Filipino director Loy Arcenas shares top honors in Busan filmfest
FIRST-TIME Filipino director Loy Arcenas shared top honors with an Iranian director at this year’s Busan International Film Festival.
Arcenas’ “Niño,” a story of how a family is pulled apart by greed, tied for first prize with Iranian Morteza Farshbaf’s gripping “Mourning” at Asia’s largest cinematic event that showcased more than 300 productions from all over the world.
It is the first time for the country to be accorded the top prize in the Busan festival, which drew to a close on Friday after nine days packed with screenings.
In previous years, the country brought home from Busan a Special Mention (GB Sampedro’s “Astig” in 2009) and the Audience Award (Chris Martinez’s “100” in 2008) from Busan.
Actress Raquel Villavicencio, who is in the cast of “Niño,” told the Inquirer: “It is an exquisite film. It deserves all the accolades it has been receiving. I’m honored to be part of this masterpiece.”
Villavicencio’s costar Shamaine Centera-Buencamino said it felt “wonderful” that their film had been recognized and that it offered further proof of “how excellent Filipinos are, especially in the arts.”
Fellow actor Art Acuña pointed out: “I’m thrilled but not surprised that it won,” he said, adding that it was an exceptional film.
“Niño” also won Special Jury Prize and Best Supporting Actor (for Acuña) and Supporting Actress (for Buencamino) at this year’s Cinemalaya.
Wire reports quoted Chinese director Yonfan, who headed the jury for the Busan festival’s main New Currents award, as saying “the standard of productions we have seen here this year has been outstanding,”
“It is an indication that Asian cinema is very healthy and there is a vast collection of very talented people out there making films today,” Yonfan added.
That talent pool was reflected in the 13 films from 12 countries which contested this year’s New Currents award, which offered two prizes of $30,000 and was open to first- and second-time Asian directors.
The Mangesh Hadawale-directed “Watch Indian Circus” picked up the festival’s audience award after delighting packed houses with its mix of comedy and savage social commentary as it followed the ups and downs of an impoverished couple as they try to find the funds to treat their children to a night out.
Away from the main award, Korean cinema was out in full force, with a wildly diverse collection of productions. With AFP
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