‘Larawan’ producer while thankful for best picture award prefers box-office success
If first-time film producer Rachel Alejandro were to choose between winning awards or achieving box-office success for the Loy Arcenas musical film “Ang Larawan,” she said she would choose the latter.
“I’d be very grateful for the awards, but I already know that our team did an excellent film. In a way, we don’t really need other people to validate that,” Rachel told the Inquirer shortly before the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Gabi ng Parangal held on Wednesday night at the Kia Theatre in Quezon City.
The two-hour musical, based on the three-part play of the late National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, titled “A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino,” is one of eight MMFF entries, which began screening in theaters nationwide on Christmas Day. It bagged the best picture honor and five other awards.
“As you know, we have a lot of investors who took a chance on this project. A blockbuster success will surely encourage them to invest in more quality films,” said Rachel, who also plays Paula in the film.
As a producer, Alejandro said she would not mind doing it again for another film project.
“They say the best teacher in any experience are your mistakes. Looking back, I now see that there were measures that we could’ve done to save money, or that we should’ve spent more on certain things,” she explained. “We’re just happy that we got into the MMFF on our first try, and at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Those already meant that we are winners.”
For best supporting actor winner Edgar Allan Guzman, “all the hardship was worth it.” He won the award for playing a gay role in Julius Alfonso’s comedy “Deadma Walking.”
Guzman admitted that the most difficult part of portraying Mark, his flamboyant character in the film, was dressing up in drag, “because it required me to tuck in my manhood several times. It was also tiring to film three dance numbers in a day,” he recalled.
Guzman added that his “peg” for playing the character was his own gay brother Michael Vincent.
“I dedicate the award to him, and to our dad who, I know, is proud of me in heaven,” he shared with Inquirer.
As far as Jasmin Curtis-Smith was concerned, winning the best supporting actress award for the Paul Soriano romantic film “Siargao” was an indicator that “I’m getting better at what I’m doing; that I’m bringing more to the table every time I do a project; and that people are noticing this.”
International theater actress Joanna Ampil, who bagged the best actress trophy for playing Candida in “Ang Larawan,” said the character “really stretched me as an artist and an actor.”
Winning an acting award for doing a film for the first time “meant a lot to me…I’ve been working abroad so much. Now I can say that, finally, I’m contributing something very important to the arts in the Philippines,” added Ampil.
The awards ceremony, which was taped live and aired on Thursday on TV5, began around 8:30 p.m. and ran until midnight.
Since it was a production of Viva Entertainment, most of the performers were from the talent management company.
It was hosted by Paolo Bediones and 2016 Miss International Kylie Verzosa, who got some of the audience shaking their heads because she kept on stammering.
A young female Viva talent had to do a retake for saying that Derek Ramsay and Erich Gonzales had won P20—instead of P20,000—for winning the male and female stars of the night awards.
This prompted Ramsay to say in his acceptance speech: “Erich, hati tayo sa P20!”
Coco Martin, Vice Ganda, Vic Sotto, lead stars of MMFF entries “Ang Panday,” “The Revengers Squad,” and “Meant To Beh,” respectively, were no-shows.
Too bad Martin failed to personally receive his Special Jury Prize, which he got for his “outstanding contribution to this year’s festival.”
Joaquin was also a recipient of a Special Jury Prize for “Ang Larawan.”
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