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Philippine cinema’s recognition of the subalterns or the other movies

Judging from the list of nominations and winners from various award-giving bodies in respective categories in the local movie industry released in 2019 and 2020, it indicates democratic choices among their assessors and voters. Most of them are films produced not by the big, major studios but the relatively new if not perceived as minor or small companies.


Notice the official winners in the 43rd Gawad Urian of the prestigious Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (MPP) where the Best Film “Babae at Baril” was won by a collaboration of independently producing factories, Cignal Entertainment (a component of TV5), Epic Media and the Quezon City International Film Festival. Although it is MPP’s trademark to look and to honor a film/s which is/are the embodiment of life of the Filipinos, it nonetheless recognizes objectively the interweaving of all filmic elements in the whole exercise.



In the criteria of MPP published in their annual souvenir programs during awards night and coffee-table books of the “Urian Anthology,” it states that “films are judged on how effectively they fuse content and form. In the case of two films which are equally well-made, the film with the more significant subject matter is to be preferred.


“Accordingly, the content of the film is considered superior if it is a truthful portrayal of the human condition as perceived by the Filipino, and if it deals with the Filipino experience to which the greater number of moviegoers can relate.” There are also forms like acting, direction, screenplay, production design etc. which constitute a film that MPP pieces together, analyzes and conjures up against it parameters.     


In other words, Gawad Urian doesn’t discriminate against any film producer, big or small, as long as their products fit into their gauge.


At the rate things are going, the Philippine film business is thriving as many productions around and there are still others being established.


It’s not true that the local movie industry is dead. It is indeed alive and kicking. It is flourishing in its very blood and veins even in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic when a lot of film projects are being made with the corresponding health protocols to secure on.



If only the recognition of other movies which are not only called indie films but subalterns as well. They aren’t alternatives but also among the primary offerings a filmgoer can get. They are as commercial as any movie. Most of their stars are also common stars from the quotidian like any other Daniel Padilla, Christopher de Leon, Carlos Salazar, Marian Rivera, Nora Aunor, Susan Roces, Eddie Gutierrez, Vilma Santos, Dido de la Paz, Joel Saracho, Madlen Nicolas, Pilar Pilapil, Delia Razon, Rizza Mae Dizon etc.  


Not only was Elijah Canlas a good, gifted young actor but he was a unique, boat rocker, innovative and a rebel with an artistic cause in the complacent film community. Ate the same time, he was able to flesh out a character in “Kalel, 15” very emphatic that arrested the attention of the voters like in the Manunuris. His vehicle as the Best Actor was produced by IdeaFirst Company and Cigna Entertainment. Janine Gutierrez might be a popular actress but her role and performance in “Babae at Baril” warranted the Urian’s acting requirements as she bagged the Best Actress plum.



In the coming 68th Famas Awards to be virtually held on December 20, 2020 and streamed live on IFLIX and FAMAS Digital Official YouTube Channel and its other social media accounts, many films and artisans, most of them low profile or nebulous, are cited and nominated. Except for the Best Actress nominees who are mostly popular, Gutierrez for “Babae at Baril,” Nadine Lustre (“Ulan”), Angela Cortez (“Jino To Marie”), Jean Garcia (“Watch Me Kill”), Bela Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo (“Hello, Love, Goodbye”), notice the newness, except for Alden Richards (“Hello, Love, Goodbye”) in the line-up for the Best Actor award: Jansen Magpusao (“John Denver Trending”), Nar Cabico (“Akin ang Korona”), Kristofer King (“Verdict”) and Gold Azeron (“Metamorphosis”).


It’s also a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar in other categories.


Best Picture: “Aswang,” “Babae at Baril,” “John Denver Trending,” “Kalel, 15,” “Verdict” and “The Cleaners”;


Best Director: Arden Rod Condez (“John Denver Trending”), Glen Barit (“The Cleaners”), Jet Leyco (“For My Alien Friend”), Jun Robles Lana (“Kalel, 15”), Rae Red (“Babae at Baril”) and Raymund Ribay Gutierrez (“Verdict);


Best Supporting Actress: Cherie Gil (“Kaputol”), Ella Cruz (“Edward”), Meryll Soriano (“John Denver Trending”), Dolly de Leon (“Verdict”) and Yayo Aguila (“Metamorphosis”);


Best Supporting Actor: Ricky Davao (“Fuccbois”), Topper Fabregas (“Sila-Sila”), Phil Palmos (“Akin ang Korona”) and JC Santos (“Babae at Baril”);


Best Screenplay: Glen Barit (“The Cleaners”); Jun Lana (“Kalel, 15”), Rae Red (“Babae at Baril”), Daniel Saniana (“Sila-Sila”) and Raymund Gutierrez (“Verdict”);


Best Cinematography: Alyx Arumpac and Tanya Haurylchyk (“Aswang”), Carlo Mendoza (“Kalel, 15”), Neil Daza (“Ulan”), Odyssey Flores (“Mañanita”) and Tey Clamor (“Babae at Baril”);


Best Editing: Fatima Bianchi and Anne Fabini (“Aswang”), Che Tagyamon and Noah Loyola (“Cleaners”), Jey Leyco and Brian Gonzales (“For my Alien Friend”), Benjamin Tolentino (“Kalel, 15”), Carlo Manatad (“Fuccbois”) and Marya Ignacio (“Hello, Love, Goodbye”):


Best Production Design: Carmela Danao (“Lola Igna”), Alvin Francisco (“Edward”), Maolen Fadul (“Kalel, 15”), Ferdie Abuel (“Ulan”) and Eero Yves Francisco (“Babae At Baril”);


Best Scoring: Richard Gonzales (“Jino To Marie”), Glenn Barit (“Cleaners”), Teresa Barrozo (“Kalel, 15”), Nerikka Salim and Immanuel Verona (“Babae At Baril”) and Jessie Lasaten (“Hello, Love, Goodbye”);


Best Sound: Jet Leyco and Brian Gonzales (“For My Alien Friend”), Albert Michael Idioma, Alan Louie and Lamberto Casas (“Kalel, 15”), Jason Conanan and Miko Quizon (“Ulan”), Bryan Dumaguina (“Watch Me Kill”); Immanuel Verona (“Clarita”) and Mikko Quizon and John Perez (“Aswang”)


Best Documentary: “A is for Agustin” by Grace Pimentel Simbulan, “Aswang” by Alyx Ayn Arumpac and “For My Alien Friend” by Jet Leyco;



Best Short Film: “Ascending”—written and directed by Sophia Isip; “Budots: The Craze Writers”—written and directed by Jay Rosas and Mark Paul Limbaga; “Byaheng Pa-Kalayaan Ave, Na-Edsang Letse”—written and directed by Lem Garcellano; “Disconnection Notice”—written and directed by Glenn Averia; “Here, Here”—written and directed by Joanne Cesario; “Judy Free”—written and directed by Che Tagyamon; “Michel de Certeau’s Metaphor For Everyday Life”—written and directed by Noli Manaig; “Plus. Minus.”—written by Lester Cristal, Lourel San Pablo and Romeo Gapuz, directed by Lester Cristal; “Shoemaker”—written by Sonny Calvento, directed by Sheron Dayoc and “Tokwifi”—written and directed by Carla Pulido Ocampo.


Christian Bables and Jasmine Curtis-Smith will host the virtual main event after Lance Raymundo’s recent online announcing the official nominations.


Meanwhile, the following are members of the jury:


For full length film category—Paolo Villaluna (Overall Chair), Carlos Siguion-Reyna, Sari Dalena and Pepe Diokno.


For short film category—Raymond Red, John Torres and Jon Lazam.


For documentary category–Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, Erwin Romulo, Ditsi Carolino and Baby Ruth Villarama.


They are supported by the current FAMAS Board of Directors headed by its President Francia Conrado and Chairman Eloy Padua.



Meanwhile, the list of nominations in the on-going 4th Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino of the Film Development of the Philippines (FDCP)—whose awards night will be on December 12, 2020 at 8 pm on FDCP Facebook page and YouTube channel—is also indicative of the rising above of the subalterns.


Best Picture: “Cleaners,” “He Who Is Without Sin,” “Metamorphosis,” “Kintsugi” and “The Highest Peak”;


Best Director: Glenn Barit (“Cleaners”), Jason Paul Laxamana (“He Who Is Without Sin”), J.E. Tiglao (“Metamorphosis”), Lawrence Fajardo (“KIntsugi”) and Arbi Barbarona (“The Highest Peak”);


Best Actress: Sarah Chang “Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids”), Nats Sitoy (“Come On, Irene”), Hana Kino (“Come On, Irene”) and Hiro Nishiuchi (“Kintsugi”);


Best Actor: Ken Yasuda (“Come On, Irene”), Gold Azeron (“Metamorphosis”) and Gio Gahol (“Sila-Sila”);


Best Supporting Actress: Iana Bernardez (“Metamorphosis”) and Gianne Rivera (“Cleaners”);


Best Supporting Actor: Phi Palmos (”KIntsugi”), Topper Fabregas (“Sila-Sila”), Roweno Caballes (“The Highest Peak”), Allan Gannaban (“Cleaners”) and Henyo Ehem (“The Highest Peak”);


Best Screenplay: J.E. Tiglao and Boo Dabu (“Metamorphosis”), Glenn Barit (“Cleaners”), Jason  Paul Laxamana (“He Who Is Without Sin”), Herlyn Alegre (“Kintsugi”) and Daniel Saniana (“Sila-Sila”);


Best Cinematography: Boy Yñiguez (“Kintsugi”), Steven Paul Evangelio (“Cleaners”), Takeyuki Onishi (“Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids”), Tey Clamor (“Metamorphosis”) and Emmanuel Liwanag (“He Who Is Without Sin”);


Best Editing: Noah Loyola and Che Tagyamon (“Cleaners”), Mai Calapardo (“He Who Is Without Sin”), Lawrence Fajardo (“Kintsugi”), Renard Torres (“Metamorphosis”) and Annika Lok Yin Feign (“The Helper”);


Best Production Design: Alvin Francisco (“Cleaners”), Hai Balbuena and Rolando Inocencio (“Kintsugi”), James Arvin Rosendal (“Metamorphosis”), Lars Magbanua (“He Who Is Without Sin”) and Fritz Silorio (“Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids”);


Best Musical Score: Glenn Barit (“Cleaners”), Arbi Barbarona (“The Highest Peak”), Peter Legaste (“Kintsugi”), Dale Martin and Tamara dela Cruz (“Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids”) and Igo Gonzalez (“Sila-Sila”);


Best Sound Design: Shichihei Kawamoto and Yuji Akazawa (“Come On, Irene”), Dale Martin (“Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids”), Aian Louie Caro and Erlyn Tomboc (“He Who Is Without Sin”), Arbi Barbarona (“The Highest Peak”) and John Michael Perez and Daryl Libongco (“Cleaners”).


The 4th PPP will also give special recognitions and musical performances by Raf Bernardino, Acel Bisa, Bayang Barrios and Naliyagan, Joey Ayala, Ice Seguerra and Regine Velasquez.

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