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Indie Bravo!

Inquirer Indie Bravo! honorees: Still going places

/ 12:05 AM December 11, 2017

Cast of “Pauwi Na” (from left): Jerald Napoles, Cherry Pie Picache, Meryll Soriano, Bembol Roco and Chai Fonacier

Merely days after this year’s Inquirer Indie Bravo! honor roll had been finalized, Filipino filmmakers kept winning in international film festivals.

Three of these “post-script” winners are honorees this year: short filmmakers Raymund Ribay Gutierrez and Carlo Francisco Manatad and documentarian Baby Ruth Villarama. Gutierrez won in Italy; Manatad in Singapore; and Villarama in the United Kingdom.


Additionally, two actors won abroad for movies cited by Indie Bravo! this year and in previous editions: Mary Joy Apostol scored a best actress trophy in Vietnam for Mikhail Red’s “Birdshot”; while Laila Ulao won the same acting prize for Sheron Dayoc’s “Woman of the Weeping River” in Malaysia. Red was an honoree in past installments of Indie Bravo!, while Dayoc is on this year’s list.

Also, Bianca Balbuena—who produced several movies that bagged an Indie Bravo! for such acclaimed winners as Lav Diaz, Bradley Liew, Victor Kaiba Villanueva—will be an awardee herself next year. Balbuena is the first Filipino (and the youngest) recipient of the FIAPF Award, which was given during the 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards held in Brisbane, Australia, last month.


Laila Ulao in “Women of the Weeping River”

Villanueva said: “I’ve always dreamed to be awarded. I used to envy past honorees. It inspires me and I hope it will encourage more filmmakers to tell local stories from the heart.”

Another first-time honoree next year would be Joselito Altarejos, whose “Tale of the Lost Boys” won at an LGBT fest in Romania last month.

Today, as we gather again for the 8th Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards, we’ve started drafting next year’s lineup.

It is comforting to know that, whatever the future may bring and despite the vicissitudes in the media landscape (in particular) and in the country (in general), the Filipino indie filmmaking spirit will keep burning (and winning) all over the world.

Bianca Balbuena in Brisbane

At press time, yet another 2018 honoree’s film is vying for a major prize abroad. Paolo Villaluna’s “Pauwi Na,” which won the Golden Goblet at the A-list Shanghai fest, is part of the main tilt of the Asiatica Mediale fest in Rome, Italy, from Dec. 17 to 20.

Villaluna, who was one of the first batch of honorees in 2010, told the Inquirer: “In my opinion, Indie Bravo! is the most relevant year-end celebration and gathering of meaningful alternative and independent cinema. Although our community has been divided into factions, local festivals and personalities, Indie Bravo! manages to collate the best storytellers of its time and recognize those different voices as a binding agent.”

Mary Joy Apostol in “Birdshot”

Villaluna pointed out that “diversity is necessary, healthy and a cause for celebration. And the home of that celebration is Indie Bravo!—a celebration of good, meaningful storytelling. In an era of lies and impunity, the role of the artist is more important than ever.”


The Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards happens today at the newspaper’s main office in Makati and can also be viewed live @inquirerdotnet on Facebook and Twitter, and @inqpop on Facebook and Twitter. Updates will also be posted @InqEnt Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.

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