Baby Ruth Villarama’s documentary about OFWs in Hong Kong, Sunday Beauty Queen, was declared Best Picture of the 42nd Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) held at Kia Theater in Quezon City on Thursday.
Named Best Actor was Paolo Ballesteros for his moving transgender role in Die Beautiful while Irma Adlawan was named Best Actress in the movie about small-scale mining, Oro (Gold).
Ballesteros, who brought pride to the country for winning Best Actor in the same film at the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival in October, wasn’t able to attend the event because of sickness but his director Jun Robles Lana accepted the award for him.
Adlawan won against the equally magnificent actresses Superstar Nora Aunor, Eugene Domingo and Rhed Bustamante.
“Who would have thought that I will be standing here in front of you during MMFF. I am just usually a mother or even a sister of the main actor or actress. I would like to thank the members of the executive committee of the MMFF, I hope your tribe will multiply. Because of your bravery, there were changes done,” an overwhelmed Adlawan said in her acceptance speech.
Adlawan eventually called up on stage the person her character was based on, Kapitana Mercy of Barangay Gata from which came the story of the “Gata Massacre 4.”
The Best Supporting Actress award went to Phoebe Walker of Seklusyon, and Christian Bables of Die Beautiful was named Best Supporting Actor.
In his acceptance speech, an emotional Bables struggled to complete his sentences as he expressed his gratitude to people who believed in his talent despite being new in the business.
“First of all I am not used to this. As a fresh face in this industry, I thought this will be the end of my passion and my journey…I want to thank my mom, all my stubbornness has resulted [in]this. Thank you to all who trusted me,” Bables said.
Horror-thriller film Seklusyon, meanwhile, dominated the festival awards and took home seven major awards. These included Best Director for Erik Matti, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Sound Design, Best Original Theme Song and Best Supporting Actress for Walker.
Other awards handed out were Best Editing for Sunday Beauty Queen; Best Musical Score for Saving Sally; Best Ensemble Cast for Oro; My Most Favorite Film (Audience Choice Award) for Die Beautiful; Children’s Choice for Saving Sally, Sunday Beauty Queen and Vince & Kath & James; Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award for Sunday Beauty Queen; and the Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award for Excellence for Oro.
The Special Jury Prize was awarded to Rhed Bustamante for her portrayal of a young faith healer in Seklusyon. Best Float went to Die Beautiful and the Male and Female Celebrity of the Night were Ronnie Alonte and Rhian Ramos, respectively.
Meanwhile, EJK, a short film about extrajudicial killings in the country, took home Shorts Best Picture. Other Short Film Awards went to Passage of Life, Children’s Choice; Manila Scream, special jury prize; Mitatang, Best Screenplay; and Jarell Serencio, Best Director for Mga Bitoon Sa Siyudad.
The MMFF 2016 jury was composed of Paolo Bertolin of the Venice Film Festival, Philip Cheah of the Singapore Film Festival, actor Johnny Revilla, Mio Tiongson of Ace Saatchi & Saatchi, director Antoinette Jadoane, Vince Reyes of Ad Foundation, Jesuit priest Tito Caluag and multi-awarded actor John Lloyd Cruz.
“A festival that celebrates Filipino excellence promotes audience development and champions the sustainability of the Filipino movie industry, that is the new Metro Manila Film Festival. Change is not easy. Change is a difficult way to go through that is why I am thankful for all of you because we are now here. This cannot be numbered by money nor box office. This is for the future of our children—the future generations,” MMDA Chairman Thomas “Tim” Orbos said during the awarding ceremonies.
The event was hosted by Mark Bautista, Roxanne Barcelo and Yassi Pressman.