The independent film “Cleaners” was the biggest winner at Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) 2020, a nationwide film festival event of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) headed by its Chair and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra.
On December 12, the virtual awarding of PPP – now on its fourth year – was streamed on the film agency’s social media accounts, with nominees in the various categories present via Zoom, awaited for the announcement of winners by the host.
Directed by Glenn Barit, “Cleaners” is a coming-of-age nostalgic trip to simpler days of self-discovery and social awakening.
The film grabbed six awards, including best picture, best director and best musical score (both for Barit), best supporting actress (for newcomer Giannie Rivera), best production design (for Alvin Francisco), and special citation for ensemble performance (for Leomar Baloran, Julian Narag, and Carlo Mejia).
Also a big winner of QCinema 2019 (best film and best screenplay), the main cast of “Cleaners” are practically non-actors — real students from different schools in Tuguegarao, the director’s hometown.
“Sa mga kabataan, huwag kayong matakot lumaban sa mga diktador sa anumang paraan,” said Barit in his acceptance speech after winning the best picture plum.
“Happy naman po ako, especially dahil nanalo rin ang actors namin from Tuguerarao,” added Barit in a chat with this author after the awarding ceremonies.
Jason Paul Laxamana’s “He Who Is Without Sin” won four PPP trophies: best screenplay (for Laxamana), special jury prize for a performance in a lead role (for Elijah Canlas), best cinematography (for Emmanuel Liwanag), and audience choice award.
“Matagal na sa akin ang script na ito. This is one of my most personal projects, at ang dami na nitong pinagdaanan. Ito ang isang script na hindi ko iniisip ang box office, kundi tutok ka lang sa isang bagay na gusto mong ikuwento…
“Salamat sa Solar Films at kay Direk Brillante Mendoza for their trust in this film,” said Laxamana after winning the best screenplay.
J. E. Tiglao’s “Metamorphosis” took home two trophies: best actor for Gold Azeron and special jury prize for film.
The movie talks about the periodic development of an “intersex” character (a person with both male and female sex organs). Last year in Cinema One Originals 2019, Tiglao won best director and Azeron won best actor as well.
Arbi Barbarona’s “The Highest Peak” snatched the best supporting actor trophy for Henyo Ehem (a regional actor from Mindanao) and best sound design for Barbarona, while Lawrence Fajardo’s “Kintsugi” won best editing.
“He Who Is Without Sin”, “Kintsugi”, and “The Highest Peak” were supposed to be part of Sinag Maynila 2020 last March — but since pandemic occurred, the said film festival was scrapped, and its festival director Brillante Mendoza decided to accord their original titles to PPP this year.
Earlier on, FDCP made it clear that only Premium Selection films with Philippine premieres at PPP this year or had limited releases on 2019 were considered for the nominations.
President Duterte delivered his message in welcoming, supporting, and congratulating PPP as an annual national film festival “with the opportunity to seek quality films.”
During her speech, Dino said: “2020 such a challenging year for all of us… sarado pa rin mga sinehan… This pandemic truly changed our way of life…
“Isa sa pinaka-apektado ay ang ating industriya… Until now, wala pa ring trabaho ang iba, marami pang producers ang walang lugar na mapaglabasan ng kanilang mga pelikula.
“Pero hindi natinag ang industriya na gumawa ng mga pelikula para sa inyo (Filipino audience)… Kung dati ay sinehan, ngayon ay may iba’t ibang platforms na sa panahon ng new normal… ganito rin ang goal ng FDCP. ‘’
The FDCP head thanked all the participating films and hopes “that the filmmakers can continue to build the spotlight, for our own voices and own vision…”
She added: “Ang PPP event po ay hindi puwedeng hindi magawa… Mas naging meaningful and more relevant nga po ito dahil kahit na nasa gitna pa tayo ng pandemya at hirap pa tayong lahat, this becomes a solidarity event na magkakasama pa rin tayo, sa hirap at ginhawa…
‘’Ang platform pong ito which we dubbed ‘#PPP4SamaAll’ ay para magkaisa, magsama-sama, at magpakita ng pagmamahal sa sarili nating pelikula.”
It would be noted that 100 percent of the proceeds made from this pay-per-view scheme — which lasted for few weeks –went to the film producers.
The online festival also had various talkbacks, film talks with regional and cultural filmmakers, discussion on film restoration, virtual fans’ day, etc.
Kidlat Tahimik, National Artist for Film, remarked (in parts): “Sa kabilang ng pandemya, tuloy pa rin ang eksperensiya ng mga gumagawa ng pelikula sa kanilang pakikibaka… Congrats to FDCP for getting us together.”
Philippine Cinema icons and screen legends were also recognized by PPP and were bestowed the Sine Sandaan Icon Awards, namely: Dolphy (trophy received by son Epy Quizon), Eddie Garcia (received by Christopher De Leon), Anita Linda (received by Director Adolfo Alix, Jr.), Mona Lisa (received by granddaughter Celine Fabie), Director Peque Gallaga (received by Wanggo Gallaga), Armida Siguion-Reyna (received by son Direk Carlos), Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya (received by Director Jun Robles Lana), and Manay Ichu Maceda (received by Erwin Maceda).
Below is the complete list of winners and nominees of #PPP2020:
“He Who Is Without Sin”
“The Highest Peak”
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE FOR FILM — “Metamorphosis”
WINNER: Glenn Barit (Cleaners)
Jason Paul Laxamana (He Who Is Without Sin)
J.E. Tiglao (Metamorphosis)
Lawrence Fajardo (Kintsugi)
Arbi Barbarona (The Highest Peak)
WINNER: Hana Kino (Come On, Irene)
Sarah Chang (Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids)
Nats Sitoy (Come On, Irene)
Hiro Nishiuchi (Kintsugi)
WINNER: Gold Azeron (Metamorphosis)
Ken Yasuda (Come On, Irene)
Gio Gahol (Sila-Sila)
Elijah Canlas (He Who Is Without Sin)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE for a PERFORMANCE IN A LEAD ROLE – Elijah Canlas (He Who Is Without Sin)
SPECIAL CITATION for ENSEMBLE PEFORMANCE — Leomar Baloran, Julian Narag, and Carlo Mejia (Cleaners)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
WINNER: Gianne Rivera (Cleaners)
Iana Bernardez (Metamorphosis)
Yayo Aguila (Metamorphosis)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
WINNER: Henyo Ehem (The Highest Peak)
Phi Palmos (Kintsugi)
Topper Fabregas (Sila-Sila)
Roweno Caballes (The Highest Peak)
Allan Gannaban (Cleaners)
WINNER: Jason Paul Laxamana (He Who Is Without Sin)
J.E. Tiglao and Boo Dabu (Metamorphosis)
Glenn Barit (Cleaners)
Herlyn Alegre (Kintsugi)
Daniel Saniana (Sila-Sila)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
WINNER: Alvin Francisco (Cleaners)
Hai Balbuena and Rolando Inocencio (Kintsugi)
James Arvin Rosendal (Metamorphosis)
Lars Magbanua (He Who Is Without Sin)
Fritz Silorio (Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids)
WINNER: Emmanuel Liwanag (He Who Is Without Sin)
Boy Yñiguez (Kintsugi)
Steven Paul Evangelio (Cleaners)
Takeyuki Onishi (Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids)
Tey Clamor (Metamorphosis)
WINNER: Lawrence Fajardo (Kintsugi)
Noah Loyola and Che Tagyamon (Cleaners)
Mai Calapardo (He Who Is Without Sin)
Renard Torres (Metamorphosis)
Annika Lok Yin Feign (The Helper)
BEST MUSICAL SCORE
WINNER: Glenn Barit (Cleaners)
Arbi Barbarona (The Highest Peak)
Peter Legaste (Kintsugi)
Dale Martin and Tamara dela Cruz (Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids)
Igo Gonzalez (Sila-Sila)
BEST SOUND DESIGN
WINNER: Arbi Barbarona (The Highest Peak)
Shichihei Kawamoto and Yuji Akazawa (Come On, Irene)
Dale Martin (Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids)
Aian Louie Caro and Erlyn Tomboc (He Who Is Without Sin)
John Michael Perez and Daryl Libongco (Cleaners)
AUDIENCE CHOICE (highest number of online views)
Short Film (Cine Marya finalist) – “Night Shift” by Mariel Ong
Full Length Film Category — “He Who Is Without Sin” by Jason Paul Laxamana
The jury members were composed of three noted women in the movie industry: Lee Briones (award-winning cinematographer, director, producer), Angeli Bayani (award-winning actress), and Raquel Villavicencio (award-winning scriptwriter and actress).
The awards ceremonies had musical performances from Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez, Joey Ayala, Bayang Barrios with Naliyagan, Raf Bernardino, Acel Bisa, and Ice Seguerra who was also the show’s director.
Last December 6, the Cine Marya short films (produced by FDCP) had their own awards night. Best film winner was “Noontime Drama” by Kim Timan while Gary Tabanera won best director for “Binakol Sa Dahon”.
The 4th PPP had an amazingly strong lineup of 170 films, with 90 full-length feature films and 80 short films which were streamed on the FDCP channel, and ends today, December 13.
Congratulations to all the winners!