THE disruptions brought by the pandemic also affected film festivals, the Nabunturan Independent Film Exhibition or Nabifilmex is no exception.

Nabifilmex is a regional film festival hosted by Nabunturan Municipality in the province of Davao de Oro or formerly known as the Compostela Valley Province. The film festival was known for conducting open-air film screenings at the town plaza made possible by a donated giant inflatable screen. In 2019, the film festival had its cinema screening at the newly built Cinematheque Nabunturan which was constructed by the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

Things would have been rosy for Nabifilmex in 2020 until Covid-19 impacted the organizers’ plans for a bigger and much more festive event. With the current restrictions, the organizers decided to adjust to the new normal.

“The original plan was for a hybrid event, we do it online then with limited screenings at the Nabunturan Cinematheque, but during the meeting, the LGU (local government unit) discouraged us to do face-to-face screenings so we decided to make it fully virtual,” says festival director lawyer Karen Santiago Malaki.

This year’s Nabifilmex (Nabifilmex 8), which ran from October 25 to October 29, had 311 submissions from filmmakers around the world. The organizers eventually chose 45 films as official competing entries; there were about 11 films made by Davao de Oro filmmakers.

“We had 10 international films from India, Malaysia and Africa,” Atty Karen added.

For its online platform, the Nabunturan local government website hosted a digital space for the official competing films on its Nabifilmex channel. During the festival, the films were livestreamed on the Nabifilmex Facebook page.

“Nabifilmex channel is incorporated in the website of LGU Nabunturan anybody can go visit the channel and watch the films on their own time,” Atty Karen said.

Serving as Jurors for the festival were film professor Ed Cabagnot, filmmakers Zurich Chan and Benjie Garcia. Here are the winning films of the Nabilfilmex 8:

BEST SCREENPLAY: Jai Shane Cañete for Subiron Namom and Kenneth dela Cruz for Baboy Talunon

BEST SOUND DESIGN: Arki Red for Signal Notice

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mary Clair Amora for Out

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Cyril Jay Ortega and Alex Gascon for Ang Bunga sa Tyan ni Adan

BEST EDITING: Ion Velasquez for Blue Tooth

BEST ENSEMBLE: Brian Brusas for Blue Tooth

BEST ACTRESS: Keyabby Gaye Masambo-Bantayan for Tugbang sa mga Buhat

BEST ACTOR: Von Conde for Mga Salitang Inanod and PJ Macarina for Mga Salitang Inanod

BEST DIRECTOR: Ella Louise Salomon for Ang Bunga sa Tyan ni Adan

JURY PRIZE: Usa ka Libog by Cromwell Ken Ibo

BEST DAVAO DE ORO FILM: Ising by Juvy Ann Clarito and Dante M. Plaza Jr.

GIMADYAWAN AWARD BEST FILM: Mga Salitang Inanod by Gabriel Carmelo