Since 2013, QCinema International Film Festival (QCinema) has strengthened Quezon City’s billing as the “City of Stars” by becoming the launching ground for a new brand of Filipino cinema, one that can be recognized by the international film circuit.
It is a one-of-a-kind film festival that appropriates up to P1 million worth of production grants to select filmmakers and allows them to retain ownership of their movie rights.
This year, QCinema continues to project new stellar creations and performers into the spotlight in its fifth season of recognizing filmmaking talents.
The Awards Night, which was held at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center on October 26, was attended by select cinephiles, film industry titans and city government representatives who joined in the evening of indie film celebration.
The Circle Competition Best Picture award went to “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness” which was cited for its “solid vision, with sensitive performances paired with strong visual, aural and poetic narrative. It is an elegy to the tragic history of the Philippines as seen through the eyes of a boy that is both a celebration and a lamentation of humanity.”
Balangiga: Howling Wilderness director Khavn dela Cruz took home the Pylon Award for Best Director.
“Dapol Tan Payawar Na Tayug 1931 (The Ashes and Ghosts of Tayug 1931)” by Christopher Gozum won the Circle Competition NETPAC Jury Award and was recognized for “making aware how important it is to recognize and acknowledge a people’s history to develop their identity and the nation as a whole.”
Filmmaker Emerson Reyes, the creator of “Dormitoryo (Walang Katapusang Kwarto),” received the Circle Competition Gender Sensitivity Award for “its ensemble gathering of various characters with diverse sexual leanings and preferences that hilariously portrays acceptance of reversals in stereotypes.”
The Best Artistic Achievement award was given to Myko David of “Neomanila” for his cinematography that was cited “for its depiction of the reality of Manila through stylistic imagery, creating a unique and personal world that holds true to the brutality of its savage dwellers.”
Andrian Legaspi and John Bedia nabbed the Best Screenplay award for their notable work in “The Chanters,” a film that shows how love bridges the generational and cultural gap within a family.
The Audience Choice Award for Circle Competition was given to Mikhail Red for his piece, Neomanila.
In the Shorts roster, “Babylon” by Keith Deligero, took home the Shorts Best Picture award “for its humorous, quirky journey through Visayan landscapes and mindsets paired with very timely and serious political message.”
“Gikan Sa Ngitngit Nga Kinailadman” by Kiri Dalena won the Shorts Jury Prize “for its ability to forge through hurtful events caused by long-standing social struggles in a gripping vision of poetic justice.”
Phyllis Grande’s “Kun ‘Di Man” was presented with the Audience Choice Award.
QCinema raises a toast to foreign female directors as it presents an all-women slate of winners for its international competitions.
“Close-Knit” by Naoko Ogigami was recognized as the Rainbow QC Best Picture and was lauded “for successfully channeling mainstream dramatic conventions and for being a brave and fully enfleshed cinematic vision that complicates the transgender question within the contexts of queer suffering and survival and of maternal love.”
The Rainbow QC Jury Prize was awarded to Eliza Hittman’s “Beach Rats.” Its citation says, “for its excellent directing, evocative camerawork, subtle pacing and outstanding lead acting performance, Beach Rats delivers an immersive portrayal of a teenager’s chaotic explorations into sex, drugs, masculinity and independence.”
Mouly Surya’s “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” garnered the Asian Next Wave Best Film for “using the lens of genre to shine a spotlight on the general indifference of society towards the plight of women, especially in marginalized communities.”
Kiki Sugino collected the Asian Next Wave Jury Prize for “Snow Woman,” a “film in which a filmmaker pays tribute and reinvents classical folklore with a contemporary, female-oriented perspective, while navigating simultaneously both the demands of being its director and lead actor.”
Justine Samson from Balangiga: Howling Wilderness and Jally Nae Gilbaliga from The Chanters were recognized as the Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively.
Meanwhile, Pio del Rio from Balangiga: Howling Wilderness was hailed as the Best Supporting Actor and Sheenly Gener from Dormitoryo (Walang Katapusang Kwarto) was acknowledged as the film fest’s Best Supporting Actress.