How Gawad Urian gives nods

Published May 24, 2018, 10:11 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

After announcing the nominees for the 41st Gawad Urian Award, the founding member and former chair of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino Dr. Nicanor Tiongson cleared that when it comes down to that, mainstream and independent films have equal chances as long as these are quality works.

Cinema One channel head Ronald Arguelles (4th from left) with Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino members Butch Francisco, Nicanor Tiongson, Rolando Tolentino, Grace Javier Alfonso, and Gary Devilles (
Cinema One channel head Ronald Arguelles (4th from left) with Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino members Butch Francisco, Nicanor Tiongson, Rolando Tolentino, Grace Javier Alfonso, and Gary Devilles

So, why is the list chok-full of indie movies? Well, because they follow certain standards that have remained so through the years.

“Basically ’yung nilalaman nu’n ay dapat meron din itong sinasabi sa audience na mahalaga sa atin, sa pagka-Pilipino natin, at ’yung iba’t-ibang elemento ng cinema sa isang epektibong paraan,” he explained.

Tiongson mulled what must be taken into consideration by many producers of mainstream movies.

“Siguro ang isang naging consideration ng mainstream is that it has to earn because malaki ’yung investment niya. So very often – hindi ko nilalahat – nagkakaroon ng formula sa pag-shoot, sa cinematography na kailangan malinaw palagi, walang shadow, kailangan mayroong music that will build some emotions. So many of these conventions actually can get in the way of the artistic integrity of a film,” he related.

“Bihira ’yung mainstream talaga na masasabi nating ang tanging consideration ay ’yung laman ng pelikula. Hindi natin nilalahat pero alam natin ’yung conditions ng production at ’yun ang maaaring nagdidikta sa mga conventions na tinutukoy na maraming nagiging hadlang sa pagiging ganap na masining ng isang pelikula,” he added.

He believes when the independent productions get easy access to better equipment, then world watch out.

Acually, it’s already happening.

“Kasi naging mura ’yung production so naalis sa kamay ng big producer at napunta sa artist mismo. Kaya palagay ko, duon nagsimulang dumami na ’yung mga pelikula na mas mataas ’yung kasininggan. ’Yung mga artists, wala silang ibang consideration kung hindi mapahayag nila ’yung gusto nilang ipahayag.”

Former president of Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino Grace Javier Alfonso added that it’s very important that the winning film had a huge contribution on audience’s perspective about the country whether it’s about the people, place or the culture, among others.

Meaning that the film should be an empowering piece.

Award and recognition

Leading this year’s list is the film “Respeto” with 12 nominations including Best Picture, Best Director for Treb Monteras II, and Best Actor for rapper-actor Abra. Best Picture nominees “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness” follows with 10 nominations and “Tu Pug Imatuy” with nine nominations. Other Best Picture nominees are “The Chanters” with a total of seven nominations, and “Birdshot” and “Bhoy Intsik,” both with six nods each.

Other films which received multiple nominations are “Changing Partners,” “Ang Larawan,” and “Kita Kita” – six each.

Films, actors and crews all vie for an award in numerous categories. These are Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Music, Best Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Short Film, and Best Documentary.

The nominees and winners are chosen by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino composed of reputable pillars in Philippine cinema led by its president Rolando Tolentino together with members Nicanor, Grace, Butch Francisco, Bienvenido Lumbera, Miguel Rapatan, Benilda Santos, Tito Genova Valiente, Patrick Campos, Shirley Lua, and Gary Devilles.

According to Nicanor although some of the nominated works or performances are unfamiliar to some Filipinos, he pointed out that regardless of names or reputation they only wants to recognize the talent of the artists.

In fact, he noted that superstar Nora Aunor was first-ever winner of Gawad Urian for Best Actress. She is now the most nominated actress, 21 in all seven of which were won in Gawad Urian in 1977, 1981, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1997, 2013. She also won Actress of the Decade twice and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

(Clockwise): Joanna Ampil, Alessandra de Rossi, Nathalie Hart, Bela Padilla, Agot Isidro, Gloria Diaz, Jojit Lorenzo, Sandino Martin, Noel Comia Jr., Abra, Empoy Marquez and Nonie Buencamino (
(Clockwise): Joanna Ampil, Alessandra de Rossi, Nathalie Hart, Bela Padilla, Agot Isidro, Gloria Diaz, Jojit Lorenzo, Sandino Martin, Noel Comia Jr., Abra, Empoy Marquez and Nonie Buencamino

Nicanor said that while some people question their choices, no one can cast doubt on the integrity of the process.
“Walang kahit aling taon na matutukoy o masasabing nagkaroon ng ibang consideration ang manunuri kung hindi ’yung kalidad ng mga pelikula. At ’yun ang pinagmamalaki namin sa lahat ng apatnapung taon,” he shared.

Curious choice

The Natatanging Gawad Urian awardee this year is Winston Raval, the founding member of the band Vanishing Tribe. He is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and musical director.

Winston has scored sover 20 movies, mostly by Ishmael Bernal. He won Best Musical Director for “Ikaw Ay Akin” in the 1977 Urian Awards.

The 41st Gawad Urian is on June 14 at the ABS-CBN Vertis Tent. It will be aired live on Cinema One at 7 p.m.
On the other hand, the 1st Cine Manunuri Film Festival, a partnership between the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino and Cinema Centenario, will be held from June 15 to 29 featuring the nominated and awarded movies in Gawad Urian 2018.

Full list of 41st Gawad Urian Nominees

Natatanging Gawad Urian: Winston Raval (Vanishing Tribe)

Best Film:
“Balangiga: Howling Wilderness,” Achinette Villamor, Edong Canlas, Khavn, producers
“Birdshot,” Pamela L. Reyes, producer
“Bhoy Intsik,” Ferdinand Lapuz, producer
“The Chanters,”Cai Cena, Ferdinand Lapuz, Thop Nazareno, producers
“Respeto,” Monster Jimenez, producer
“Tu Pug Imatuy,” Norhaiya Diabo Macusang, Jillian Kayle, Arnel Mardoquio, Milo Tolentino, Arnel Barbarona

Best Director:
Arnel Barbarona, “Tu Pug Imatuy”
Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo, “Kita Kita”
Khavn, “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness”
Joel Lamangan, “Bhoy Intsik”
James Robin M. Mayo, “The Chanters”
Treb Monteras II, “Respeto”
Mikhail Red, “Birdshot”

Best Actress:
Joanna Ampil, “Ang Larawan”
Angeli Bayani, “Bagahe”
Alessandra de Rossi, “Kita Kita”
Gloria Diaz, “Si Chedeng at Si Apple”
Dexter Doria, “Paki”
Jally Nae Gilbaliga, “The Chanters”
Agot Isidro, “Changing Partners”
Elizabeth Oropesa, “Si Chedeng at Si Apple”
Bela Padilla, “100 Tula Para Kay Stella”
Angellie Nicholle Sanoy, “Bomba”
Malona Sulatan, “Tu Pug Imatuy”

Best Actor:
Abra, “Respeto”
Nonie “Buencamino, “Smaller and Smaller Circles
Timothy Castillo, “Neomanila”
Noel Comia Jr., “Kiko Boksingero”
Allen Dizon, “Bomba”
RS Francisco, “Bhoy Intsik”
Jojit Lorenzo, “Changing Partners”
Empoy Marquez, “Kita Kita”
Sandino Martin, “Changing Partners”
Justine Samson, “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness”

Best Supporting Actress:
Yayo Aguila, “Kiko Boksingero”
Angeli Bayani, “Maestra”
Shamaine Buencamino, “Paki”
Jasmine Curtis-Smith, “Siargao”
Chai Fonacier, “Respeto”
Nathalie Hart, “Historiographika Errata”
Odette Khan, “Bar Boys”
Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, “Ang Larawan”
Gloria Sevilla, “Maestra”

Best Supporting Actor:
John Arcilla, “Birdshot”
Robert Arevalo, “Ang Larawan”
Romulo Caballero, “The Chanters”
Dido De la Paz, “Respeto”
Pio Del Rio, lBalangiga: Howling Wilderness”
Nor Domingo, “Respeto”
Ronwaldo Martin, “Bhoy Intsik”
Jess Mendoza, “Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig”
Arnold Reyes, “Birdshot”

Best Screenplay:
Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo, “Kita Kita”
Ronald C. Carballo, “Bhoy Intsik”
Njel De Mesa, Alberto Monteras II, “Respeto”
Christopher Gozum, “Dapol Tan Payawar Na Tayug 1931”
Achinette Villamor, Jerry Gracio, “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness”
Andrian Legaspi, John Bedia, “The Chanters”
Arnel Mardoquio, “Tu Pug Imatuy”
Kip Oebanda, “Bar Boys”

Best Cinematography:
Ike Avellana, “Respeto”
Albert Banzon, “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness”
Mycko David, “Birdshot”
Mycko David, “Neomanila”
Bryan Jimenez, Arbi Barbarona, “Tu Pug Imatuy”
TM Malones, “Baconaua”
JA Tadena, “Smaller and Smaller Circles”

Best Production Design:
Bagwani Ampalayo, “Tu Pug Imatuy”
Popo Diaz, “Respeto”
Gino Gonzales, “Ang Larawan”
Marielle Hizon, “Baconaua”
Ericson Navarro, “Smaller and Smaller Circles”
Daniel Red, “Neomanila”
Thesa Tang, “Kita Kita”
Marija Vicente, Timmy Harn, Zeus Bascon, “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness”

Best Editing:
Lawrence Ang, “Respeto”
Arnel Barbarona, “Tu Pug Imatuy”
Lawrence Fajardo, “Ang Larawan”
Jay Halili, “Smaller and Smaller Circles”
Marya Ignacio, “Kita Kita”
Marya Ignacio, “Changing Partners”
Carlo Francisco Manatad, “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness”
John Anthony Wong, “Bhoy Intsik”

Best Music:
Arnel Barbarona, “Tu Pug Imatuy”
Ryan Cayabyab, “Ang Larawan”
Vincent de Jesus, “Changing Partners”
Jay Durias, “Respeto”
Erwin Fajardo, “The Chanters”
Khavn, “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness”
Lutgardo Labad and Odoni Pestelos, “Smaller and Smaller Circles”

Best Sound:
KC Caballero, “Ang Larawan”
Aian Caro, “Birdshot”
Corrine de San Jose, “Respeto”
Mikko Quizon, Stephen Lopez, “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness”
Mikko Quizon, “Changing Partners”
Jeff Sabayle, “Tu Pug Imatuy”
Immanuel Verona, “The Chanters”

Best Documentary:
Jose S. Buenconsejo, “Seven Dances of Life”
JL Burgos, “Han-Ayan”
Sari Dalena and Keith Sicat, “History of the Underground”
Ramona Diaz, “Motherland”
Phyllis Grande, “Haunted: A Last Visit to the Red House”
Nawruz Paguidopon, “God BLISS Our Home”
Dempster Samarista, “Bundok Banahaw, Sacred and Profane”
Victor Delotavo Tagaro and Toshihiko Uriu, “Yield”

Best Short Film:
Glenn Barit, “Aliens Ata”
Christian Candelaria, “Sa Saiyang Isla”
Carl Adrian Chavez, “Sorry for the Inconvenience”
Kiri Dalena, “Gikan Sa Ngitngit Nga Kinailadman” (From the Dark Depths)
Keith Deligero, “Babylon”
Kyle Fermindoza, “Manggagarab”
Dennis Hubag, “Empyreus”
TM Malones, “Bawod”
Carlo Francisco Manatad, “Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee of the Month”
Roanna Mercado, “Piko”
Maje Papin and Ef Orpiada, Jr., “Lutab”
Joseph Vincent ′Xeph′ Suarez, “Si Astri Maka Si Tambulah” (Astri And Tambulah)
Edmund Telmo, “Redempsyon”
Kim Timan, “Caramel Child”