Pusong Bato (Stone Heart) by Martika Ramirez Escobar has won the Best Short Film award at the 11th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.
Escobar’s Pusong Bato was chosen as the best thesis of University of the Philippines-Film Institute Batch 2014. It also bagged the Best Film award at the Manila-based Singkuwento International Film.
The film competed at the 19th Busan International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere in October 2014. It was also short-listed as an entry to the short film category of the 68th Cannes Film Festival.
“This is a dream come true for me. I’ve been going to the CCP[Cultural Center of the Philippines] to watch films at the Cinemalaya for five years. I’m overwhelmed that I’m receiving this now,” Escobar said in her acceptance speech.
The film is about Cinta Dela Cruz, a middle-aged faded actress, who develops romantic feelings with a stone, thus the title Pusong Bato.
Meanwhile, Petersen Vargas was named Best Director for his entry Lisyun qng Geografia (Geography Lessons).
Vargas is a recognized Kapampangan filmmaker who has been nominated twice for the Gawad Urian (Filipino Film Critics Prize), one of which was also for Lisyun qng Geografia. It is a coming-of-age story of two teenagers who question their sexual orientation.
The Cebuano entry Sanctissima was the Audience Choice. It is written and directed by Cebu-based freelance videographer Kenneth Dagatan, a student at the University of San Carlos.
Wawa by Anj Macalanda, a licensed librarian and a full-time information technology professional, won the competition’s special awards namely the Netpac (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Prize and the Special Jury Prize.
The other entries were Milo Tolentino’s Nenok, Ryanne Murcia’s Apasol, Glenmark Doromal and Eero Yves Francisco’s Gatilyo ng Baril, Arvin Belarmino’s Kyel, and Annemikami Pablo’s Mater.
Cinemalaya’s awards night on Saturday also announced the much-awaited list of full-length features that made it to next year’s festival.
These are Mercury is Mine by Jason Paul Laxamana, Ang Mga Bisita ni Mamang by Janice O’Hara and Denise O’Hara, Ang Bagong Pamilya Ni Ponching by Inna Salazar and Victor Villanueva, Dagsin by Atom Magadia, Hiblang Abo by Ralston Jover, I America by Ivan Andrew Payawal, Kusina by David Corpuz and Lando at Bugoy by Vic Acedillo Jr., Pamilya Ordinaryo by Eduardo Roy Jr. and Tuos by Derick Cabrido.
This year’s Cinemalaya held only a competition for short films.
Cinemalaya is the country’s biggest independent film festival under the auspices of the CCP.