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01 August 2013

Our Choices for the 2013 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival (New Breed Category)

Ten films from a new breed of filmmakers and four films stood out from the rest, at least in our opinion.  Here are Brun Magazine’s choices for the 2013 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. We only have 3 or 4 nominees. For post-festival analysis, read "Cinemalaya 2013: The Cinema of "Disconnection."

1. Best Female Actor (Leading Role):
Irma Adlawan in “Transit.”
2. Best Male Actor (Leading Role):
Mimi Juareza in “Quick Change.”
3. Best Female Actor (Supporting Role):
Mercedes Cabral in “Transit.”
4. Best Male Actor (Supporting Role):
Miggs Cuaderno in “Purok 7”
and “Quick Change.”

Best Film (August 1, 2013, Thursday)
“Transit” stands out among the ten entries in the New Breed category because of the way Hannah Espia structures her narrative. Although a story told in multiple points of view is not new, Espia’s choice of storytelling fits the intention of her film.  Espia’s style is executed not to impress the critics but rather to stay committed to her story, and the end product proves it. Her subject matter is complicated enough and a single classical narrative will limit the film’s perspective.  To do so is to tell an incomplete story. 

 “Transit” is also so coherent that all the elements of filmmaking are working in unison.  The editing is precise and clean.  The cinematography appropriately sets the mood of the film and the musical score does not drown the film nor make it maudlin.  The film also boosts an excellent ensemble led by Irma Adlawan.  Ping Medina gave an understated performance; Mercedes Cabral reveals so much about her character’s emotional dilemma with minimal words and in just a few minutes.  Jasmine Curtis Smith is a revelation and child wonder Marc Justin Alvarez almost stole the movie.  To add authenticity, the cast spoke in Hebrew proving that the best films are always that ones that never compromise.  Brun Philippines is proud to choose “Transit” as our pick for Best Film in the New Breed category.

Best Film (Runner-up)
“Quick Change” can be easily relegated as another gay film, but it is much more than that.  It is a film ripe for the picking.  Whatever angle you may view the film, it willingly bares itself.  All you have to do is to know which covering to remove.  Cross-dressing is after all a perfect device to examine gender politics.  On the surface, “Quick Change” may be about the lives of transgender individuals but it is also a critique on consumerism, the attainment of the “impossible feminine ideal” that is imposed by patriarchy, and the indifferent and artificial security of religion in the lives of Filipinos.  For now, I refuse to give a full-length review of the film because “Quick Change” is not just for the critics, it is for everyone brave enough to really look. 

(Brun Awards released Aug. 1, 2013)

Our pick

  • “Debosyon”
  • “Quick Change” (Runner-up)
  • “Rekorder”
  • “Transit”
* Cinemalaya Winner (Best Film): Transit
* Cinemalaya Winner (Runner-Up): Quick Change

  • Hannah Espia, “Transit” 
  • Mikhail Red, “Rekorder”
  • Eduardo Roy, Jr., “Quick Change”
  • Alvin B. Yapan, “Debosyon”
* Cinemalaya Winner: Hannah Espia (Transit)

  • “Debosyon” (Alvin B. Yapan)
  • “Quick Change” (Eduardo Roy, Jr.)
  • “Purok 7” (Carlo Obispo)
  • “Transit” (Giancarlo Abraham and Hannah Espia) 
* Cinemalaya Winner: Quick Change

  • Irma Adlawan, “Transit” 
  • Eugene Domingo, “Instant Mommy”
  • Mara Lopez, “Debosyon”
  • Krystle Valentino, “Purok 7”
* Cinemalaya Winner: Irma Adlawan (Transit)

BEST FEMALE ACTOR (Supporting Role):
  • Mercedes Cabral, “Transit” 
  • Jasmine Curtis Smith, “Transit”
  • Anita Linda, “David F”
  • Eula Valdes, “David F”
* Cinemalaya Winner: Jasmine Curtis Smith (Transit)

BEST MALE ACTOR (Leading Role):
  • Paulo Avelino, “Debosyon”
  • Mimi Juareza, “Quick Change” 
  • Ping Medina, “Transit”
  • Ronnie Quizon, “Rekorder”
* Cinemalaya Winner: Mimi Juareza (Quick Change)

BEST MALE ACTOR (Supporting Role):
  • Marc Justin Alvarez, “Transit”
  • Miggs Cuaderno, “Purok 7” and “Quick Change”
  • Mike Lloren, “Rekorder”
  • Arnold Reyes, “Purok 7”
* Cinemalaya Winner: Joey Paras (Babagwa)

  • “Rekorder” (Arvin Viola) 
  • “Debosyon” (Dexter de la Peña)
  • “Quick Change” (Dan Villegas)
  • “Transit” (Ber Cruz and Lyle Nemenzo Sacris)
* Cinemalaya Winner: Transit

  • “Debosyon” (Chuck Guitierrez)
  • “Quick Change” (Fiona Borres)
  • “Rekorder”  (Mikail Red and Carlo Manatad)
  • “Transit” (Benjamin Tolentino and Hannah Espia) 
* Cinemalaya Winner: Transit

  • “Debosyon” (Teresa Barrozo and Jireh Pasana)
  • “Quick Change” (Harley Alcasid)
  • “Rekorder” (Pepe Manikan)
  • “Transit” (Mon Espia)
* Cinemalaya Winner: Transit

  • “David F.” (Joel Bilbao)
  • “Debosyon” (Dennis Corteza, Paolo Ray Mendoza Piaña; Art Directors, Pat Noveno and Roy Dominguiano)
  • “Rekorder” (Roy Red and Mikey Red)
* Cinemalaya Winner: Rekorder

  • "Rekorder" (Pepe Manikan)
  • “Debosyon”  (Rey Andrew San Miguel and Andrew Millalos)
  • "Quick Change" (Michael Idioma)
  • “Transit” (Mikko Quizon)
* Cinemalaya Winner: Quick Change


Now that the festival is over, I suggest that Cinemalaya and other award giving bodies stop giving antiquated categories.  The notion of having a single best film in a year or a festival is very limiting.  On a certain year, many landmark films may be released.  However, many middling films may litter the following year and the best film of that lackluster year might not even stand the test of time.  Time is the true measure of film excellence.  “Citizen Kane” never won Best Picture but filmmakers today consider it as one of the finest films in history. It is better to choose a maximum of three best films in a year, and one in a lackluster year. This will bring more emphasis on a director’s body of work, rather than chance.  Some directors won best director only once but Alfred Hitchcock never won a single best director nod but his body of work is very influential in modern cinema.

We should also get rid of the best actor and best actress categories. In fact, it is too sexist to even use the word “actress.”  As a part time English teacher, “actress” is an old chauvinist assignation.  We never say “doctress” or “lawyeress.” The Grammy Awards cease giving Best Male and Female Vocalists and just choose the Best Solo Performance of the year, regardless of gender.  This year, Mimi Juareza’s performance will challenge award-giving bodies.  You can put her in the Best Actor Category. However, what if she does not identify as a male actor?  Let’s join the modern world and just give non-gender specific awards, Best Lead Performance and Best Supporting Performance, and instead of star status, use the time an actor appears in the film  to determine  if he or she falls under a supporting role or not.  Gong  Li once said that she only had 40 minutes in one film to reveal everything about her character. Thus, the criteria for a supporting performance should be different.  A superb thespian can give an outstanding performance in 15 minutes and he or she should not compete with someone who has more screen time performance.

* Outstanding Films (3), To be given toproducers and directors.
* Outstanding Adapted Screenplay
* Outstanding Original Screenplay
* Outstanding Performance (Leading Role)
* Outstanding Performance (Supporting Role)
The technical awards remain the same; in fact, they are ahead of their time because those awards have taken gender, race and age as criteria for judging.


NEW BREED Film Reviews
* The Diplomat Hotel (watched but no review)

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