"Beauty Queen," a story of a young woman during World War II in the Philippines, topped the 17th edition of Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, winning the Best Film award on Thursday.
Besting 12 other finalists, the 18-minute short film followed a story of Remedios Gomez, who won a town beauty pageant, but suffered the effects of the Japanese invasion in the country, including the death of her father.
Directed by Myra Aquino, "Beauty Queen" received the Balanghai trophy and P150,000 cash aside from other prizes for capturing the top plum.
Meanwhile, “Ang Sadit na Planeta” by Bicolano filmmaker Arjanmar Rebeta took three of the six awards in the competition, including the Special Jury Prize.
The short movie was also named the Audience Choice and Netpac Jury Prize winner.
“Malaking bagay na makapasok pa lang sa Cinemalaya. Pangatlong beses ko na ito magpasa sa Cinemalaya and ngayon lang po ako napili for main competition. Nakakabigay siya ng pag-asa. Sana po magtuloy-tuloy ang development,” Rebeta said during the virtual awarding.
“Ang Sadit Na Planeta” or “The Little Planet” focused on the main character Arjan who found himself alone on a small planet called Planet I. For 40 days, he traveled the little planet to find the truth he was looking for.
“Kids on Fire” by Kyle Nieva also received a couple of Balanghai trophies for Best Screenplay and Best Direction.
Nieva produced the story of a prepubescent boy who slowly learns of his special role in the impending apocalypse during a religious camp. While in the camp, he gets confused between constantly emerging sexual fantasies and his divine calling.
“This win is an encouragement for all of us in this very difficult time. It's an encouragement to just keep going despite what's happening with the world. We are just very grateful for Cinamelaya and CCP for being there with us to champion our works,” Nieva said.
Other finalists at this year’s Cinemalaya were “The Dust in Your Place”, “Out of Body”, “Namnama en Lolang”, “Maski Papano”, “Kawatan Sa Salog”, “Crossing”, “Ate O.G.”, “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi”, “Ang Mga Nawalang Pag-asa at Panlasa”, and “Looking for Rafflesias and Other Fleeting Things.”