MANILA, Philippines - Director Chito Roño's musical Emir won the Yussef Chahine Award for Best Artistic Contribution at the 34th Cairo International Film Festival in Egypt held last Thursday.
Chito was in Cairo to receive the trophy and plaque awarded by Festival Director Ezzat Abou Ouf.
Honorary Festival Director and legendary actor Omar Sharif presented the Best Film Award to Egypt's Lust.
Sharif has appeared in more than a hundred films including big Hollywood productions like Funny Girl opposite Barbra Streisand in 1968, Dr. Zhivago opposite Julie Christie in 1965 and Lawrence of Arabia in 1962 where he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the Academy Awards.
Emir was produced by the Film Develoment Council of the Philippines in cooperation with the Cultural Center of the Philippines. It stars Sid Lucero, Jhong Hilario, Dulce, Kalila Aguilos, Julia Clarete, Beverly Salviejo and GMA contract star Frencheska Farr in her first starring role.
Chito was very excited with the award. He would like to share it with the FDCP (former chairperson Rolando Atienza and Digna Santiago as producers), CCP (Nestor O. Jardin), Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the actors and his staff: writer Jerry Gracio, cinematographer Neil Daza, production designer Rodrigo Riccio, editor Jerrold Tarog and musicians Ebe Dancel, Vin Dancel, Diwa de Leon, Gary Granada and Chino Toledo.
With the award that he won, Chito is planning to direct an independent film next year.
Prior to Cairo, Emir was shown at the Pusan International Film Festival and is slated to screen at several film festivals next year.
Two Filipino films competed in the digital competition section: Joel Lamangan's Sigwa and Danny Anonuevo's Rekrut. Ferdy is the agent for Anonuevo and Emir.
The FDCP under new chairman Briccio Santos supported the participation of the Filipino films in Cairo.