie films for a decade (long before it became all the rage among actors), explained: “I’ve always valued cinema as cinema. My choices have often been material-driven. I always thought mainstream and indie were of the same value. It’s not the box office that I look at, but the role and film itself.”

Actress Lotlot de Leon, a second-time recipient for “1st Sem,” volunteered: “It sounds like a cliché, but it is an honor and it really means a lot because I work hard and take my job seriously. To be recognized by the Inquirer … which gives the most unbiased and honest reviews, gives meaning to the word ‘deserving.’ And to stand alongside those who have given honor to our country through indie films!”

Cannes-winning director Brillante Ma Mendoza, who is feted this year for “Ma’ Rosa,” told the Inquirer: “Nirerecognize ng Inquirer Indie Bravo! ang lahat ng Filipino filmmaker na nagbibigay ng karangalan sa ating bansa. Wala kasing maliit o malaki na karangalan. Ang karangalan ay iisa. Saludo ako at kaisa ng Inquirer sa pagbigay-halaga sa artistang Pilipino na patuloy sa paggawa ng makabuluhang pelikula sa buong mundo.”

Jaclyn Jose in “Ma’ Rosa”

The Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards will be held at the newspaper’s main office in Makati on Monday, Dec. 11. The event can also be viewed live @inquirerdotnet on Facebook and Twitter and @inqpop on Facebook and Twitter. Updates will also be posted @InqEnt Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.

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TAGS: Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards, local independent filmmaking, Paolo Villaluna
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