Leads bevy of fellow first-time winners at QCinema 2016
Thirty-year-old ABS-CBN actor JC De Vera won his very first acting plum when he bagged the Best Actor award at the 2016 QCinema International Film Festival. He was singled out from the rest of the nominees for his portrayal of a closeted gay who finds himself in prison in the independent film Best. Partee. Ever.
Directed by HF Yambao, De Vera gave a compelling performance of Mikey—a young, discreet, gay man from the affluent class, who spends five years in a city jail while the courts hear his case for drug pushing. Inside prison, Mikey makes a huge effort to adapt to the culture and stratification among inmates, and eventually becomes “mayor” [ring leader]to a group of gay inmates called “Gang-da”. Together, they thrive to survive the dangers of gang riots, the mundane, and the decay of human dignity.
Talking to the reporters at the festival’s awards night on October 18 at the Quezon City Interactive Museum, De Vera was ecstatic: “This is my first acting award, my first indie film and first gay role! All of this was a surprise—very unexpected. I never thought I would reach a point [in my career]that I’d receive an acting award.”
Despite the challenges of a gay role, De Vera shared he had no second thoughts in accepting first-time director Yambao’s offer. He admitted he was overwhelmed through the shoot, recalling, “All the hardships I encountered when we were shooting inside jail, the 30-second kiss—all of those paid off in the end.”
Elaborating on his experience, he added, “Every part of portraying Mikey was hard. I was struggling through the entire filming. It wasn’t comfortable in the Pampanga City Jail to start with, and then there were sensitive scenes I had to do for the first time.”
Asked if Best. Partee. Ever. signals his openness to more daring projects, De Vera replied, “I’m not so sure, but on the other hand I think I really have to take risky roles like this for the love of the craft and for my career. This [award]is the best experience that God has given me,” he ended.
Rounding up the winners of Qcinema are new Laila Ulao who also won her first acting award as Best Actress Women Of The Weeping River ; Best Supporting Actress Vangie Labalan, Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B; Best Supporting Actor Taha Daranda, Women Of The Weeping River; Circle Competition Best Picture Women Of The Weeping River by Sheron Dayoc; Best Short Film Hondo by Aedrian Araojo; Audience Choice Award Shorts Competition Contestant #4 by Jared Joven and Kaj Palanca; Audience Choice Awards Circle competition Patay Na Si Hesus by Victor Villanueva; Gender Sensitivity Awardee Patay Na Si Hesus; Best Screenplay Joseph Laban and Denise O’hara for Purgatoryo; Best Artistic Contribution; Raphael Meting and Mark Limbaga for Baboy Halas; Best Director Prime Cruz for Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B; Best Film for Asian Next Wave Apprentice by Boo Junfeng (Singapore); Special Citation for By The Time It Gets Dark by Anocha Suwichakornpong (Thailand); QC Shorts Jury Prize Papa’s Shadow by Inshallah Montero; and NETPAC Jury Prize for Baboy Halas by Bagane Fiola.