Outsiders once, indies now rule the film scene | Inquirer Entertainment

Outsiders once, indies now rule the film scene

/ 01:51 AM December 15, 2013

“We used to be outsiders, now the indies rule the scene,” remarked actor Joel Torre, one of the honorees in this year’s Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards, an annual tribute to internationally acclaimed Filipino filmmakers and actors.

A number of the country’s indie filmmakers, who changed the game in the local movie industry and reaped international awards, graced the Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards at the paper’s Makati office on Thursday.


The 28 honorees—picked on the paper’s 28th year—consist of a diverse, distinctive and distinguished bunch.


The acting awardees’ ages range from 9 to 89—the youngest being child star Barbara Miguel and the most senior, veteran actress Anita Linda.

The filmmakers, who straddle various genres and forms (from shorts to documentaries, from narrative features to animation), are united by a shared attribute: an unflinching and unyielding determination to dare and innovate, provoke and enlighten.

This year’s Indie Bravo! awardees are: (Actors) Nora Aunor for “Thy Womb”; Eddie Garcia,  “Bwakaw”; Linda, “Santa Niña”; Torre, “On The Job”; Jericho Rosales, “Alagwa”; Alessandra de Rossi, “Santa Niña”; Eugene Domingo, “Barber’s Tales”; Sandy Talag, “Lilet Never Happened”; Miguel, “Nuwebe”; and Bugoy Cariño, “Alagwa.”

(Filmmakers) Erik Matti, “On The Job”; Benito Bautista, “Harana”; Jun Robles Lana, “Bwakaw”; Kanakan Balintagos, “Baybayin”; Sheron Dayoc, “Mientras Su Durmida (As He Sleeps)”; Vincent Sandoval, “Aparisyon”; Lav Diaz, “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan”; Khavn de la Cruz, “Mondomanila”; Rommel Tolentino, “Nono”; Paul Sta. Ana, “Oros (The Coinbearer)”; Joey Agbayani, “Lola”; Dwein Baltazar, “Mamay Umeng”; Lawrence Fajardo, “Posas”; Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, “Ang Paghihintay sa Bulong”; Hannah Espia, “Transit”;  Gutierrez Mangansakan II, “Cartas de Soledad (Letters of Solitude)”; Emmanuel Quindo Palo, “Sta. Niña”; and Ian Loreños, “Alagwa.”

Joel Torre, Anita Linda and Barbara Miguel. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

Fitting tribute

Marixi R. Prieto, chair of the Inquirer, lauded the honorees in her speech, saying she is “deeply overwhelmed” by their prestigious international awards that brought pride and glory to our country.


“It is just fitting that we pay tribute to your hard work, creativity and courage to show the world both the beauty and ills of our society,” said Prieto.

“The Inquirer will sustain its advocacy to support the indie film scene; we will further fuel your passion and imagination. We will trumpet your accomplishments so that your stars will shine not only in foreign lands but proudly in our own country as well,” she added.

Now on its fourth year, the awards has always exuded a casual, convivial, collegial, consultative vibe, allowing the artists to openly discuss their concerns with the government officials in attendance.

True to the indies’ daring, innovative spirit, guest of honor Sen. Grace Poe urged the filmmakers to keep making films that show the harsh realities in our society.

“We can find inspiration in the grandest and most mundane things,” said Poe, former chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). “We don’t realize that we are also inspired by the things we abhor because these … push us to do better and rise above a deplorable situation.”

Poe, chair of the committee on public information and mass media, clarified that artists play a valuable role in society, keeping public officials like her on their toes.

Poe quipped: “As (rapper) Gloc-9 said, ‘Kayong mga nakaupo, subukan n’yo namang tumayo para masilayan n’yo ang tunay na kalagayan ng mga kababayan n’yo’ (Those occupying the seats of power should stand up, to see our countrymen’s real situation).”

In the first tribute in 2010, indie filmmakers shared their problems with Poe.

The interaction resulted in reforms in the MTRCB that benefited the indie film sector in particular and the movie industry in general.

In his speech, current MTRCB Chair Eugenio Villareal recalled that the agency “under the watch of former chair, Senator Poe, initiated the 70-percent review discount to qualified indies. (Indie films get a discount in their review fees with the board.) Presently, we are studying a possible increase in the minimum budget requirement to equitably expand its application.”

Villareal said the honorees’ “success does us proud and fills us with hope for a truly robust and globally competitive Filipino film industry.”

He said the MTRCB has formed an independent film hub as well, as part of their continuing film literacy program. “We screen indie films like ‘Transit’ and ‘Sana Dati’ in our digital theater called Pribyuhan,” he said.

He said the MTRCB also plans to integrate indies into its Matalinong Panonood campaigns, student field trip modules and coming TV program.

Briccio Santos, chair of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), said indie filmmaking “has expanded to all parts of the country—from Pampanga to General Santos City, from Iloilo to Naga. The Inquirer has contributed to this development, especially with the Indie Bravo! Awards.”


Constant supporters

Santos and Poe were present in the first tribute in 2010. Through the years, they have been constant supporters of the annual Inquirer party for indies.

Santos recalled the landmark memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the MTRCB and FDCP forged under Poe’s term. “The MOA benefited the country’s different festival events, including the first Inquirer Indie Bravo! Film Festival.”

The FDCP is the Inquirer’s partner in the inaugural fest held at MyCinema of Greenbelt 3 in Makati from Dec. 9 to 11.

Speaker Nes Jardin, Cinemalaya Foundation president, said indie filmmakers “have shown the world that Filipinos have countless stories to tell … stories that define us as a people, stories that truthfully portray our society and stories that depict our hopes and aspirations for our country.”

He said despite the “numerous challenges” faced by indie filmmakers—including financial, production, distribution, legal matters—they have “plodded on and continued to produce films we are all proud of.”

This year’s event attracted foreign guests: actor James Monson from the United States; film journalist Andreas Kloo from Germany; film editor Andrej Fabra from Slovakia; filmmaker Jeremy Comte from Canada; and aspiring director Bash Lory from the United Kingdom/Spain.

Comte told the Inquirer that he attended this year’s awards to see the local indie scene, which, he said, turned out to be “big and bustling.”

Inquirer Entertainment editor Emmie G. Velarde told the honorees that the Indie Bravo! was launched last year as a regular section that reports on independent filmmakers’ international awards.

“Now, it comes out in the paper almost every day and we couldn’t be happier. Thank you for accepting our offer to be the indies’ media home and thank you for proving us right about looking in your direction,” she said.


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