Sundance winners, Lav Diaz film boost Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards 2022 | Inquirer Entertainment

Sundance winners, Lav Diaz film boost Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards 2022

/ 12:25 AM December 09, 2022

Lav Diaz

Lav Diaz

If not for the festivals, our films will have no physical venue,” said multi-awarded indie filmmaker Lav Diaz, who is among the latest Filipino artists to have received recognition in an international film event.

Diaz’s “Kung Wala Nang Mga Alon” bagged the Special Jury Prize (main competition category) at the recent 53rd International Film Festival (IFF) of India in Goa.


Diaz said he was pleased that a number of festivals here and abroad have already decided to resume physical screenings, which was suspended during the onslaught of the COVID-19 health scare in 2020.


“Festivals are a huge help to patrons of serious cinema, which, sadly, is no match to films produced by big-time capitalists. [In terms of box-office draw], independent filmmakers cannot battle them head-to-head, so festivals are important to us. In this sense, we also feel that it’s time to create laws that will provide protection to Filipino-produced movies,” he told Inquirer Entertainment.

Inquirer Entertainment has long realized the importance of these film festivals and has been paying tribute to Filipino artists who receive recognitions abroad via the annual Indie Bravo! Awards.

Shamaine Buencamino (left) and John Lloyd Cruz in “Kung Wala Nang Mga Alon”

Shamaine Buencamino (left) and John Lloyd Cruz in “Kung Wala Nang Mga Alon”

Inquirer Entertainment also reports on those who won production and study grants. It likewise highlights Pinoy artists and their participation in international productions either as producers or as actors, much like the successes of Dolly de Leon (“Triangle of Sadness,” Sweden), Soliman Cruz (“To the North,” Romania) and Chai Fonacier (“Nocebo,” Ireland-Philippines). We look forward to reporting about them bagging their own trophies for their respective films.

Aside from Diaz, another 2022 Indie Bravo! honoree is Martika Escobar, whose full-length feature “Leonor Will Never Die” is among the most celebrated Filipino projects this year. It was recognized in the United States (at the Sundance Film Festival and the Los Angeles Asian Film Festival), in Canada (Toronto IFF), and only a few days ago, in Indonesia (“Blossom,” the 17th Jogja-Netpac or Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema Asian Film Festival).

The crime-thriller “On the Job: The Missing 8,” by 2022 Indie Bravo! honoree Erik Matti, did not only create buzz with its nomination at the International Emmy Awards and, eventually, for being chosen to represent the Philippines in the 45th Academy Awards, but also for winning best film at the 19th Asian Film Festival in Rome, Italy.

Japanese filmmaker Chie Hayakawa won the Golden Camera award (Special Mention) at the 75th Cannes Film Festival in France for “Plan 75,” a project that is coproduced by Filipino talents Alemberg Ang and Will Fredo, and features Filipino-Japanese actress Stefanie Arianne.

Zig Dulay

Zig Dulay

The short film “Black Rainbow” elevated its director Zig Dulay to rock star status this year with a winning streak that began—if we got it right—with a best short film trophy from the 2022 Harlem IFF in New York.

“We should keep going and never feel tired,” reminded Diaz. “I know my contribution isn’t much, that’s why I keep on creating, no matter what happens.”

Here is the list of 2022 Indie Bravo! honorees, or as Diaz puts it, those who kept going despite the overwhelming odds.


Two indies bagged trophies from the organizers of the 2022 Formosa Festival International Filmmakers Award in Taichung, Taiwan. Will Fredo’s short film “Siil” won the Award of Curator’s Pick, while Arjanmar Rebeta’s “An Sadit na Planeta” received the Award of Excellent Eco-friendly and Placemaking Film.

Escobar’s “Leonor Will Never Die” became the first Filipino film to receive the Special Jury Award for Innovative Spirit (under the World Cinema Dramatic category) of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Meanwhile, Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan’s “The Headhunter’s Daughter” bagged the Short Film Grand Jury Prize, also at the Sundance, which is considered the largest independent film festival in the United States.


Petersen Vargas’ “How to Die Young in Manila” was heralded best short film (drama) at the 2022 Sydney Short Film Festival in Australia.


Louie Ignacio’s romantic-comedy movie “Huling Ulan sa Tag-araw” bagged the best feature film award at the 2022 Prime International Film Festival in Mumbai, India.


Two full-length features, “Huling Ulan sa Tag-araw” and “Broken Blooms,” both directed by Ignacio, bagged Golden Remi Awards for best romantic comedy and best drama, respectively, at the 2022 Houston IFF in Texas, United States.

“The award serves as a recognition of my dedication to my craft,” said Christian Bables of his best actor win for Jun Robles Lana’s “Big Night” at the 19th Asian Film Festival in Rome, Italy.

Bables shared the trophy with Vince Rillon, who was recognized for his performance in Brillante Ma Mendoza’s “Resbak.”

“I gave my heart and soul to this project,” said Jeric Gonzales as a reaction to the best actor awards he won for “Broken Blooms” at the 2022 Mokkho IFF in India, where his leading lady, Teri Malvar, also bagged a best actress award. Ignacio likewise won the Special Jury Prize for best director, while the movie was declared best narrative feature.


Escobar’s “Leonor Will Never Die” brought home the Special Jury Mention from the 35th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival held in California, United States.

Dulay’s “Black Rainbow,” the story of a young Aeta boy named Itan, who dreams of becoming a lawyer, won best short film at the 17th Harlem International Film Festival in New York, United States.

Ignacio’s “Broken Blooms” brought home another best actor trophy for Gonzales, also at the Harlem IFF.

At the 75th Cannes Film Festival in France, the Camera d’Or-Special Mention was given to Japanese filmmaker Chie Hayakawa for her dramatic piece “Plan 75,” which is coproduced by our very own Alemberg Ang and Will Fredo, and features Filipino-Japanese Stefanie Arianne.


Dulay’s “Black Rainbow,” which focuses on the preservation of Aeta communities in the country, copped the Jury Award from the Kaş International Film Festival 2022, held in Turkey.


Samantha Lee’s “Sleep With Me” bagged the Audience Award for Best Episodic at the Outfest LGBTQ+ Film Festival in Los Angeles.


Escobar’s “Leonor Will Never Die” took home the Amplify Voice Award from the 2022 Toronto Film Festival. It was also the closing film of the festival’s “Midnight Madness” section.

Myra Aquino’s short film, “Beauty Queen,” won the Jack Larson Southern California Filmmaker Award from the 2022 KCET Fine Cut Festival of Films in California.


“The Atom Araullo Specials: Munting Bisig,” directed by Aaron “Papins” Mendoza, copped the Best Asian Documentary award at the 4th Asia Contents Awards in Busan, South Korea.

Dulay’s “Black Rainbow” was heralded best short film at the Lucas International Festival for Young Film Lovers in Frankfurt, Germany.

McArthur “Mac” Alejandre’s dramatic piece “Silip sa Apoy,” which tackles marital abuse and toxic masculinity, won for him the best director award at the 2022 Wallachia International Film Festival in Romania.

Dexter Hemedez and Albert Ibañez’s “The Reliever” bagged the best drama short film at the 2022 Glendale International Film Festival, also in California.

Adolfo Alix Jr. (left) with Nora Aunor

Adolfo Alix Jr. (left) with Nora Aunor


Adolfo Alix Jr.’s “Kontrabida,” starring National Artist Nora Aunor, bagged the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Cinema) Prize for best Asian film at the 2022 Hanoi International Film Festival in Vietnam.

Dulay’s “Black Rainbow”

Dulay’s “Black Rainbow”


Jun Robles Lana’s “About Us But Not About Us” won the Critic’s Picks best film award at the 2022 Tallinn Black Night Film Festival in Estonia.

Diaz’s “Kung Wala Nang Mga Alon,” starring John Lloyd Cruz, bagged the Special Jury Prize under the main competition category of the 53rd International Film Festival of India in Goa. The festival is the biggest in India and is among the most significant film-related events in Asia.

Dulay’s “Black Rainbow” copped the best short film honor at the Athens International Children’s Film Festival 2022 in Greece.

Hayakawa’s “Plan 75” bagged four awards at the 44th Yokohama Film Festival in Japan. They are the following: New director award for Hayakawa, best actress award for Chieko Baisho, best supporting actress award for Yumi Kawai, and best supporting actor award for Jayato Isomura.

Coleen Garcia was proclaimed best actress at the 3rd El Grito International Fantastic Film Festival in Venezuela for her performance in Roman Perez Jr.’s “Kaluskos.”

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Escobar’s “Leonor Will Never Die” received the Silver Hanoman award (considered second best picture) at the “Blossom,” the 17th Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival in Indonesia. The movie also took home the Geber Award, which is given to the best Asian film that is made by first- or second-time directors and tackles “marginalized/controversial” issues.

TAGS: International Film Festival, Lav Diaz

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