‘Sana Dati,’ ‘Transit’ lead Cinemalaya winners

Vilma Santos the other big winner as Best Actress for 'Ekstra'

 ACTING SHOWCASE. 'Transit' cast gets certificate of recognition. Photo from the film's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Cinemalaya 2013 concluded its 10-day celebration of independent cinema Sunday night, August 4, with an Awards Night dominated by the winning entries “Sana Dati,” “Transit,” “Ekstra,” and “Quick Change.”

The concluding ceremony of the festival, now on its 9th year, was held at its home base, the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

“Sana Dati” swept many of the awards in the Directors’ Showcase – the most prominent of the three categories (the others are New Breed and Short Feature) in the festival-competition.

This multihued romance starring Paulo Avelino and Lovi Poe won Best Film, Best Director, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for TJ Trinidad.

“Sana Dati” also took home the technical awards for sound, original score, editing, production design, cinematography, and, for its filmmaker Jerrold Tarog, direction and origninal score.

Tarog’s film is a sleeper compared with Jeffrey Jeturian’s high-profile entry, “Ekstra,” which won for iconic actress Vilma Santos the Best Actress award in the Directors’ Showcase. 

But the Star for All Seasons was a no-show that evening, although she attended the July 28 premiere of her first indie.

For Vilma, who is currently serving her last term as Batangas governor, the premiere was a festive occasion that validated this latest move in her storied acting career to venture into independent cinema, following after Nora Aunor.

Vilma sent a message expressing gratitude to the Jury and to the independent film community.

READ: ‘Ekstra’ a must-see for Noranians

No award was given in the Best Actor category of the Directors’ Showcase.

Apart from Best Actress, “Ekstra” won, for Ruby Ruiz, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Screenplay for Zig Dulay, Antoinette Jadaone, and the film’s director, Jeturian. 

The film was also bestowed the Special Jury Prize, the Audience Choice Award, and the Netpac (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award under the Directors’ Showcase.

Hannah Espia’s “Transit” and Eduardo Roy Jr.’s “Quick Change” dominated the New Breed Category.

Espia won Best Director and Best Editing (sharing this award with Benjamin Tolentino) for her film about a migrant father and son coping with Israel’s deportation laws.

“Transit,” in turn, won Best Film, Best Original Score, and Best Cinematography, as well as the Netpac Special Award and Audience Choice Award under the New Breed Category.

The Jury, which included Directors Peque Gallaga, Carlitos Siguion Reyna, and Ditsi Carolino, cited the film, among other things, “for its highly competent use of the language of cinema to paint the challenging world of the Filipino OFW in the Middle East.”

Another notable success of “Transit” is the Certificate of Recognition for Ensemble Acting awarded to its cast.

“Transit” also won the Best Actress award for acclaimed stage and screen performer Irma Adlawan and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Jasmine Curtis-Smith, who marks this independent film as her first full-length feature.

READ: Jasmine Curtis-Smith’s first film an indie

Other performances honored at Awards Night include Joey Paras’s Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Jason Paul Laxamana’s “Babagwa.”

The Jury acknowledged Paras’ “effective portrayal” and “balance of repugnance and empathy” in his character, as an accomplice in an Internet scam.

Still along the LGBT theme, Roy’s “Quick Change” took home Best Sound, Best Screenplay, the Special Jury Prize under New Breed, and Best Performance by a Lead Actor for Mimi Juarez.

Juarez, a transsexual like his character in the film, was dressed in a gown for this event. He was evidently caught by surprise when his name was announced, and he struggled with his speech as he expressed gratitude.

Juarez was cited for “his bold take on a gender-bending role, and for endowing his portrayal with the right mixture of repulsion and sympathy.”

“Quick Change” was commended for “evoking the dark world of illegal cosmetic surgery” and for “its gripping tale of corruption and personal redemption.”

For a complete list of the winners of the 9th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, please check out this link. – Rappler.com

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