New film talents flex muscle at Gawad Urian

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Gawad Urian winners (from left) Jun-jun Quintana for Best Supporting Actor, Angel Aquino (Best Supporting Actress), Angel Bayani (Best Actress), Joel Torre (Best Actor) and Hannah Espia (Best Director) pose with their trophies after the awarding ceremonies Tuesday night. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ

New cinema talents gave industry veterans a run for their money in the 37th Gawad Urian awards on Tuesday night.

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Gawad Urian’s two major awards went to emerging independent film personalities, with Hannah Espia winning as Best Director for Transit, and Angeli Bayani as Best Actress for Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan.

Espia edged out 11 other entries in her category, including seasoned filmmakers Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes, Lav Diaz, Adolf Alix and Chito Rono. It was only the third time the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (MPP), who handed out the best director plum to a woman.

In her acceptance speech, Espia, who also co-wrote and co-edited Transit, said, “I thought directors were supposed to be composed and knowledgeable at all times, but while we were filming [Transit], I was a wreck.”

Theater and indie film star Bayani up against the likes biggest names in show business, mutli-awarded actresses Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, Lorna Tolentino, Cherie Gil and Eugene Domingo.

The Best Actor award went to film veteran Joel Torre for his performance as a hired killer in Erik Matti’s On the Job. The Best Supporting Actress went to Angel Aquino Ang Huling Chacha ni Anita; and Best Supporting Actor to Junjun Quintana for A Philippino Story.

Aquino, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress twice—the second one for Porno—said it was “surreal” to compete with herself, but more so to receive her first Gawad Urian award, which she believes “legitimizes [her]as an actor.”

Quintana took note of the high turnout of young winners, “This is an inspiration for all actors and directors who are beginners in the industry that they may continue to make meaningful films and open the minds of viewers,” he said.

Norte also took the awards for Best Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Cinematography.

According to National Artist for Literature and MPP Panelist Bienvenido Lumbera, the film effectively portrayed “personal and societal problems that encourages viewers to think deeply.”

Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes’ Sonata won Best Music, which was received on his behalf by Emerson Texon; while Best Production Design went to director Adolfo Alix Jr. for Porno.

Best Editing was awarded to Chuck Gutierrez for Riddles of My Homecoming; and Best Sound to Corinne de San Jose for On the Job.

The award for Best Short Film went to Zig Dulag for Missing and Best Documentary to Adjani Arumpac for Nanay Mameng.

The awards night for Gawad Urian, considered “the most prestigious award-giving body in the country,” was held at the Dolphy Theater at the ABS-CBN Complex.

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