Janice yet to see trophy for Best Actress award won in Manhattan film fest
MAKATI CITY, Philippines—Award-winning actress Janice de Belen may have added another recognition to her long list of accolades, but her latest triumph feels different, and not only because it was from an international festival.
“I don’t know how to feel even until now. Maybe because I did not go to any ceremony and I haven’t even seen the trophy. Maybe it will feel different once I have it already and I can really say ‘oh I won,’ and actually have proof,” De Belen told the Inquirer in an online interview.
She was proclaimed Best Actress at the 2021 International Film Festival Manhattan for her portrayal in the short film “Sugat sa Dugo” (Wounded Blood), which also took home the “Independent Achievement Award for Producing.”
“It is truly a great big honor first to be up against actors from other countries and then winning. It feels great to be a Filipino winning in a foreign country where nobody knows who you are,” De Belen said.
She confessed that she knew days ahead of the actual awards night that she had won. She heard the news from celebrity hair and makeup artist Bambbi Fuentes, who wrote the screenplay and produced the 40-minute drama flick.
“I was on the way to work, Bambbi called and told me. Initially I had no reaction because it felt too unbelievable. Then after a few days it sank in,” De Belen shared.
It was also Fuentes who cast De Belen for the pivotal role of an absentee mother to a son soon to succumb to HIV-AIDS.
“I think I made the right choice in choosing her because she is a great actress. And I believed that she can do justice to role, a mother who loves her children but opted to stay with her lover. It paid off because she won the best actress award,” Fuentes told the Inquirer.
The film’s story is loosely based on Fuentes’ personal accounts of a friend who succumbed to the infectious disease.
De Belen said she accepted the project “because I wanted to help Bambbi’s advocacy on AIDS, and I believe it is still something to be concerned about.”
The actress also said accolades and awards are far from her mind when she works, and just gives her best. “If I’m noticed, that’s really a big bonus. If not, it’s fine, too, as long as I know I did my best,” she said.
The short film features a set of young thespians—Khai Flores, Christa Jocson, Mira Aquino and Shira Tweg—who De Belen said were promising actors.
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