The sixth QCinema International Film Festival (QCinema) draws to a close, delivering on its goal to develop the local film industry and coming up with a sterling roster of honorees that exemplify why good filmmaking is truly worth nurturing.
The big winner of the QCinema awards night was the film “Oda sa Wala” as it won in 5 different categories — Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Actress. The awards rites, held at Novotel Manila Araneta Center last Oct. 26, was attended by select filmmakers, cinephiles, celebrated artists, and government representatives.
The Circle Competition award for Best Picture went to “Oda sa Wala” because of its “keen and artistic blending of the mundane and the grotesque to sensitively examine the fragile mind, soul and heart of a forlorn woman whose bizarre pursuit for some semblance of completeness renders her even more broken.”
Dwein Baltazar, who won the Circle Competition award for Best Director and Best Screenplay for her film “Oda sa Wala”, emotionally took the award on the stage, remembering how she started as a hairstylist in the film industry and worked her way up to become a filmmaker. She recounted how she did not have enough money to fund her film and how her daughter offered to give her piggy bank to help.
Neil Daza of “Oda sa Wala” was given the Best Artistic Achievement Award in Cinematography for his “fascinating visual rendition of an atmospheric setting that is uniquely unsettling and macabre.”
The award for Best Actress was given to Marietta Subong of “Oda sa Wala” for her portrayal of Sonya, a 44-year-old spinster who ran a funeral parlor business.
Eddie Garcia, on the other hand, won judged Best Actor for his role in “Hintayan ng Langit.” He dedicated the award to his wife, Lilibeth.
Marcus Adoro of “DOG DAYS” crawled his way to the stage to accept the Best Supporting Actor award. Cielo Adorno of “Billie & Emma” took home the Best Supporting Actress award.
Timmy Harn’s “DOG DAYS” won the Circle Competition NETPAC Jury Award and was commended for its “imaginative take on the strange world that is ours and its energetic splashes of quirky brilliance.”
The Gender Sensitivity Award went to “Billie & Emma” for its “tender depiction of the coming-of-age of two high school girls made special and then brought together by their boundless capacity to love, no matter the gender of who they love and despite its repercussions and its uncertainties.”
The Circle Audience Choice Award, sponsored by HOOQ, was given to “Hintayan ng Langit.”
The QCinema Awards Night also gives recognition to noteworthy cinematic craftsmanship with its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) films in the RainbowQC section.
The RainbowQC Special Jury Prize was awarded to Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Relon’s “Hard Paint” because of its “portrayal of the present generation’s zeitgeist with their pervading sense of alienation amidst seeming connectivity; and for its fusion of personal and communal narratives of abandonment, defiance, and ultimately, triumph of the human spirit.”
Christophe Honoré’s “Sorry Angel” won the RainbowQC Competition for Best Picture in recognition for its “sensitive depiction of a critical period in history when fear consumed humanity without the proper care they deserved, driven by bittersweet yet hopeful insights that encourage solidarity among us.”
Emerging filmmakers from across the continent were also given special awards in the Asian Next Wave section of QCinema.
The Asian Next Wave Special Jury Prize went to “The Seen and Unseen” by Kamila Andini from Indonesia. The Indonesian film was awarded for its “grace in storytelling yet grandiosity in visual and psychological depth as well as its “insightful depiction of innocence colliding with harsh realities and especially its enlightened portrayal of how to cope with the loss.”
Yeo Siew Hua’s “A Land Imagined” took the Asian Next Wave Best Picture for its “confident direction and fresh take on the neo-noir genre, for underlining that the personal is social, for its ambitious but intricate interweaving of dreams and reality and for its disquieting but philosophical portrayal of unfair migrant labor practices resulting from its country’s reclamation goals.”
Opening and closing film
QCinema held the grand opening at Gateway with the screening of “Shoplifters” by Hirokazu Kore-eda, which won the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the 71st Cannes Film Festival. The story is about a family of criminals scraping a living in downtown Tokyo that takes an interesting turn when they adopt a little girl.
A cocktail party was held at the Novotel Tent after the opening film.
The festival closed on October 30 with “Piercing”, a film by Nicolas Pesce which tells the story of a man who checks himself into a hotel room to accomplish his long-time dream – executing a perfect murder.
A Halloween closing party was held at Rue Bourbon, Tomas Morato Ave., Quezon City after the movie screening.
QCinema also had a free screening that featured children’s films from Denmark. Films included were Ask Hasselbach’s “Antboy”, Renée Simonsen’s “Karla’s World”, and Esben Toft Jacobsen’s “The Great Bear.”
The festival also had free screenings of films from Cinema Rehiyon which includes Markado, a full-length film completely made and produced by local filmmakers from Cagayan de Oro City, and Bahakhak, a lineup of short comedies.
Q&A with the filmmakers
Asian film directors visited the ten-day festival as QCinema hosted a Q&A portion with the filmmakers. Yeo Siew Hua of “A Land Imagined”, Ash Mayfair of “The Third Wife”, Hsin-yao Huang of “The Great Buddha+,” Anucha Boonyawatana of the “Malila: The Farewell Flower”, and Keisuka Yoshida of “Come On Irene” graced the event and answered the questions of the audience after the screening of their films.
FDCP Film Talks
The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) held a series of workshops called FDCP Film Talks during the ten-day festival at Gloria Maris Gateway, Araneta Center, Cubao.
FDCP Film Talks invited Paolo Bertolin, an Open Doors Consultant of Locarno International Film Festival, to talk about the Locarno Pro Open Doors Program.
The program, which will be from 2019 to 2021, is a section of Locarno Festival which focuses on the cinematographic landscape of South East Asia comprising of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Mongolia.
Bertolin also discussed the process on how to put together international applications which work for the Locarno Lab as well as other international film labs.
FDCP Film Talks also presented a documentary workshop featuring Andrew Leavold, an Australian writer, producer, and director.
Leavold shared his experience in the film industry as he discussed his documentary features including “The Search for Weng Weng”, “The Last Pinoy Action King”, and his most current project “The Most Beautiful Creatures on the Skin of the Earth.” He also spoke about the role of a filmmaker in preserving cultural history.
An Asia Pacific Cinema Documentary Heritage Conference was also held by FDCP attended by celebrated personalities in the Asia-Pacific community noted for their influence in the development of film culture and the preservation of documentary heritage.
Among the participants at the conference was Nick Deocampo, a multi-awarded Filipino filmmaker, film historian, film literacy advocate, film producer, and author.
QCinema spreads its roster of films through several categories which include the Circle Competition, Asian Next Wave, RainbowQC, DocQC, Screen International, Special Screenings, Digitally Remastered, TF1 French Classics, Danish Children’s Films, the Opening, and Closing film.
QCinema ran from October 21 to 30, 2018, at Gateway Mall (Cineplex 10); Robinsons Galleria (Robinsons Movieworld); and Ayala Malls Cinema in Trinoma and U.P. Town Center.
CineLokal screened the Circle Competition and DocQC films which ran from October 24 to 30, 2018 at SM Fairview, SM Megamall, SM Manila, and SM Southmall.
Cinema Rehiyon screened Markado and Bahakhak from October 28 to 30, 2018 at U.P. Town Center and Trinoma.
For more information, visit qcinema.ph.