Ian Veneracion wins best actor in Portugal

Ian Veneracion in “Ilawod”.

The Philippines’ Ian Veneracion won best actor for Dan Villegas’ “Ilawod” at the 38th Oporto International Film Festival, held in Portugal from Feb. 20 to March 4.

Also known as Fantasporto, the Portuguese fest invited three Filipino movies this year. Apart from “Ilawod,”another horror film, Prime Cruz’s “Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B,” also competed in the fest’s Fantasy films category. Meanwhile, Joel Lamangan’s gritty urban drama “Bhoy Intsik” was included in the Directors’ Week section.

Scene from “Bhoy Intsik”

All three Filipino films vied for top honors in the Orient Express competition, too. Lamangan’s “Bhoy Intsik” won the Special Jury Award in the Orient Express section.

The good news on Veneracion’s victory was relayed to the Inquirer by the producer of “Ilawod,” Joji Alonso. “Ian is such an underrated actor. I am so happy for his triumph because he really delivered in this movie,” said Alonso.

In Villegas’ film, Veneracion plays the head of a family that’s tormented by a vengeful water spirit.

The Fantasporto, which aims to “promote high-quality independent cinema and a new generation of filmmakers,” is rated by Variety as one of the “25 leading festivals in the world.”

In 2015, Richard Gomez won best actor for Michael Tuviera’s “The Janitor” in the Directors’ Week tilt, while Roderick Cabrido’s “Children’s Show” won the Special Jury honor in the Orient Express section of Fantasporto.

The annual event showcases “all kinds of films, all genres” and seeks to attract “all audiences.” /cbb