Arts & Leisure

By Zsarlene B. Chua

MMFF: Sunday Beauty Queen wins Best Picture, Seklusyon bags 8 awards

Posted on December 31, 2016

Erik Matti’s Seklusyon swept this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival winning a total of eight awards though the best picture award went to the festival’s only documentary film entry, Sunday Beauty Queen, directed by Baby Ruth Villarama.

The only horror flick entry of the festival took home awards for Best Director for Erik Matti, Best Supporting Actress for Phoebe Walker, Special Jury Prize for Rhed Bustamante, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Sound Design, Best Original Theme Song.

This was Erik Matti’s second win for Best Director. He bagged the same award last year for the controversial Honor Thy Father, which was disqualified for the Best Picture category due to its participation in the Cinema One Originals film festival.

Mr. Matti, much like last year, also failed to attend the awards night.

“I’ve been waiting for five years for this kind of recognition…this is proof that I belong to this industry,” said Ms. Walker upon receiving her Best Supporting Actress Award.

This year’s trophy was design by Ryan Villamael, a Quezon City-based artist known for his paper-themed sculptures. The trophy resembles a paper airplane.

Meanwhile the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)-focused documentary won the coveted Best Picture award, something which came as a surprise for its director, as Ms. Villarama noted during her acceptance speech for Best Editing that being the only documentary included in the festival line-up, it felt like their film was saling-pusa, which means someone included to temporarily occupy an open space.

“We weren’t really expecting this and we thank everyone in the industry who loved us,” said Leo Selomenio, one of the OFWs featured in the documentary.

Paolo Ballesteros added another Best Actor win under his belt for his work on Die Beautiful where he played the transgender Tricia. He previously won the Best Actor award in this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) and a Special Jury Award for Outstanding Performance in the International Film Festival in Kerala, India.

Irma Adlawan won Best Actress for her work in Alvin Yapan’s Oro.

Jun Robles-Lana’s film likewise won the Audience Choice award (My Most Favorite Film) in the MMFF. The film also won the same in the TIFF.

The Best Supporting Actor award went to Christian Bables of Die Beautiful who became emotional upon receiving his first award.

“Thank you so much, direk [Jun Robles Lana] for trusting a nobody like me,” Mr. Bables said in vernacular in his acceptance speech.

The 42nd Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) has been touted as the year the film festival introduced a myriad of changes with a focus on presenting quality Filipino films. This year’s festival, though not bereft of the usual controversies -- including the shortened screening period and the choice of festival ambassador and the exclusion of the usual film franchises -- has been successful according to the statement of the festival’s executive committee.

“We have already achieved what we started out to in the first place which is the cultural advancement through our Filipino films,” said the statement posted on the festival’s Facebook page on Dec. 26.

During the film festival awards night held on Dec. 29, Thomas Orbos, acting general manager of the Metro Manila Development Authority and chairman of the festival, appealed to the theatre owners for an extension as the film festival is only supposed to run for ten days until January 3, 2017 unlike the usual run of until Jan. 10.

“We’re not the only ones who are asking for this, but the Filipino nation, and we request our industry partners, especially our theatre owners to extend the festival,” Mr. Orbos said in vernacular during his opening remarks.

“This is something everyone worked hard towards. This is not something whose value can be measured in terms of tickets sales…this is [something] the future generations can be proud of,” he added.

While the festival has yet to release the first day gross sales, the executive committee in the same Dec. 26 statement affirmed that they have ‘reached our first day target ticket sales’ and named the four top-grossing films (in no particular order): Die Beautiful, Seklusyon, Vince & Kath & James and Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: Forever is Not Enough.

Short Film Category

Best Picture -- EJK

Best Short Film Director -- Jarell Sarencio for Mga Bitoon ng Siudad

Special Jury Prize -- Manila Scream

Best Screenplay -- Mitatang

Best Work for Children -- Passage of Life

Full Length Feature Category -- Miscellaneous Awards

My Most Favorite Film -- Die Beautiful

Best Float from Parade of the Stars -- Die Beautiful

Children’s Choice Winners -- Vince & Kath & James, Saving Sally and Sunday Beauty Queen

Male Celebrity of the Night -- Ronnie Alonte

Female Celebrity of the Night -- Rhian Ramos

Full Length Feature Category -- Technical Awards

Best Sound Design -- Seklusyon

Best Musical Scoring -- Saving Sally

Best Original Theme Song -- Dominus Miserere by Francis de Veyra for Seklusyon

Best Production Design -- Seklusyon

Best Cinematography -- Seklusyon

Best Editing -- Sunday Beauty Queen

Best Screenplay -- Seklusyon

Full Length Feature Category-Main Awards

FPJ Memorial Award -- Oro

Best Director -- Erik Matti for Seklusyon

Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award -- Sunday Beauty Queen

Best Supporting Actor -- Christian Bables for Die Beautiful

Best Supporting Actress -- Phoebe Walker for Seklusyon

Best Ensemble Cast -- Oro

Special Jury Prize- Rhed Bustamante for Seklusyon

Best Actor- Paolo Ballesteros for Die Beautiful

Best Actress- Irma Adlawan for Oro

Best Picture -- Sunday Beauty Queen