5 Famas awards for ‘Felix Manalo’
The fact that Joel Lamangan is not a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) “was never an issue” to the producers of the P150-million biographical film “Felix Manalo,” who tapped him to direct what was adjudged the 64th Famas (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences) best picture.
“I’m a Catholic. The producers respected that. They did not force me to join them,” said Lamangan, who also won the best director award for his work on the film that dramatized the life of the late INC leader Felix Ysagun Manalo.
Lead star Dennis Trillo also brought home the best actor honor during the ceremony held at Century Park on Sunday night.
Having worked on the film for almost a year, Lamangan said he had been “exposed to the teachings of INC.”
“But I have my own religion and my own beliefs. They respected that,” he said.
However, Lamangan said the producers had control over the film’s content.
“It was already agreed upon in the beginning that we would show their interpretations of some concepts and significant events in Manalo’s life. We had consultants from the church present while we were doing the movie,” he said.
Lamangan quickly added, however, that “nobody interfered with the artistic aspect of the film.”
The three-hour film also won for Bienvenido Santiago the best screenplay honor, while the song “Ang Sugo ng Diyos sa mga Huling Araw” (performed by Sarah Geronimo), was heralded best theme song winner.
The film’s preproduction stage required tedious work, Lamangan said. “Different churches of different eras had to be constructed. We had to build one of each, from the bahay kubo (nipa hut)-type of church up to the buildings that we see now.”
He also talked about the actors’ “aging process.”
“We had to transform Dennis from the young Felix to the really old one. The same process was done to the other cast members. This was as hard as constructing the churches,” Lamangan said.
The director described Trillo as a “very dedicated and professional actor.” He said that before filming began, he had already informed Trillo that he would be required to memorize long speeches and quote a lot of verses from the Bible.
“He was able to do it. We didn’t make use of idiot boards on the set. All those long lines were recited from memory,” the director said.
Accepting the Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) Memorial Award, action star Robin Padilla said: “I knew of FPJ not just as the local Action King, but also as a hero who made it his advocacy to help the poor.”
This year’s best actress awardee is Andi Eigenmann, who was commended for her performance in the Carlo J. Caparas film “Angela Markado.”
Gabby Concepcion and Lorna Tolentino got the best supporting actor and actress awards, respectively, for the film “Crazy Beautiful You.” Young actor JM Ibañez was awarded best child performer, also for the same film.
“You’re My Boss” won the best production design award for Shari Marie Montiague and the best sound honor for Addiss Tabong.
The best visual effects award was given to Vincent Ilagan and Mike Velasquez for “Angela Markado.”
Robby Tantingco won the best story for “Ari: My Life with a King,” while Carlo Francisco Manatad bagged the best editing award for “Para sa Hopeless Romantic.”
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