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Baron, Mylene win big in Cinemalaya 2008

July 21, 2008 10:05am
With his voice breaking and his hands shaking, Baron Geisler read the speech that he had prepared for the awarding ceremony of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival held July 20 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Hailed as the Best Actor for the fourth edition of this annual film fest, Baron won for his portrayal of a gay TV show producer who makes a documentary about a homosexual teacher brutally killed in his home. When he accepted his award, the actor called out to his mother, "Mom, may bago tayong idi-display sa bahay!" Baron, the lead character of the Cinemalaya entry Jay, also dedicated his award to the people whom he said did not judge him prematurely.

Francis Xavier Pasion's entry titled Jay was chosen as Best Film "for its sheer originality, its energetic storytelling, its mastery of digital technology in order to tell a story that is a trenchant commentary on the technology itself, and its very revealing take on the media and the uses and abuses of the truth..."

According to French critic Max Tessier, the film Jay was the the unanimous choice among the five-panel jury, which he headed. He told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) that it took them about four hours to choose the winners among the ten full-length and ten short films competing this year.

The other jury members who selected this year's winners were film actor Cesar Montano; film critic and writer Lito Zulueta; Ansgar Vogt, Berlin International Film Festival programmer; Kim Ji-Seok, co-founder and program director of the Pusan International Film Festival and Max Tessier, Asian and Japanese cinema expert and artistic consultant for international film festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival.

As winner of the Best Full-Length Feature Film, Jay won an additional grant of P200,000 and the Cinemalaya Balanghai Trophy. Direk Francis' movie, which was shot in Bacolor, Pampanga, also won for Best Editing (Kate Serraon, Chuck Gutierrez and Francis Pasion).

Unlike Baron who had written some notes beforehand, Mylene Dizon was completely taken by surprise when she was called as Best Actress for her "moving portrayal of a woman raging against the dying of the light..." In the movie 100, Mylene played a cancer patient who fulfilled her dreams in life with her best friend (played by Eugene Domingo) and her mother (Tessie Tomas). "May na-prepare na akong outline sa utak ko pero nawala lahat nung umakyat ako," confessed Mylene when she was interviewed by members of the press right after the awarding ceremony.

Uge (Eugene's nickname) bagged an acting award when she was chosen as the Best Supporting Actress for her restrained performance as Mylene's best friend in 100. She brought the house down when she told Gretchen Barretto, "Sabi ko sa 'yo Gretchen, magandang-maganda ako ngayong gabi!" She considers this award as an advanced birthday gift since she will be celebrating her birthday on Wednesday.

This lighthearted yet moving film about death also bagged Best Direction and Best Screenplay for first-time movie director Chris Martinez. It also won the Audience Choice Award, making a total of five awards.

Another big winner this year is the entry Brutus, which refers not to the Shakespearean character, but to the way Mangyans transported logs illegally cut in the forests of Oriental Mindoro. Aside from receiving the Special Jury Prize, Tara Illenberger's film also received the Best Supporting Actor Award for Yul Servo's portrayal of an NPA rebel and Best Original Music for Joey Ayala's ethnic-inspired creations. Brutus also tied with the movie Huling Pasada for the Best Cinematography Award.

Michael Christian Cardoz' Ranchero won Best Sound (Toto Sorioso, Sound Engineer, and Lito Cruz, Soundman) while Best Production Design went to Arkeo Films' Baby Angelo (Cristina Honrado).

The ten full-length films that competed in the fourth edition of Cinemalaya were: 100 by Chris Martinez, Ang Concerto by Paul Alexander Morales, Baby Angelo by Joel Ruiz and Abi Aquino, Boses (Voices) by Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil, Brutus by Tara Illenberger, My Fake American Accent by Onnah Valera, Huling Pasada by Paul Sta. Ana, Jay by Francis Xavier Pasion, Namets by Emilio "Jay" Abello and Ranchero by Michael Christian Cardoz.

In the short feature category, Milo Tolentino's Andong won the Best Film award "for its devoted and humorous take on a young boy's obsessions, revealing in the process the complex of social relations and social struggles that are any young Filipino's rite of passage..." Direk Milo also bagged the Best Screenplay award. This is his second time to be adjudged the best in Cinemalaya after winning the Short Feature category in Cinemalaya 2006 for Orasyon. As Best Short Film awardee, Andong received a cash grant of P100,000 and the Cinemalaya Balanghai Trophy.

The only animated film that made it in the Short Feature category, My Pet by Anna Bigornia, was given the Special Jury Prize. The short film God Only Knows, directed by Mark Reyes, received two awards: Best Director and Audience Choice Award. Topbilled by Angel Aquino, this work tells the story of a woman who is forced to give up her child. A Special Jury Citation was given to Angan-Angan (which is the Yakan term for Dreams) by Sheron Dayoc.

The ten short works that competed in Cinemalaya 2008 were: Andong by Rommel "Milo" Tolentino; Ang Ibang mga Pamilya by Joel Ruiz; Angan-Angan (Dreams) and Trails of Water by Sheron Dayoc; Diamante sa Langit by Vic Acedillo, Jr.; Only God Knows by Mark Reyes; Huling Biktima by Vitaliano Rave; My Pet by Anna Bigornia, Panggaris by Dexter B. Cayanes, and Tutos by L.A. Yamsuan.

Hosted by Angel Aquino, the awarding ceremony was attended by Cinemalaya Foundation head Tonyboy Cojuangco and his longtime partner Gretchen Barretto, as well as Cinemalaya competition director Laurice Guillen and her husband Johnny Delgado. Cinemalaya's Best Actress winner last year, Ina Feleo of Endo fame, also graced the event. Cinemalaya 2008 stars who attended that evening were Tessie Tomas, Coco Martin, Ynna Asistio, Jay Aquitania, Christian Vasquez, Angel Jacob, Ricky Davao, Ronnie Lazaro, Irma Adlawan-Marasigan, and Neil Ryan Sese.

Cinemanila festival director Tikoy Aguiluz, Jackie Atienza of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, and National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbrera also took time to attend the star-studded event.

Among those who performed intermission numbers were Jan Nieto and Gian Magdangal of Philippine Idol, the band Imago, rappers Stick Figgas, and performing groups Ballet Philippines, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, and Ballet Manila.

Cinemalaya 2008 has the theme "Anong Kwento Mo?" and added two new categories: Best Supporting Actor/Actress and Best Musical Score. According to Cinemalaya 2008 festival director Nestor Jardin, a total of 153 films were screened this year and around 27,000 people attended the ten-day festival held at the CCP. - Philippine Entertainment Portal
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