It was a very exciting night for moving pictures at Center Stage of the SM Mall of Asia as the red carpet event and grand awards ceremony of the World Premieres Film Festival-Philippines 2015 (WPFF) capped a successful two-week film run of movie masterpieces from around the globe.
International directors and producers from Spain, Taiwan, Indonesia, The Netherlands, Turkey and Japan arrived, alongside Filipino directors and stars whose films were part of the various categories of the festival. The WPFF, through the Film Development Council of the Philippines, successfully ran the selected movies in SM Cinemas across the metro from June 24 to July 7.
The distinguished jurors for each section were present to hand out the awards of this year’s festival. Eurasia International Film Festival director Serik Zhubandykov of Kazakhstan, founder of Film on Wheels Ahmet Boyacioglu of Turkey, and independent film critic and programmer Chris Fujiwara of the United States presented the prizes for the Main Competition.
For the Filipino New Cinema category, the jurors present were Hong Kong International Film Festival executive director Roger Garcia, director of Alliance Francaise Bangkok-Thailand Christian Merer of France, and Korean film producer Hanna Lee.
Director and cinematographer Raymond Red, representing his co-juror UP Dean of Mass Communication Rolando Tolentino, was present to give the Cine Verde Best Environmental Film award.
For the Parallel Sections’ Intercontinental Prize, the jurors who handed off the award were President on the Board of Directors of the Association of Film Commissioners International George David of Jordan, Executive Editor of ABS-CBN Publishing Inc. Philip Cu-Unjieng, and documentarian and broadcast journalist Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala.
Special guests were in attendance at the glittering affair including selection committee member of the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, Benjamin Illos, and cultural representatives from Instituto Cervantes, Cultural Section of the Embassy of Spain, the Embassy of Iran and the Embassy of the Russian Federation, the Embassy of France, and the Embassy of the United States.
The highest award of the festival, the Grand Festival Prize, went to the social thriller Three Lies by Spanish director Ana Murugarren. In tears during her acceptance speech, she said that she was honored to have won the top prize of the festival for her first feature film, which is the first film to tackle the issue of stolen and sold children during Franco’s dictatorship in Spain in the 1970s.
Murugarren accepted the award for Best Performance by an Actress on behalf of Nora Navas, the leading actress of her film. The director said that the film was a very dear and personal project the both of them, as their dedication to feminism is something they both wanted to show in Three Lies.
Turkey’s war epic Crimean, directed by Burak Cem Arliel, took home the Grand Jury Prize. Arliel expressed that the film was an emotionally and technically difficult project to complete, but the blood, sweat, and tears were worth it to make known the struggles of the Crimean Turks during the Second World War.
The other Main Competition winners included Taiwanese director Hsu Li-Da’s The End of Love, a cinematic meditation on modern love and winner of the Special Jury Prize; Russian director Aleksandr Melnik’s adventure drama The Territory, winner of Best Artistic Contribution for Cinematography; Remy van Heugten’s gripping social drama Son of Mine,”winner of the Technical Grand Prize; and Angga Dwimas Sasongko’s inspiring and uplifting tale of friendship and coffee Filosofi Kopi, winner of Best Ensemble Performance.
New to the second edition of WPFF, the Filipino New Cinema section was top billed by Alvin Yapan’s An Kubo sa Kawayanan and Craig Woodruff Jr.’s Piring, winning first and second place for Best Picture, respectively.
Yapan thanked his cast and crew for their hard work, and extended his gratitude for the honor to the festival founder and director. Upon hearing his film being called, Woodruff Jr. jumped up from his seat in elation. In his speech, he thanked the festival and international jurors for recognizing the achievements of Piring.
The two films continued to be the highlight of awards night for FNC as An Kubo sa Kawayanan also won Best Cinematography (Ronald Rebutica), Best Editing (Benjamin Tolentino), and Best Actress (Mercedes Cabral). Piring took home Best Screenplay (Craig Woodruff Jr.) and Best Performance by a Supporting Actor (Rocky Salumbides).
Winners in FNC also include Will Fredo’s Filemon Mamon for Best Musical Score and Best Performance by a Supporting Actress (Giselle Sanchez). Ruben Maria Soriquez’s Of Sinners and Saints won Best Performance by an Actor (Ruben Maria Soriquez) and Best Production Design. Nestor Abrogena’s Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa took home Best Sound Engineering.
In the Cine Verde section, Austrian director Gunter Schwalger took home the Best Environmental Film for Since the World was World, which depicts the life of a farmer living in rural Spain.
New to this year’s festival, the Intercontinental Prize ended in a tie between ASEAN Skies entry The Last Executioner directed by Tom Waller of Thailand and Euroview entry Naked Island by Tiha Gudac of Croatia.