IN PHOTOS: ASEAN Intl Film Fest and Awards opening night

Kai Magsanoc
The 3-day ASEAN affair formally begins with a cultural get-together and the announcement of short film winners

INDIA MEETS THE PHILIPPINES. Bollywood actress Geeta Basra with Filipino actor Jericho Rosales. All photos by Kai Magsanoc

SARAWAK, Malaysia – It was an evening of great energy and happy people — filmmakers, actors, and film professionals from 13 countries getting together to celebrate film as a form of art and an extension of culture.

On March 28 at 6pm, the opening ceremony of the ASEAN International Film Festival and Awards was held at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching, Malaysia. Delegates from the participating countries (Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, USA, India, Russia, and Australia) came in their respective buses, each happy to meet kindred spirits from another country.

The languages and cultures may have been different, but the love and passion for film was one.

READ: Members of the Philippine delegation and Filipino films in the shortlist

The forest was the perfect venue for a program that was nothing short of organic. Delegates moved between 3 locations: enjoying cocktails in the first one, the Alam Persada longhouse; witnessing a fiery fluvial opening show in the second one, the lakeside; and celebrating the winners of the short film categories and the nominees for the major awards in the 3rd one, the Dewan Lagenda longhouse.

Screenings of over a hundred films submitted to AIFFA were simultaneously held in spots scattered around the cultural village, some of them in quaint huts where cineastes watched relaxed. The Cultural Village except for Dewan Lagenda was open to the public, and fans such as those of Filipino actor Jericho Rosales had more than enough time to be with their favorite actors before the program started.

Here are Rappler’s photos:

'Etcetera' host Kim Jones with boyfriend, actor Jericho Rosales of 'Alagwa' at the Riverside Majestic Hotel lobby before heading to Sarawak Cultural Village

Cinematographer and Philippine delegation coordinator Rain Yamson and 'Ang Nawawala' actor Dominic Roco

Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) COO Mark Lapid (second from left) with TIEZA corplan manager Jetro Lozada, technical assistant Fidel Arcenas, and actor-filmmaker Jess Lapid

Former Bb Pilipinas-World and now Pateros councilor Daisy Reyes with Mark Lapid at the entrance of the Cultural Village in Damai Beach Resort

Members of the welcoming committee. Instead of flowers, each delegate received a beaded necklace similar to what they are wearing in this photo.

Daisy Reyes with other members of the welcoming committee

Drummers add a Borneo touch to the traditional welcome of the delegates

Jericho Rosales surrounded by avid fans

Delegates on a wooden walkway around the forest, going from one location to another

One of the spots in the Cultural Village where a film was being screened

Kim and Echo try the Malaysian appetizers at Alam Persada

Dominic and Rain with fans from Sarawak

Bollywood actress Geeta Basra

Young filmmakers Paulo Reyes and Whammy Alcazaren with Indonesian actress Jajang Noer

AIFFA's Shah Sidek, Rain Yamson, Mell Navarro, Paul Sta Ana, Ian Lorenos, Dominic Roco, AIFFA director Livan Tajang, Paulo Reyes, and Whammy Alcazaren

AIFFA jury member Ricky Davao, AIFFA director Livan Tajak, Mark Lapid, and Rain Yamson

Sarawak Minister of Housing and Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Haji Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Abang Haji Openg (3rd from left) with members of the AIFFA organizing committee

A fire blower lights up the dark lake

Hats for sale at Dewan Lagenda

One of the cultural performances that opened the evening's main program

The souvenir program given to each delegate for use throughout the festival

Winners of the short films categories were announced in the first part of the program. They are:

Best Short Films – Students:

  • 3rd place: PULAU UBIN – Singapore
  • 1st place: GLORY OF MOUNTAIN – Malaysia 

Best Short Films – Professionals:

  • 3rd place – KOMODO VILLAGE – Indonesia
  • 2nd place: CLOSER TO ME – Singapore
  • 1st place: REN SHAO – Singapore
Nominees for the major awards were also announced. Click here for the complete list. –

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