Artikulo Uno Productions’ Heneral Luna, the tragic story of Filipino patriot General Antonio Luna and the events that surrounded the outbreak of the Philippine-American War, was named Best Picture at the first Anita Awards for Cinema given by the Society of Film Enthusiasts (SOFIE).
The film topped other nominees Da Dog Show, Imbisibol and Honor Thy Father, while and picking up four other awards including Best Screenplay (Henry Francia, Eduardo Rocha, Jerrold Tarog), Best Editing (Jerrold Tarog), Best Sound (Mikkl Quizon), and Best Visual Effects (Blackburst).
Francis Villacorta, charter president of the cineaste group cited
Heneral Luna for “its powerful evocation of the open secrets of Philippine history and a curious reworking of the fabric of historical drama to impact today’s audiences.” Villacorta is s an actor and director, best known for such films as San Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir (2013), Chronicle of Wasted Lives (2009) and Sibak (1994).
Dennis Trillo won the Best Actor award for his richly textured performance in Felix Manalo beating nominees Lou Veloso (Da Dog Show), John Arcilla (Heneral Luna), and Buboy Villar (Kid Kulafu).
Alessandra da Rossi bagged the Best Actress award for her truthful performance in Bambanti topping nominees Therese Malvar (Hamog), Nora Aunor (Taklub) and LJ Reyes (Anino sa Likod ng Buwan).
JM de Guzman was named Best Supporting Actor for his layered performance as a migrant worker in Imbisibol besting Allen Dizon (Imbisibol), Bor Lentejas (Hamog), and Micko Laurente (Bambanti).
Veteran actress Perla Bautista earned the Best Supporting Actress award for her honest and quietly intense performance in Honor Thy Father. Other nominees included Annicka Dolonius (Apocalypse Child), Bela Padilla (Felix Manalo) and Tessie Tomas (Water Lemon).
Ralston Jover (Da Dog Show) picked up the Best Director prize over nominees Jerrold Tarog (Heneral Luna), Erik Matti (Honor Thy Father) and Lawrence Fajardo (Imbisibol). Jover’s work was singled out for its powerful imagery.
Winners in other categories included Rody Lacap (Felix Manalo) for Best Cinematography; Joel Bilbao, Edgar Martin Littaua and Danny Red (Felix Manalo) for Best Production Design; Erwin Romulo (Honor Thy Father) for Best Music Score and the cast of Imbisibol for Best Acting Ensemble.
The Best Documentary Feature award went to Unsurrendered 2: The Hunters ROTC Guerillas. Other nominees included Laban: The Meaning of the Edsa Revolution and Crescent Rising.
The Saint Pedro Calungsod Memorial Film of the Year award went to Da Dog Show for its “thoughtful and absorbing look at a family’s struggle to face the odds of everyday life.” Emlyn Olfindo Santos, co-chair of the award giving body said that “the film is a celebration of the human spirit”. Other films considered in this category included Kid Kulafu and Imbisibol.
Ad Hoc awards went to Pelicula, the annual Spanish film festival as Best Film Event of the Year; Dheepan (France), the crime drama directed by Jacques Audiard about three Tamil refugees fleeing civil war ravaged Sri Lanka and trying to rebuild their lives in France as Best Foreign Film; Rolando Tolentino’s “Cinema, Cultural Politics and Transnatioalism in the Marcos-Brocka Philippines” as Best Literature/Book on Film; and Constantino Tejero for Best Film Criticism.
The honorary and special awards that will be given on the awards night include Jose Nepomuceno Career Achievement award to veteran actress Gloria Romero; the Lino Brocka Freedom of Expression award to Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi; the Film Heritage award to The Film Foundation/World Cinema Project and the Film Development Council of the Philippines for the restoration of the film classic “Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag” and the World Cinema Treasure Award to French filmmaker Jean Luc-Godard.
The Anita Awards, named after the mother of its founding chair, is likened to a mother nurturing her children in a parallel way to filmmakers nurturing their work. The date and venue of the awards ceremony will be announced later.