Filipino filmmaker wins top prize at Shanghai Int'l Festival
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Filmmaker Paolo Villaluna’s Pauwi Na starring Bembol Roco and Cherry Pie Picache won the top prize at the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival.
Villaluna, Picache, and Roco received the Golden Goblet at the awards ceremony held at the Shanghai Grand Theater on Sunday, June 25. The Golden Goblet is the highest prize awarded to the festival’s competing films. The jury was led by Cannes Palme D'Or winning director Cristian Mungiu.
"For the humanism and universality of the story, for the simplicity of the style and realization – for the non-conformism with which it represented our desire to believe that there is a sense in this Universe, the award for the best film goes to Pedicab, from the Philippines," said Christian when the movie was announced the winner.
"We were already proud to be able to tell the story of struggle and hope to an international audience," Villaluna told Rappler. "Tonight, we're proud to be acknowledged for that story, and prouder still to be Filipino."
The film was the only Southeast Asian film in competition for the top prize. Among them are feature films from China, Romania, Italy, Great Britain, and Iran. Pauwi Na – titled Pedicab for its international release – follows a pedicab driver, his nagging wife, their petty thief son, a blind, pregnant young woman – who spends her time conversing with a sneakered Jesus Christ – and a dog named Kikay.
Villaluna described the film as “the story of a family on a journey from poverty in the city to an imagined paradise in the countryside.” The family, “broke, desperate, and with little more than the clothes on their backs pedals their way thousands of miles on pedicabs in a tragicomic exodus to the green fields of the provinces.”
The narrative is based on the true story of a family who in 2003 pedaled their way home from Manila to the province of Leyte. The film also features Meryll Soriano, Jerald Napoles, Jess Mendoza, and Chai Fonacier, and was was produced by To Farm Film Festivals. (READ: 10 things to know about this funny, tragic road movie)
The Shanghai Film Festival is one of the world’s top competitive film festivals, one of 15, including Cannes and Berlin, that are accredited by the Paris-based International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF).
Two other Filipino films were also shown at the festival's "Belt and Road" exhibition: Avid Liongoren’s Saving Sally and Bradley Liew’s Singing in Graveyards.
Watch Villaluna's 2016 interview about his film below. - Rappler.com