Awards were presented last night at the 14th annual Cinemanila International Film Festival, with Nawapol Thomrangrattanarit sharing the the best director prize in the international competition for 36 and Sahamongkol Film International being recognized for Outstanding Achievement to Asian Cinema.
Nawapol shared the best director prize with Mexico's Carlos Reygadas for his latest, Post Tenebras Lux.
Sahamongkol was paid tribute in a special program called Very Thai, featuring mostly films from the past year, ones that will likely gain further acclaim during next year's awards season in Thailand: Home by Chookiat Sakveerakul, Antapal (The Gangster) by Kongkiat Khomsiri, Jan Dara: The Beginning by ML Bhandevanop Devakula and Nonzee Nimibutr's Distortion.
Also part of the Sahamongkol tribute was Chookiat's now-classic gay teenage romance Love of Siam, for which Jan Dara the Beginning star Mario Maurer won best actor at Cinemanila in 2008. That was the start of idolhood for Mario in the Philippines, which was further cemented with Thai teenybopper romance Crazy Little Thing Called Love and led to Mario starring in a mainstream Filipino romance, Suddenly it's Magic.
Other winners at Cinemanila included Juvenile Offender by South Korea's Kang Yi-kwan with the Lino Brocka Grand Prize; If It’s Not Now, Then When? by Malaysia's James Lee with the Grand Jury Prize; Oula Hamadeh for best actress in Kayan, about the Middle-Eastern community in Vancouver, and Seo Young-joo for best actor in Juvenile Offender. Check the full list at the festival website.
The festival also paid tribute to Filipino film figures who died during the past year. Marilou Diaz-Abaya, who died of cancer in September, was honored with a retrospective and Celso Ad. Castillo, who died of heart attack this month, was honored with a screening of Burlesk Queen.
Producer Tony Veloria, who died in a bus accident this month, was paid tribute with a screening of Lav Diaz’s Batang West Side, which Veloria co-produced. Veloria was also behind actor-director Mario O’Hara’s telemovie Pusang Gala – lost footage that according to festival founder Tikoy Aguilez was recovered by Diaz from old cabinet owned by the late director Joey Gosiengfiao (1941-2007). O'Hara died in June of cancer.
Diaz's latest film, the 300-minute Florentina Hubaldo, CTE, was featured as part of the Made in Manila program. And there was Diaz's tribute to the late film critic Alexis Tioseco, Pagsisiyasat sa Gabing Ayaw Lumimot (An Investigation on the Night that Won’t Forget).
Cinemanila wraps up on Tuesday, with 36 as the closing film. The fest was to have closed with Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Mekong Hotel, but that was unavailable due to the film's busy print-trafficking schedule, and the festival's own changing schedule.
36, meanwhile, is headed to the Tiger Awards at next year's International Film Festival Rotterdam. It's also in the World Cinema lineup at the International Film Festival of Kerala. And the film's New Currents win at the Busan International Film Festival is recalled by Nawapol in a recent photo essay at Cinemas of Asia, the NETPAC online journal.
(Via Panu Aree's Facebook)