When the Best Picture was awarded to "Rainbow's Sunset," a movie that centers on an elderly gay man, one would think that a rousing speech about inclusion and representation would follow.
But as it happened, the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival awards ceremony turned into a plea to give less popular entries, such as the Joel Lamangan-directed feature, their fair share of cinemas.
After all, it goes without saying that people will need to watch the movie first before a conversation about how the LGBT community are treated and seen here in the country can begin.
"Huwag lamang natin patabain ang bulsa ng lahat ng may-ari ng sinehan, patabain natin ang kaluluwa ng ating bayan," Lamangan said, after being handed the best director award.
His movie, which stars Eddie Garcia as an old man who is as in love with his guy friend as he is with his wife, took home a total of 11 awards, including Best Picture. It fended off the "elevated horror" film "Aurora" and the well-reviewed drama "One Great Love."
It has been apparently performing poorly in terms of ticket sales, which was why the number of cinemas that show it has reportedly been cut by more than half since premiering last Christmas Day.
Lamangan lamented this during his acceptance speech: "Masakit na sa harap mo ay tinatanggal ang sinehan ng pelikula mo."
Regal Entertainment's Mother Lily Monteverde, the producer of "One Great Love," which was named 3rd Best Picture, shared a similar sentiment towards cinema owners.
"We urge the cinemas to help the movie industry, to give theaters to all entries fairly for the progress of the industry," a message from Monteverde read.
Meanwhile, Anne Curtis' "Aurora" took home 2nd Best Picture and five other awards, including wins in technical categories such as visual effects, sound design, and cinematography.
Curtis, however, lost out to Gloria Romero of "Rainbow Sunset" in her bid for the Best Actress award.
For the full list of winners, click here.