The Cinema One Originals Festival 2017: 'Walang Takot!'
MANILA, Philippines – Fearless. True to its theme, this year’s edition of Cinema One Originals Festival was “walang takot (no fear),” noted jury member Ricky Lee, one of the country’s multi-awarded screenwriters, and a mentor to easily more than half of the current crop of the country’s scriptwriters for film and television.
“Gaya ng slogan nila, walang takot ang entries this year. Varied at daring in many ways. I really enjoyed watching all the entries. Sayang nga hindi puwedeng mas marami pa ang mabigyan ng awards dahil mas marami pa actually ang deserving din (Just like their slogan, the entries this year were fearless…It’s a pity that not everyone could be given awards, for actually, a lot of them deserved to win),” Lee said.
Apart from premier screenwriter Lee, the members of the jury included internationally-acclaimed director Lav Diaz, UP Film Institute Assistant Professor Anne de Guzman, and University of San Carlos professor Misha Boris Anissimov. Actress Alessandra de Rossi begged off from jury duties due to a very tight schedule, but co-hosted the awards night with her namesake, Alex Gonzaga.
"The field of film presented this year was strong, and sparked lively debate in many of the major awards categories. There were no unanimous decisions in the major categories, and I think that’s a good thing. The jurors even viewed some films (several) times. In the end, all the films had their strengths and exceptional moments. It was a pleasure to serve on this year’s jury with my esteemed colleagues. Festival Director Ronald Arguelles has assembled an extraordinary festival,” remarked Anissimov.
De Guzman agreed, saying, “My experience as juror in this year's C1 was exhilarating since our deliberations were straightforward, insightful, collegial and not least respectful in arriving with thoughtful and thorough decisions. I will have no hesitation to work alongside my fellow jurors again.”
“Iba ang PAKI-ramdam (The feeling is different)! It's unreal,” exclaimed Giancarlo Abrahan, who brought home trophies for Best Director, Best Screenplay, as well as Best Picture for Paki, a story any Filipino family can relate to. During an interview at Dolphy Theater at the ABS-CBN grounds where the awards night was held last night, Abrahan revealed that Paki is largely based on stories from both sides of his family, particularly his grandmothers.
“But what really makes me so happy are the number of nominations they gave our cast. Of course, the Best Actress nomination for Dexter Doria in her first lead role ever! Then 4 Best Supporting Actress nominations for Cielo Aquino, Eula Valdes, Ina Feleo, and Shamaine Buencamino; 3 nominations for Best Supporting Actor for Miguel Valdes, Noel Trinidad, and Paolo Paraiso. The sweetest icing on the cake is Ricky Davao’s having bagged the Best Supporting Actor award. I'm so proud of my cast!” said Abrahan.
Dan Villegas’ musical Changing Partners ran away with the lion’s share of awards at the festival including the major acting awards: Best Actress for Agot Isidro; Best Actor for Jojit Lorenzo; and Best Ensemble Acting for Isidro, Lorenzo and co-actors Sandino Martin and Anna Luna.
It was not the first time that the acting ensemble worked together. The film’s screenplay was jointly adapted by Lilit Reyes and Vince de Jesus from a musical play of the same title whose book, libretto and music were done by De Jesus (who incidentally was awarded Best Music for his work on the film), and which was staged in PETA Theater last year. Prior to that, it was part of the Virgin Labfest’s Staged Readings at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), also in 2016.
“I am very proud of the film. I am sharing my award with my co-actors. I could not have done it without them,” Best Actress awardee Agot Isidro said during an interview at the after-party of the awards night at Empacho restaurant on Tomas Morato.
She cited the cast members’ “emotional synergy,” thanks in part to Rem Zamora, the director of Changing Partners the musical play for having “dissected” everything when they were still preparing for the play a year ago.
“First love ko ang singing (singing is my first love). I’m very honored and lucky to have been allowed to sing in the film,” she said. Isidro was a recording artist in the 1990s.
In an interview, Luna also expressed gratitude that the acting chops of the cast was recognized as an ensemble. It is so far Luna’s fourth acting award since 2013 (Bendor, Paglipay). Her most recent win was in Venezuela, barely two weeks ago for her role in Maestra.
Apart from receiving awards such as Best Editing for Marya Ignacio, the Champion Bughaw Award and Audience Choice Award, Changing Partners tied with Paki for Best Director.
Isidro expressed her desire that that film would have a theatrical run; which is not unlikely if one were to base the patronage of the film among the theatre goers of the festival.
Richard Somes’ Historiographika Errata won the Jury Prize and technical awards Best Cinematography for Alex Espartero; and Best Production Design for Donald Camon and Julius Somes.
“It’s a brave new challenge for everybody. It’s been getting stronger every year,” remarked Richard Somes, who has been joining the festival for some four years now. Among the bold moves Somes made was the casting of rock icons Dong Abay, Kevin Roy, Jett Pangan, Kean Cipriano, Chickoy Pura and Basti Artadi (as well as Robert Javier) who were all nominated for Best Supporting Actor; and casting as well “globally-appealing” Nathalie Hart as a woman who exchanges sex for food to fellow Filipinos during the Japanese occupation in the film’s last segment. Somes revealed that he was “blown away” when he belatedly watched fellow Ilonggo Borgy Torres’ Tisay with Hart in the title role, that’s why he cast her.
Fatrick Tabada and Rae Red’s Si Chedeng at si Apple received a Special Mention Award. Mae Paner a.k.a. “Juana Change” also took home the Best Supporting Actress trophy for the same movie. Mikko Quizon brought home the Best Sound trophy for Nervous Translation.
The festival is ongoing until Nov. 21 at Trinoma, Gateway, Cine Adarna in UP Diliman, Glorietta, Cinema 76, and FDCP Cinematheque. However, there is an extended run at Black Maria and Rockwell Powerplant from Nov. 22 to 28.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS:
- Best Picture: Paki
- Jury Prize: Historiographika Errata
- Special Mention: Si Chedeng at si Apple
- Best Short Film: Carl Chavez’ Sorry for the Inconvenience
- Best Documentary: Dempster Samarista’s Bundok Banahaw, Sacred and Profane
- Best Director: Dan Villegas, Changing Partners; Giancarlo Abrahan, Paki
- Best Screenplay: Giancarlo Abrahan, Paki
- Best Actress: Agot Isidro, Changing Partners
- Best Actor: Jojit Lorenzo, Changing Partners
- Best Supporting Actress: Mae Paner, Si Chedeng at Si Apple
- Best Supporting Actor: Ricky Davao, Paki
- Best Ensemble Acting: Changing Partners
- Best Cinematography: Alex Espartero, Historiographika Errata
- Best Production Design: Donald Camon and Julius Somes, Historiographika Errata
- Best Editing: Marya Ignacio, Changing Partners
- Best Music: Vincent de Jesus, Changing Partners
- Best Sound: Mikko Quizon, Nervous Translation
- Audience Choice Award: Changing Partners
- Champion Bughaw: Changing Partners
- C1-Minute Vivo Perfect Short Film: Carlo Canlas’ Saludo