THE BASEBALL PLAYER by Carlo Obispo was named Best Film in the 18th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival Awards program held August 14 at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.
Obispo’s film was cited for “its sheer poignance and quiet power, for its subtle but trenchant storytelling, and for its penetrating take on the Mindanao conflict and the sad wreckage it has made of young innocent lives.”
The film scooped up the awards for Best Screenplay, which Obispo wrote, and Best Editing for Zig Dulay. Tommy Alejandrino garnered the Best Actor award for his portrayal of a Moro child soldier whose dream was to become a baseball player.
A box office hit at Cinemalaya this year, Blue Room by Ma-an Asuncion-Dagñalan romped off with the Special Jury Prize and four major awards—Best Direction for Dagñalan, Best Cinematography for Neil Daza, Best Supporting Actor for Soliman Cruz, and Best Production Design for Marxie Maolen Fadul.
Blue Room was lauded “for its bravura filmmaking that portrays vibrantly the millennial generation as it squares up to social corruption and abuse of power.”
The Best Actress award went to Max Eigenmann who rendered a sensitive performance of a middle aged woman riddled with indecision as she is confronted by maternity in 12 Weeks by Anna Isabelle Matutina. Ruby Ruiz took the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in Ginhawa by Christian Paolo Lat. Other awards handed out in the Main Competition include-Best Sound for Pepe Manikan in Bula Sa Langit, and, Best Musical Score for Isha Abubakar for Retirada.
In the Short Film Category, four awards were given: Named Best Short Film, Zig Dulay’s Black Rainbow was singled out for its “being a bright jewel of a short film, for being a cross cultural masterpiece that touches the heart and reveals....the determination of children to pursue their bright young dreams.” The film also won for Dulay the Best Screenplay award.
Special Jury Prize and Best Direction went to Gabriella Serrano for Dikit, a silent film praised for “pushing the frontiers of feminist cinema and reimagining of Philippine folklore.” The NETPAC award went to 12 Weeks for the Full Length Feature category and Black Rainbow for the Short film category. The award is given by the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema to promote Asian cinema and discover and recognize exceptional films and talents. The Audience Choice awards went to Kargo by TM Malones in the Full Length category and to Mga Handum nga Nasulat sa Baras (The Dreams That Are Written On The Sand) by Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay and Richard Jeroui Salvadico in the Short Film category.
This year’s Festival marks it return to onsite, In Real Life (IRL) screenings. For the past two years of the pandemic, the Festival was streamed online, offering the short films in competition and exhibition films. Eleven finalists selected from the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Festival competed in the Full-length category while 12 films vied for the plum in the Short film category. The competing films were being shown in select partner cinemas nationwide up until August 16. Cinemalaya goes to Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte on September 9 to 15, 2022 and will have an online run in October via CCP Vimeo account. Cinemalaya was established in 2005 with the aim to discover, encourage and support the cinematic works of upcoming and veteran Filipino filmmakers who boldly articulate and freely interpret the Philippine experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity. For more information, visit the CCP (www.culturalcenter.gov.ph) and Cinemalaya (https://cinemalaya.org/) websites. Follow the official CCP social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.