2003 Cinemanila International Film Festival Best Actress

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The 5th Makati Cinemanila Film Competition is at its most exciting yet, with 16 films from around the globe competing for the top prizes. Awards at stake are the Grand Prize Lino Brocka Award, to be conferred by an international jury of prominent film personalities, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Award, the Grand Jury Prize, the Ishmael Bernal Award for Young/Alternative Cinema, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Screenplay, and the Special Jury Prize. The 5th Makati Cinemanila International Film Festival will be formally opened with the awarding of Lifetime Achievement Awards to Filipino-American Hollywood Stars Lou Diamond Philips, Tia Carrere, Rob Schneider, Dean Devlin and Fritz Friedman for their efforts in the plight of Filipino war veterans and their outstanding careers in world entertainment. The opening films are Filipino-American director Gene Cajayon’s “The Debut” and the Philippine premiere of “City of God” by Fernando Meirelles from Brazil. Fellow Lifetime Achievement Awardees are the Star for All Seasons Philippine actress Vilma Santos and Indonesian actress and activist Christine Hakim. Other special guests at this year’s festival are Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles and Czech director Petr Zelenka, Malaysian director U-wei Haju Saari, Scripwriter Prabda Yoon from Thailand, Indonesian director Garin Nugroho and many more. – Makati Cinemanila Film Competion, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug 7, 2003 (READ MORE)

Cinemanila best actress and Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos says she has three options for 2004: to run for reelection, to run for governor of Batangas province, or not to run at all. The Star for all Seasons said this Thursday night after she won the best actress prize for her performance in Chito Rono’s “Dekada ’70,” during Thursday night’s Makati 2003 Cinemanila International Film Festival awards at Onstage in Greenbelt, Makati. Santos said she is taking her time to decide about her political plans, “because being a public official is not an easy job.” “I also have other roles in life that are equally demanding and tiring,” she said in Pilipino. “If I ran in 2004, that would mean I have to prepare myself physically and emotionally for another three years of public service,” Vilma later told Inquirer Entertainment, in a telephone interview the day after the awards night. “It’s not that easy becauise I am also a mother to two boys, and a wife to a senator,” pointed out the wife of Senator Ralph Recto. She and the senator have a 7-year-old son, Ryan Christian. VJ and television host Luis Manzano, 22 is Santos’ son with actor Edu Manzano. Recto was congressman of the fourth and largest district of Batangas province from 1992 to 2001 before he was elected senator in 2001. “As an actress, I am also constrained to my fans, who have stood by me through the years,” said Santos. “That’s why I choose my movies very carefully. I make sure the movies I make have social relevance.” Her best actress win for “Dekada ’70” is her second international acting trophy. She was also the best actress at teh 1999 Brussels International Film Festival in Belgium, for “Bata Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?” which Rono also directed. “I’m very thankful that people appreciate my work, even if I only make one movie a year, by honoring me with awards like this,” Santos said of her triumph in the Cinemanila film fest. She said that a new movie, which is not as “heavy” as “Dekada ’70” and “Bata, Bata,” is now being planned for her. – Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug 24 2003 (READ MORE)

“There is a great need for films that reflect the current human condition,” said National Artist for Film Eddie Romero, guest of honor of the Makati Cinemanila 2003 International Film Festival awards ceremony last Thursday. “Film is the most powerful medium of the century. It is the great gulf that divides countries, but is also the great thing that binds them together.” Romero led other filmmakers, critics and film producers from different parts of the world in paying tribute to films on life’s various realities, during the two hour awards show at Onstage theater in Makati. Vilma Santos won the Best Actress award for her portrayal of the timid mother empowered by the death of her son in Chito Rono’s period drama, “Dekada ’70.” She acknowledged the film’s producer, Star Cinema, for continuously producing “non-traditional” films like “Dekada ’70,” and Lualhati Bautista, who wrote the screenplay.

Shared honors: Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles’ “City of God,” set on the mean streets of a Rio de Janeiro slum in the Cidade de Deus (City of God) housing project, shared the Grand Jury Prize with Sabu’s “Blessing Bell” of Japan, about a man’s journey from poverty to riches, and from honor to despair. The Turkish film “Distant (Usak),” by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, copped the grand prize, the Lino Brocka Award, for feature films. “Distant,” about the relationship between a melancholic and obssessive middle-aged photographer and his cousin, an unemployed country boy who comes to Istanbul to look for a job on a ship, was also the winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes International Film Festival earlier this year.

Israel, India: “Dekada ’70” also won the Net-work for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (Netpac) Special Jury Award for Rono, who shared the honor with Elia Suleiman, director of the silent comedy “Divine Intervention,” which talks of living in Israel in time of war. Suleiman shared the Best Screenplay Award with India’s Apama Sen, director and writer of “Mr. and Mrs. Iyer.” which tackles India’s religious and ethnic violence.” Australian actor David Gulpelil was Best Actor for his portrayal of the resourceful aboriginal tracker in pursuit of a man accussed of the murder of a white woman in Rolf de Heer’s “The Tracker.” Niki Caro’s coming-of-age film, “Whale Rider,” took home the Special Jury Prize. A social commentary on police brutality, “Binyag (Baptism),” won the Ishmael Bernal Award for Young Cinema. The 15-minute films by Mariami Tanangco shows the dark side of the police force where summary execution is said to be practiced.

Lifetime achievements: Sockie Fernandez’s “Flames” won the best short film award, and Ditsi Carolino’s “Life on Tracks” (Riles) the best documentary award. Carolino, whose work was first screened at the Brussels film fest in 1996, said she and her crew lived for four months in the slums in Balic-balic in Manila to do the documentary. Indonesian actress Christine Hakim received a lifetime achievement award. Hakim, who has appeared in over 30 films, founded a non-goverment organization bearing her name which gives milk to undernourished Indonesian schools and assists poor Indonesian teachers. Host Eddie Mercado entertained the audience during the show’s many awkward gaps, with very litle help from co-hosts Nanette Inventor and Paulo Trillo, who both seemed to read from their cue cards too much. Members of the rock legend Asin band showed young singer Jay-R and the quartet Streamline how to hold the audience in the palm their hads through their songs from “Pag-ibig, Pagbabago, Pagpapatuloy…,” the first Asin album since 1983. Actress Ara Mina kept the audience expecially the males, enthralled, not so much with her singing of “Ayayay Pag-Ibig” but with her tight-fitting top and pants. – Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug 24 2003 (READ MORE)

“…Vilma Santos, winner of seven best actress awards from Urian, five from the Famas where she is also a Hall of Famer, and various Star and Film Academy of the Philippines awards, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 5th Makati Cinemanila International Film Festival, during the opening rites last Thursday at Onstage in Greenbelt 1, Makati. Santos’ film career spans several decades starting with “Trudis Liit” at age nine for Sampaguita Pictures. She metamorphosed into a popular star in the ’70s, rivaled only by the Superstar Nora Aunor, and went on to become a highly respected multi-awarded actress. Some of her memorable films are “Relasyon,” “Broken marriage,” “Ikaw ay Akin,” “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga,” all directed by the Ishmael Bernal; “Sister Stella L, ” by Mike de Leon; “Rubia Serbios,” by the late LIno Brocka; “Ipapatawad Mo,” by Laurice Guillen; “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak,” and “Burlesk Queen,” by Celso Ad Castillo; “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa,” and “Dekada ’70” by Chito Rono which will be reshown at Cinemanila. She has also appeared in films by Eddie Garcia, Elwood Perez, Emmanuel Borlaza, Rory Quintos and Marilou Diaz Abaya. On television, Santos had one of the longest running musical variety shows, as well as a TV drama series. Married to Sen. Ralph Recto, she has two sons and is on her second term as mayor of Lipa City, Batangas. She was joined at Cinemanila’s opening rites by Fil-Am actors from Hollywood Tia Carrere and Lou Diamond Phillips and Indonesian actress Christine Hakim, the first Indonesian to sit on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival. They were also awarded lifetime achievement award. The 5th Makati Cinemanila Itnernational Film Festival runs from Aug. 7-24, at the Greenbelt Cinemas, Ayala Center, Makati…” – Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug 8, 2003 (READ MORE)

“…Actress and Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos, whose film career spans several decades starting when she was 9 in “Trudis Liit,” also received a lifetime achievement award on Thursday…Carrere, the first Filipino-American actress to become a Hollywood star, appearing with the likes of Arnold Schqarzeneger and Sean Connery in the movies, said her rise to stardom had been difficult. “Its was not easy fighting prejudice against the color of our skin,” she said as she accepted her award. “I work hard to represent you out there.” Carrere, who born to a Filipino father from Cebu, has more than 40 movies to her name and a hit US television series, “Relick Hunter.” Phillips dedicated his award to his mother, saying “I’d like to believe that I’m one her lifetime achievements.” The actor, who was born in Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales, starred in “The Big Hit,” “Bats,” “La Bamba,” and played with A-list actors Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan in “Courage Under Fire.” Also present during the ceremony was Filipino-American director Gene Cajayon. His feature film “The Debut” is the first Filipino-American movie released by Sony Pictures. It was shown for the first time in the Philippines as the opening film of the festival…” – Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug 10, 2003 (READ MORE)

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