A FULL-LENGTH film about a young man who gets caught up in violent events and an X-rated short film about a sex worker and his cat took the top prizes at the 10th QCinema International Film Festival.
The awards ceremony was held on Nov. 23 at Novotel in Araneta Center, Quezon City.
Makbul Mubarak’s directorial debut Autobiography bagged both the Best Film and Best Director awards in the Asian New Wave category.
The Asian Next Wave category focuses on emerging filmmakers from Southeast Asia and East Asia with less than three features, and made a comeback in this year’s edition of QCinema.
According to Autobiography’s citation for Best Film, the prize went to “a remarkable feature debut commandeered by two riveting lead performances, offering a very intense, haunting cinematic experience. It’s a deliberately paced, slow-burn drama with serious socio-political implications that shows a director who’s hitting the ground running with a film that unanimously impressed the jury.”
A co-production between Indonesia and the Philippines, Autobiography is about a young man, Rakib, who works as a housekeeper in the mansion of a retired general. When the general starts his mayoral election campaign, Rakib defends the old man and sets of a chain of violent events.
“It means a lot to us that the prize comes from our beloved festival in the Philippines,” Mr. Mubarak said in a video.
Meanwhile, the QCShorts prize for Best Film went to Whammy Alcazaren’s Bold Eagle. The film follows a middle-aged online sex worker and his cat.
The film won “for stitching a visual vernacular of today’s technological tools, articulating a timely and queer political critique that captures anger, loneliness, frustration, boredom, and alienation amidst the pandemic.”
The film had earlier been given an X rating by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). X-rated films are not considered by the board as suitable for public exhibition.
But after the citation was read, QCinema festival director Ed Lejano said: “The Board of Jury, however, strongly condemns the de facto censorship of the [Movie and Television Review and Classification Board] (MTRCB) in the X rating of this film and asserts the artist’s right to freedom of expression.”
“It was a pleasure just showing you the film because I know not everyone was ready to see it, but it’s important to be seen and to be heard, and never let anyone stop you form being happy,” Mr. Alcazaren said in his acceptance speech.
“For this year, we had a lack of Filipino entries. It’s understandable because of the pandemic, wala masyadong gumawa ng (not many made) festival movies for the Philippines. We focused on performances of Filipino character actors in international films,” Mr. Lejano told BusinessWorld after the program.
This year, the festival’s international films included the opening movie Triangle of Sadness which stars Filipina Dolly De Leon, and it will close with the Romanian production To the North which stars Filipino actors Soliman Cruz and Bart Guingona.
“I’m most happy because of QCinema, there are prospects for Philippine distribution of [international] films” he said. “It’s no longer a very niche film activity but also going beyond our borders.”
He added that this year saw sold out screenings for titles such as the QCShorts, Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love, and Mike De Leon’s Itim.
Mr. Lejano said that they are planning to increase the funding in the QCShorts category for next year’s film festival, returning to funding the indie films for the main competition, and possibly more international co-productions.
The jury for the QCShorts competition was composed of professor and author Rolando B. Tolentino; filmmaker, documentarist, and editor Anna Isabelle Matutina; and independent filmmaker, director, and producer Keith Sicat.
The members of the jury for the Asian Next Wave competition were director and author Kong Rithdee; Mr. Tolentino; New York Asian Film Festival Director Samuel Jamier; producer, director, screenwriter Jose Javier Reyes; and festival co-director, publicist, and film programmer Meninaputri Wismurti.
QCinema runs until Nov. 26 with theatrical screenings for all films at the cinemas in Gateway, Trinoma, and SM North EDSA malls, and Cinema 76, all in Quezon City, and at the Powerplant Cinema in Rockwell, Makati. The QCShorts 2022 entries, QCShorts 2021, and RainbowQC Shorts will all have online screenings in partnership with VivaMax.
For more information, visit qcinema.ph, and its social media accounts — www.facebook.com/QCinemaPH, twitter.com/QCinemaPH, and www.instagram.com/qcinemaph. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman
And the winner is…
ASIAN NEXT WAVE
Best Film: Autobiography by Makbul Mubarak
Best Director: Marbuk Mubarak for Autobiogrpahy
Best Screenplay: Ajoomma by Shuming He and Kris Ong
Best Lead Performance: Chieko Baisho for Plan 75
NETPAC Jury Prize: Return to Seoul by Davy Chou
Best Contribution Award: Setsuko Shiokawa for production design in Plan 75
Best Film: Bold Eagle by Whammy Alcazaren
Audience Choice Award: Luzonesis Osteoporosis by Glenn Barit
NETPAC Jury Prize: Luzonesis Osteoporosis by Glenn Barit
Gender Sensitivity Award: the river that never ends by JT Trinidad