Stunners, shockers at Urian 2011
MANILA, Philippines—Best supporting actress winner Rosanna Roces (for “Presa”) mouthed an expletive when her name was called.
Joem Bascon looked stunned when he went up the stage to receive the best supporting actor trophy for “Noy.”
Sid Lucero, best actor (“Muli”), was incredulous and said the honor came too soon—after all, he had just won in 2007 for “Selda.”
These stunners and shockers captured succinctly the mood at the 34th Urian Awards, held at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City on Tuesday night.
Handed out by the country’s oldest critics’ group Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, the Urian has always championed indie films and filmmakers for the past decade or more (proof is that all 10 films in the Manunuri’s “Decade’s Best” from 2000 to 2009 are by indie filmmakers).
This year, all the nominees are from the indie scene. It was a virtual lockout; not a single mainstream movie was spotlighted. (Although Star Cinema was behind “Noy,” it was infused with indie spirit through stars Coco Martin and Cherry Pie Picache—Urian Decade’s Best Performers, along with Gina Pareño.)
It was a strong message to the movie industry from the local critics’ group.
As expected, films from the provinces dominated the race.
“Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria,” set in Cebu, won four trophies: Best film, music (Jerrold Tarog), cinematography (Christian Linaban) and director (Remton Siega Zuasola).
Shot in one long take, “Damgo,” which won special jury prize at the Jeonju fest recently, follows a mail-order bride as she prepares for her trip to Germany.
Arnel Mardoquio’s “Sheika” won best screenplay
(for Mardoquio), editing (Willie Apa Jr. and Arthur Ian Garcia) and actress (Dubai-based singer and the film’s producer Fe GingGing Hyde).
Regional films won best sound (Dempster Samarista for “Limbunan”) and production design (Rodell Cruz for “Amigo”), too.
Roland Tolentino, chair of the critics’ group, told the Inquirer: “The year 2010 witnessed a bountiful harvest of indie films, especially the diverse films from the regions.”
Six of the nine nominated films for best picture were made by directors based in the provinces: “Halaw” by Sheron Dayo
c of Zamboanga; “Sheika” by Mardoquio of Davao; “Limbunan” by Gutierrez Mangansakan II of Maguindanao; “Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria” by Zuasola of Cebu; and “Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Yelo” by Mes de Guzman of Nueva Ecija.
Even “Amigo,” directed by US indie filmmaker John Sayles, was shot in Bohol and features local talents.
“Mainstream cinema [seems] unresponsive to growing critical audiences who want more … Indie films are filling this void,” Tolentino remarked.
Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature and Manunuri member, pointed out: The sweep could only mean that “indie filmmakers are making more interesting and meaningful movies and that their mainstream counterparts have not unlearned their tired formulas for supposedly crowd-pleasing entertainment.”
Manunuri Lito Zulueta, arts editor for the Inquirer, noted that the indie sweep “reaffirms the hope and enthusiasm initially ascribed to the indie vision.”
This development signals “exciting times ahead,” Zulueta said. “It’s notable that indie cinema has unleashed a centrifugal creative force that enables artists and filmmakers from the regions and the periphery to craft their own works, based on narratives and materials that are rooted in their moment and milieu.”
This marks a new beginning for local movies, he added. “We’re now seeing the birth of regional cinema, so that Philippine cinema—national at that—has to contend with ‘lokal’ visions now.”
Best short film went to Pam Miras’ “Wag Kang Titingin”; documentary to Monster Jimenez’s “ Kano.” The Natatanging Gawad Urian was given to scriptwriter Jose F. Lacaba.
The awards show airs tonight, 10 p.m. on cable TV channel Cinema One.
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