|Vilma Santos in a scene from the movie "Ekstra"
MANILA – (UPDATED) "Ekstra," the first independent film of veteran actress Vilma Santos, has been invited to participate in the 38th Toronto International Film Festival, which will be held on September 5 to 15.
This was revealed on Wednesday by ABS-CBN, which also announced that the film received a "unanimous" grade of "A" from the Cinema Evalution Board.
Early this month, "Ekstra" reaped major honors at the Director's Showcase category of Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2013. It received the audience choice award, jury prize, Netpac, best screenplay for Zig Dulay, Antoinette Jadaone and director Jeffrey Jeturian, best supporting actress for Ruby Ruiz, and best actress for Santos.
"Ekstra" opens today in theaters nationwide as part of Star Cinema's 20th anniversary in the movie industry.
According to Jeturian, the Cinemalaya entry will be part of the Contemporary World Cinema section of the festival, where the movie will be screened in Scotiabank, Canada on September 8.
“Humingi ng mga screeners 'yung mga programmers. Like sa Cinemalaya, may mga festival programmers na nanood. Kagaya sa Tokyo, nito lang nag-confirm na gusto nilang kunin for competition. Ang Tokyo may best actress award. Sa Chicago rin. Ang problema nakasagot na kami sa Toronto,” he explained in an interview with entertainment website Pep.ph.
“Ang gusto ng mga festivals sa kanila mag-international premiere. So imbis na competition, ilalagay na lang nila sa World Cinema section,” he added.
Vilma vs Nora
According to Jeturian, the success of "Ekstra" could re-ignite the long-time rivalry between Santos and Nora Aunor, whose most recent film “Thy Womb” bagged several awards from various international film festivals.
Asked whether this adds pressure to Santos, Jeturian said: “Siyempre hindi naman maiiwasang maikumpara na naman sila. Pero the fact na Vilma delivered a tour de force performance, I think, that’s enough, whether she gets an award or not.”
If Santos or the film itself gets recognized abroad, Jeturian said the awards will just be a bonus.
“Kasi everyone is saying how good she is in the film. I think 'yung acclaim na nanggaling sa mga tao is enough. Ngayon kung may award siya, bonus na lang 'yun,” he said.
The director added: “As I’ve said 'yung mga award-giving bodies naman na 'yan, kanya-kanya sila ng taste. Depende rin kung ano yung mga pelikula at kung ano 'yung mga makakalaban niya. So kung ang tingin ng mga jury abroad mas may deserving sa kanya, hindi kabawasan kay Vilma 'yun.”
Pinoy films in Toronto
Meanwhile, three other Filipino films will be showing in Toronto, the Philippine Star reported on Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, Brillante Mendoza’s "Sapi," which stars Dennis Trillo, Baron Geisler and Meryl Soriano, will have its world premiere in Toronto as part of Vanguard Section.
"Norte (Hangganan ng Kasaysayan)," starring Sid Lucero, Angeli Bayani and Archie Alemania, will have its North American premiere at the Canadian film festival. The movie, directed by Lav Diaz, was shown in the Un Certain Regard section in Cannes last May.
Also fresh from its Cannes screening, the restored version of Lino Brocka’s classic "Maynila Sa Kuko ng Liwanag" starring Hilda Koronel and Bembol Roco, will be presented at Toronto’s Cinematheque, the Star said.