Woman power wins most awards at CineFilipino fest
HELD in time for Women’s Month, the CineFilipino Film Festival awards show was a night that celebrated girl power in Philippine cinema.
Indie films—focusing on strong and admirable women characters or directed, written, shot and edited by female filmmakers—dominated the full-length feature film section of the second CineFilipino fest held Saturday night at the Kia Theatre in Cubao, Quezon City.
“It’s empowering,” said Candy Pangilinan, who tied for best actress with Angeli Bayani. “I am so glad to see fellow women express their thoughts and get recognized for it.”
Pangilinan won for portraying the valiant mother of a child with Down syndrome in “Star na si Van Damme Stallone.” Bayani won for playing a lesbian tattoo artist who wants to get pregnant in “Ned’s Project.”
“It’s about time for female voices to be heard, for female directors, cinematographers and editors to tell their stories,” Bayani told the Inquirer. “I am sure they will bring a whole new dimension to the indie film industry.”
“I feel so empowered, that I can do anything,” said Ice Idanan, who won two trophies for her work in “Sakaling Hindi Makarating.” She won best director and tied for best cinematographer with another female director of photography, Tey Clamor, who won for “Ned’s Project.”
Lemuel Lorca, director of the best film winner “Ned’s Project,” was ecstatic about the impressive performance of women at the fest, which was spearheaded by Unitel, PLDT-Smart Foundation, MediaQuest and TV5, among other companies.
“It proves the diversity of Philippine cinema,” Lorca said. “I’m really happy that different voices and points of view are now represented.”
“Ned’s Project” also won best production design (JP Sapitula), screenplay (John Bedia) and supporting actress (Max Eigenmann).
Lorca recalled how his cinematographer Clamor defied the odds, performing death-defying stunts like “hanging from the roof of a moving bus to get the perfect shot.”
Idanan said well-meaning friends advised her to hire another person as cinematographer for her film, but she persisted. “It’s a great gift because I always doubted myself. But it turned out that I can do both.”
Idanan’s directorial debut “Sakaling Hindi Makarating” brought home five other trophies: second best picture, best actor (for Pepe Herrera); musical score (Mon Espia); sound (Raffy Magsaysay); and editor (Hannah Espia who is the same young female filmmaker behind the Cinemalaya 2013 winner “Transit”).
The third best picture was Randolph Longjas’ “Star na si Van Damme Stallone,” which also won best supporting actor for 13-year-old Isaac Aguirre.
“The jury did notice the significant role played by women in front of and behind the camera. Moreover, the themes of the majority of the movies centered on the strength of women. But these films didn’t resort to the clichéd melodramatic templates exhausted in other local media,” said filmmaker and competition head Jose Javier Reyes.
‘Story is still king’
Filmmaker and jury member Peque Gallaga said it was the story—genderless and yet insightful—that won the day. “All the entries had great concepts, but what spelled the difference for the three films that topped the festival was the storytelling. As the tagline of CineFilipino says: ‘Story is still king.’”
Or, in this case, the story was “queen” of the night.
The second CineFilipino fest wraps up on March 22.
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