‘Beauty Queen’ adjudged best short film at this year’s Cinemalaya

Published August 20, 2021, 12:28 PM

by Stephanie Bernardino

Myra Aquino’s “Beauty Queen” is the Best Short in this year’s edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.

The biopic is set in the Philippines during World War II, where a Kapampangan woman, Remedios Gomez-Paraiso aka Kumander Liwayway struggles to find herself after losing her father.

According to the organization, the film won for “its overall technical and artistic excellence, its fine ensemble acting, and its bold delving into a neglected chapter of Philippine history, rescuing from oblivion the story of a young woman’s courage and heroism, presenting for today’s generations a shining paragon of beauty and bravery.”

During the virtual award ceremony, Myra said she’s “surprised” but also “honored” earning the win.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Remedios Gomez-Paraiso also known as Kumander Liwayway, for this film would not be possible,” said she. “And I also want to acknowledge her family and her descendants who were so helpful in making this happen.”

Myra also expressed her deepest gratitude to the cast and the crew.

“There were so many of them who put their hard work, their talents, and just their generosity and passion into this film, and it was so challenging to make,” she related.

During an interview, Myra said it’s “very extremely validating” and “encouraging” to receive the award.

“But not just for myself, because it’s really due to the expertise and the hard work of all of the cast and crew who are part of this. I was more like the manager of everybody else, but they’re the ones who truly brought their gifts to the fore and so I’m like supremely grateful to them,” was how she put it.

Myra believes it’s also “important” for people to know more about Kumander Liwayway and her story.

“And I feel like this is very, very much a step in the right direction,” she maintained.

Meanwhile, “Kids on Fire” and “An Sadit na Planeta” dominated the ceremony after snatching two and three plums, respectively.

Other finalists were “The Dust in Your Place,” “Out of Body,” “Namnama en Lolang,” “Maski Papano,” “Kawatan Sa Salog,” “Crossing,” “Ate O.G.,” “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi,” “Ang Mga Nawalang Pag-asa at Panlasa,” and “Looking for Rafflesias and Other Fleeting Things.”

Here’s the list of winners:

Best Short Film –  “Beauty Queen” by Myra Aquino

Best Direction – Kyle Nieva for “Kids on Fire”

Best Screenplay – “Kids on Fire” by Kyle Nieva

Netpac Jury Prize – “An Sadit na Planeta” by Arjanmar Rebeta 

Special Jury Prize – “An Sadit na Planeta” by Arjanmar Rebeta

Audience Choice Award – “An Sadit na Planeta” by Arjanmar Rebeta