All-star indies rule Urian
Critics group laud edgy, free cinema
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Credit goes to the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, the oldest critics’ group in the country, for being able to gather its major winners for the awards ceremony held at the NBC Tent in Taguig City on Tuesday night.
All four acting winners turned up at the 36th Gawad Urian—which cannot be said of an earlier awards show that failed to attract big stars.
Top winners—best actress Nora Aunor (“Thy Womb”), actor Jericho Rosales (“Alagwa”), supporting actress Alessandra de Rossi (“Santa Niña”) and supporting actor Art Acuña (“Posas”)—personally received their trophies.
It is Aunor’s seventh Urian. She was the Manunuri’s first best actress in 1976 for Mario O’Hara’s “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos.”
Aunor told the Inquirer: “Super happy po ako. Malaking karangalan na manalo sa ibang bansa, pero mas masarap pa rin na kilalanin ng sarili mong mga kababayan (It’s a great honor to win abroad, but still better to be cited by your countrymen).”
Directed by Brillante Ma. Mendoza, “Thy Womb” recently won special mention at the Granada film fest in Spain. Aunor won best actress in Hong Kong and Brisbane for her role.
Mendoza won the best production design Urian trophy for “Thy Womb” on Tuesday.
Acuña, another repeat winner, won best supporting actor last year for “Niño.” Said Acuña: “To win twice … means I’m learning and growing and that the critics validate that.”
Rosales, a first-time Urian honoree like De Rossi, told the Inquirer: “Fifteen years in the making—it’s awesome… truly a milestone in my career. Like other awards, this is important to me because it brings hope to the industry. Our hard work is honored and valued.”
He earlier received an outstanding achievement in acting citation for Ian Loreños’ “Alagwa” at the Newport Beach film fest.
De Rossi said she had already felt like a winner with three nominations. “The award is just a bonus.”
Aunor has kept some of her previous (six) Urian trophies. She said the latest was now displayed in the living room of her condo unit.
Rosales said he would likewise display his Urian trophy in his living room “where my family can see it, then I will move it to my studio.”
Apart from the acting prizes, the creative and technical awards were also won by indies.
“Clearly, edgier and more compelling cinema is generated by indies who have free rein [of their work],” said Manunuri member Roland Tolentino.
Named best film was “Ang Paglalakbay ng mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim,” directed by Davao-based Arnel Mardoquio. “I think this is the first time for a Mindanaoan film to win… I am proud and happy.”
Adolfo B. Alix Jr., best director for “Mater Dolorosa,” described the prize as a “pleasant” surprise. “To be in the same roster as the directors I admire is an honor in itself,” he said. “Mater” is a tribute to his mother, who nurtured his love for cinema. “She allowed me to watch old films on TV,” Alix said.
Another Alix film, “Kalayaan,” won best editing for Aleks Castañeda.
Other Urian winners this year: Mes de Guzman, best screenplay for “Diablo”; Whammy Alcazaren and Sasha Palomares, best cinematography, “Colossal”; Willy Fernandez and Lav Diaz, best sound, “Florentina Hubaldo CTE”; and Diwa de Leon, best music, “Baybayin.”
The Natatanging Gawad Urian was given to veteran actress Mila del Sol, who started in the movies in 1939.
Best documentary went to Benito Bautista’s “Harana” while Remton Siega Zuasola’s “Ritmo” was declared best short.
Said Bautista: “[Winning an Urian] is humbling and doubly inspiring.”
The 36th Gawad Urian will be aired on Cinema One tomorrow, 3 p.m. and 11 p.m., and on Sunday, 10 p.m.
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