2013: Pinoy indie films take centerstage

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Monday, December 30, 2013

FILIPINOS are starting to leave an impressive mark in the international movie scene, as more and more locally produced films were recognized abroad.

This year alone, independent films "Alagwa" and "On The Job" (OTJ) made headlines in the United States and across Europe.

"Alagwa," a film inspired by a popular urban legend about a child's disappearance in Chinatown in Manila, gave Kapamilya star Jericho Rosales his first international acting trophy at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Rosales bagged the Outstanding Achievement in Acting Award in California and took home his first Best Actor award at Gawad Urian in Manila.

Child star Bugoy Carino also won the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the Asean Film Festival held in Malaysia.

Jericho, who co-produced the movie, said the recognition in the States is a testament to Filipino's talent in filmmaking.

"Nakakataba ng puso, nakakagaan ng loob and nakaka proud. It's an honor talaga and kami lang yung Filipino movie sa festival na yun. Nagtatanong sila, curious sila sa Pilipinas," he said.

"Alagwa" was written and directed by Ian Lorenos.

Following the aforementioned success is Erik Matti's OTJ. The 2013 action-thriller participated in the Directors Fortnight, a selection in 66th Cannes Film Festival held independently by the French Directors Guild.

Matti and its lead stars Rayver Cruz, Gerald Anderson, Piolo Pascual and Joel Torre personally attended the event in Europe and presented the flick to film critics around the world.

The film was also screened at the 17th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea where seasoned actor Torre bagged his first international Best Actor trophy while the movie received the Jury Prize.

Aside from "Alagwa" and "OTJ," two Filipino-themed movies also made headline this 2013. These are "Ilo Ilo" and "Metro Manila."

Helmed by Singaporean director Anthony Chen, "Ilo Ilo" tells the story of Filipina domestic helper named Teresa, played by Angeli Bayani, who traveled to Singapore in hopes to provide a better life for her family left behind in the Philippines.

The film won the prestigious Camera d'Or award at the 66th Cannes Film Festival in France and also bagged other trophies at the 11th Pacific Meridian Film Festival in Russia (Best Feature, NETPAC Prize), and the Best Original Screenplay and Best Feature at the 50th Golden Horse Awards in Taipei.

During the recent visit of "Life of Pi" director Ang Lee in Manila the Taiwanese director met Bayani and tagged the Filipina as the country's "national treasure."

"Hindi ko alam 'yung sasabihin ko kasi si Ang Lee 'yun. I have no words to express my gratitude that he considered our film, especially we're just starting and we don't know kung may manonood ba," said Bayani in a separate interview.

Meanwhile, "Metro Manila," written and directed by Sean Ellis, received numerous accolades for its storytelling.

Shot entirely in the Philippines in 2011, the film centers in the life of Oscar Ramirez, played by Jake Macapagal, who brought his family in the nation's capital Metro Manila to escape their impoverished lives in the countryside.

The family will then fall victim to the dark side of the city. Ramirez will eventually get a job as an armored truck driver and will meet officer Ong, played by John Arcilla.

The film recently won Best British Independent Film at the 16th British Independent Film Awards or BIFAs.

Aside from the said winning, "Metro Manila" also received awards in several film festivals, including the 2013 Sundance, Filmfest Hamburg in Germany, and the Amazonas Film Festival.

Both "Ilo Ilo" and "Metro Manila" were chosen to represent Singapore and the United Kingdom, respectively, at this year's Academy Awards. Unfortunately, both films failed to be shortlisted for competition scheduled in March. (Sunnex)


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