Triple whammy in Italy
It was the winningest weekend for Philippine cinema, when the country won awards in three competitions held in Italy in early September.
Apart from Lav Diaz’s Golden Lion for “Ang Babaeng Humayo” in the main section of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, Eduardo Roy Jr.’s “Pamilya Ordinaryo” won the BNL Audience Award at the 13th Venice Days while Allen Dizon was declared best actor for Mel Chionglo’s “Iadya Mo Kami” at the 13th Salento International Film Festival, held in Tricase, Italy.
Roy told the Inquirer that he was “surprised” to bag the prize, sponsored by the Bank National Labor. “But I’m also glad because it serves as validation…a pat on the back for all our sacrifices. In spite of the tag ‘poverty porn,’ our film was loved and embraced by many, especially the Italian audience, who stayed on and participated in the Q&A after the screening.”
“Professionally,” Roy acknowledged that international awards would “open doors and present more opportunities” to him. “On a personal level, it thrills me to make my parents proud.”
He pointed out that it’s now commonplace for Filipino films to win in fests abroad. “We are now known not only for our skills as filmmakers, but also for our beautiful stories and gifted actors.”
Aside from incentives for award winners, Roy hopes the government will give “regular, fixed grants to Filipino filmmakers who compete abroad.”
“We need financial support in every stage of production—from filming to marketing and distribution,” he explained. “We especially need assistance when we join international film festivals.”
Dizon agreed: “How I wish we will be given incentives. But just to be invited to Malacañang and be congratulated by the President would be a big deal for me.”
He remarked that “international awards, particularly direk Lav’s latest honor, prove that Filipinos can stand side by side with foreigners when it comes to talent and excellence in the arts.”
Dizon, who has scored five international trophies so far, noted that competition abroad can be stiff. “We’re on an equal footing there. Jurors don’t care if you’re a popular star or not.”
Abroad, he gets mobbed by admirers.
“Before the awards ceremony in Italy, a group of people asked for my autograph. I later learned that they were jury members,” he recounted.
The jury commended Dizon’s “subtle” performance. “And the way I used my eyes to convey emotions daw.”
When his name was announced as best actor, he was confused at first. “It was in Italian, and I didn’t understand the presenter. It was direk Mel who confirmed to me that I had won.”
Although Dizon is more known for indie films, his awards have somehow led to mainstream projects.
“I just got an offer to do a major role in a soap opera,” he volunteered. “Personally, it’s a great feeling to make my family proud. It inspires me to keep working hard.”
He dedicates his latest victory to his families—at home and on the set: “To my wife Crystle and children Nella, Felixia, Lucas and Allene and the entire ‘Iadya’ team.”
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