Stars also shine at Cinemanila awards night

by Boy Villasanta,

Posted at Oct 26 2009 02:51 PM | Updated as of Oct 26 2009 10:51 PM

MANILA - Blame it on the cultural and marketing orientation of Filipinos why many perceived last Friday’s 11th Cinemanila International Film Festival awards night at The Fort NBC Tent in Taguig City as “star-less.”

Print and broadcast entertainment journalist Morly Alinio was complaining that there were no big stars present during the event, but how come named artists Albert Martinez and Giselle Sanchez emceed the show?

Martinez, an accomplished actor, was a matinee idol and has risen to be one of the country’s most respected thespians, if not the best, in cinema and television.

Sanchez, a complete performer, is a highly sought after comedienne who holds a distinguished image of an intellectual star who graduated with honors in college.

If Arnel Pineda, world renowned Filipino member of the foreign act Journey, wasn’t a star, why would he be accorded importance and magnitude by an international label?

Pineda sang and moved around the stage with passion and élan, giving his interpretation of some of Queen’s songs more mass appeal.

His manager in the Philippines, television and movie director Bert de Leon, was beaming with pride over his discovery.

The Company, a starry quintet, provided a musical number in medley, which was too emphatic, pop and mushy like a soap opera.

Popular and award-winning art director, production designer and make-up artist Jay Lozada, who was responsible for Eugene Domingo’s arresting dual looks in “Kimmy Dora,” was caught pronouncing the award rites as “lackluster.”

Why could it be “lackluster” when glitz and glamour were all over the place and the film entries from various countries were rigorously screened and the jurors were chosen discriminately, careful evoking high caliber standards gauged by their exposure to different international film festivals?

This year’s Cinemanila judges included 2009 Cannes Palm d’Or Best Director Brillante Mendoza, Indonesian critic Eric Sasono, Berlin Film Festival stalwart Sonja Heinen, Jeonju film fest giant Un-Seong Yoo, prizewinning Filipino filmmaker Sherad Anthony Sanchez, awarded Filipino artist Ronnie Lazaro, US film programer Joel Shepard, Singaporean archivist Bee Thiam Tan, Thai critic Kong Rithdee and Filipino moviemaker John Torres.

Actresses Ynez Veneracion and Ana Capri, two of the most dependable talents despite their humble beginnings as bold stars, lent beauty and luster to the show along with innate actors Joel Torre, Mon Confiado, Ketchup Eusebio, Simon Ibarra and many more revered artists.

Veteran actress Rustica Carpio came in late but she was happy and fulfilled just the same that she had finally attended Cinemanila.

These days, stars, big and small alike, to attend such occasion require the needed motivation, a sad state but not necessarily, the end of the world for all of us.

Being star-studded doesn’t only mean quantitatively packed but most importantly, the substantive, eternal radiance.

As National Artist for Film Eddie Romero introduced Hollywood celebrated scriptwriter Paul Schrader, we are led to the latter’s praiseworthy messages on Cinemanila founder and organizer Tikoy Aguiluz’s efforts to mount such significant festival.

“There is a bright future ahead for this kind of endeavor,” Schrader said in gist.

Among the winners in this year’s Cinemanila are:

Main competition (International):
Best Actor—Alfredo Castro (Tony Manero, Chile and Brazil)
Best Actress—Tsilla Chelton (Pandora’s Box,  France/Germany/Turkey/Belgium)
Grand Jury Prize—Sergey Dvortseyov’s “Tulpan” (Germany/Switzerland/Kazakhstan/Russia)
Grand Prize Lino Brocka—Steve McQueen’s “Hunger” (UK and Ireland)

SEA competition:
Best Short Film—Alizera Khatami and Ali Seifourri’s “Focal Point” (Malaysia)
Best Film—Yasmin Ahmad’s “Talentime” (Malaysia), a posthumous award given to Ahmad who died last July.
Special Mention—Woo Ming Jin’s “Woman on Fire Looks for Water” (Malaysia)

Young Cinema in competition:
Best Short Film—Remton Siega Zualsola’s ”To Siomai Love” (Philippines)
Ishmael Bernal Prize—“To Siomai Love”

Digital Lokal competition:
Best Director—Christopher Gozum, “Anacbanua” (Philippines)
Grand Jury Prize—Armando Lao’s “Biyaheng Lupa” (Philippines)
Lino Brocka Grand Prize—“Anacbanua”
Life Achievement Award—screenwriter Paul Schrader
Indie Spirit Award—Filipino director Lav Diaz. –Report by Boy Villasanta,