THE Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) kicks off the centenary of Philippine Cinema by awarding 86 filmmakers, films, and artists in the third installment of its Film Ambassadors’ Night held last Sunday in the Samsung Hall of SM Aura in Taguig City.
“[The Film Ambassadors’ Night] was really about celebrating films and its makers. Glad to see independent and commercial filmmakers, national artists and film critics, documentary and content makers, animation and television providers, government officials and stakeholders all in one room,” Will Fredo, FDCP executive director, said in a Facebook post about the event.
The annual event is meant to recognize films, filmmakers, and artists “who won in globally recognized film festivals,” according to a press release.
Honorees this year include films that received accolades from international film festivals: Shireen Seno’s Nervous Translation (NETPAC Award for Best Asian Feature Film at the 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam in Netherlands and Best Screenwriter for Asian New Talent Category at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival in China), Alberto “Treb” Monteras II’s Respeto (Centenary Award for the Best Debut Film of a Director at the International Film Festival of India in Goa, India), and Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s Alpha, The Right To Kill (Special Jury Prize at the 66th San Sebastian International Film Festival in San Sebastian, Spain).
But the night’s biggest awards were given to newly minted National Artist for FilmKidlat Tahimik (real name: Eric de Guia), the film Hows of Us (2018) considered the highest-grossing Filipino film of all time due to its P800 million box office take, and producer Bianca Balbuena-Liew who was behind films such as Lav Diaz’s Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (2016).
The three were given the Camera Obscura Artistic Excellence Award, “the highest honor given by the agency to those who displayed excellence in the global film arena and made major contributions in Philippine cinema,” said the release.
“We want the entire film industry to have a glimpse of how we are going to celebrate the 100 years of Philippine cinema because it’s really important for not just our filmmakers and our producers to have ownership of this event. I hope it will also trickle down to the audiences, the very people who are watching our films, that they take to heart the celebration of 100 years of Philippine cinema,” said Mary Liza Diño-Seguerra, chairperson and CEO of the FDCP.
Though moving pictures were introduced in the Philippines in 1897, it wasn’t until 1919 that the country produced its first film, Dalagang Bukid, by Filipino filmmaker Jose Nepomuceno popularly called the Father of Philippine Cinema. — ZBC