1998 Gawad Urian and Star Awards

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Vilma, Nida Share top acting honors – “…Vilma Santos shared the coveted Movie Actress of the Year award with Nida Blanca in last Saturday’s Star Awards, the local counterpart of Hollywood’s Golden Globe, at a jampacked UP Theater in Diliman, Quezon City. Santos was honored for her role in Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa?, a movie written for the screen by Lualhati Bautista based on her own novel and directed by Chito Roño for Star Cinema. Blanca, meanwhile, won her acting trophy for her role in the obscure Sana Pag-ibig Na by first-time director Jeffrey Jeturian for Golden Harvest. The two bested three other nominees: Elizabeth Oropeza (Tasulok), Rosanna Roces (Ang Lalake sa Buhay ni Selya), and Sharmaine Arnais (Sagad sa Init). In the male actor category, the members of the Philippine Movie Press Club gave Cesar Montano his second acting trophy for playing Dr. Jose Rizal in the multi-million peso production Jose Rizal that Marilou Diaz-Abaya made for GMA Films. It was an expected win that no one, even the other nominees in the Movie Actor of the Year: Raymond Bagatsing (Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion), Ricky Davao (Ang Lalake sa Buhay ni Selya), Richard Gomez (Babae sa Bintana), and Eric Quizon (Pusong Mamon). Montano won the same honors in the Metro Manila Film Festival. Apart from the Actor of the Year, Jose Rizal bagged eight other trophies including Movie of the Year. Star also honored the film in directing (Diaz-Abaya), acting (Jaime Fabregas, in supporting role), screenplay adapted from another material (Ricky Lee, Jun Lana, and Peter Ong Lim), production design (Leo Abaya), film editing (Jess Navarro and Manet Dayrit), music scoring (Nonong Buencamino).

Jose Rizal is only the second movie produced by the fledgling GMA Films and cost the new movie outfit some P80 million, making it the most expensive film made in this part of the globe. It already grossed to date, according to reports, close to a hundred million. Sa Pusod ng Dagat, its first venture into serious film making, didn’t have much luck in the box office, but won Star honors in the original screenplay category for writier Jun Lana and cinematography Romy Vitug. Star Cinema’s bet for major awards, Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa?, seemed to have failed to impress the movie press. It only collected three trophies, for Santos’ performance and the two child actors Serena Darlymple, proclaimed New Movie Actress of the Year, and Carlo Aquino cited as Child Performer of the Year…The Star Awards for Movies is handed out annually by the Philippine Movie Press Club, It kind…Starting as an alternative to the macho-dominated Famas 15-years ago, it eventually became the event to watch. During its early years, its choices caused a lot of raised eyebrows, especially among the more academically equipped group of movie writers and critics. Fractured by a split in membership when a faction opted to take a leave and eventually resign amid a feud between the writers’ group and ABS-CBN last year, the remaining members of the PMPC remained undaunted. These days, there seem to be peaceful co-existence between the group and the network that questioned publicly its credibility in handing out awards of excellence. Last Saturday marked the return of Star Cinema;s acknowledgement of PMPC and Star Awards as something the industry can do without. Representatives from the film company accepted the trophies for winners who failed to make it to the show, like Carlo Aquino. In contrast to the conciliatory moves of Star Cinema;s management, actors, and technicians whose chances of victory are uncertaine chose not to make an appearance.

Movie Actress of the Year nominee Rosanna Roces was nowhere in sight. So was Richard Gomez. Even Movie Supporting Actress winner Anita Linda didn’t bother to come and accept her trophy. Yet, others showed their support to the PMPC by their sheer presence, making the Star Awards still the most star-studded annual awards show were Christopher de Leon, Pops Fernandez, Regine Velasquez, Daisy Ryes, Keempee de Leon, Geneva Cruz, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Troy Montero, Ralion Alonzo, Vina Morales, Carol Banawa, Jolina Magdangal, and Antoinette Taus who performed in the usual musical numbers and broke the monotony of the awards. Other probably came for the P10,000 cash prize for the Male and Female Star of the Night Award given to those the PMPC members decided looked best during the show. And the award went to Albert Martinez and Glydel Mercado. Some members of the audience though thought Sunshine Cruz in a see-through gown looked more fabulous. Starlet Bernadette Allyson also attracted attention and won Fairest Skin of the Night. And Eric Quizon was voted Darling of the Press. Quizon was also one of the hosts of the show. Joining him were Ronnie Ricketts and Vilma Santos whose fans punctuated the show with screams, cheers and applause. A female fan was reportedly escorted out of the theater by security guards aftersome members fo the audience complained that she has making too much noise. If the Vilmanians were rowdy, the Noranians was the opposite side of the theater were ferocious. They trooped to the theater when they learned Nora Aunor would make an appearance to present the Ulirang Artista Award to her friend Caridad Sanchez. They broke in wild cheers when their idol chilled out of the stage wing and stood on the right end of the stage. Vilma was on the opposite side waiting for her cue to introduce Nora. It was all right until the Mayor of Lipa announced Nida Blanca instead.

The Noranians were irked and incensed and objected with catcalls. Vilma was compelled to make a public apology, saying she was merely reading a cue card given to her by the show’s writer. Nora was also the recipient of a special award, cited by the PMPC for bringing the local movie industry honors in international film festivals. She won Best Actress at Penang, Malaysia for her role in 1997’s Bakit May Kahapon Pa? The superstar’s acceptance speech was short, saying only, “Maraming salamat!” Many speculated that she must have been incensed by the earlier faux pas committed by her perennial rival. In justifying the mistake, the PMPC said that Nora was not really expected to arrive. But they were glad she made it. In case she didn’t, Nida Blanca had agreed to make the presentation of the Ulirang Artista Award which was already written on the cue card. The question though remained, “Didn’t Vilma notice Nora coming in?” If she didn’t she should have taken the cue from the screams of the Noranians. The incident reignited the heated rivalry of these two stars and made the Star Awards a peewee exciting…” – Isah V. Red, Photographs by Mike de Juan, Manila Standard, Mar 14, 1999 (READ MORE)

Urian’s Choices“…Another major upset was Nida Blanca’s failure to clinch top acting honors. Her perfromance in Sana Pag-ibig Na by another first-time director Jeffrey Jeturian was considered by many worthy of an Urian trophy and could give popular choice Vilma Santos a tough time in all of the awards this year. Blanca shared the same honors with the Mayor of Lipa City earlier in Star Awards. Seventy-six-year-old-actress Mona Lisa was this year’s recipient of Natatanging Gawad Urian presented to her by Insiang co-star Ruel Vernal and Manunuri’s Grace Javier Alfonso. The actress recent work is a role in Nick DeOcampo’s Mother Ignacia. This is the 22nd year the Manunuri group have been handing out trophies to honor outstanding work of actors, directors, writers, film editors, sound engineers and music scorers in Filipino movies…The show looked like most local awards shows with musical numbers that has no relevance to the film medium punctuating the monotony of introducing the nominees and annoucing the winners. Rosanna Roces’ licentious humor somehow livened up the perfunctory intros of presentors and performers. Osang was resplendent in an off-shoulder tangerine ballroom gown at the beginning and changed into a heavily beaded and sequined pience with partly see-through skirt. Many in the audience wondered if she was wearing a wig. With Osang as co-hosts were a slimmer Rustom Padilla and Albert Martinez who was struggling with an astma attack and had to leave even before the show was over.

The stage was dressed up like a courtyard with facade of turn of the century houses as background. Rep. Imee Marcos presented the five nominated pictures wearing initally an outfit made from indigenous fibers and then later a Filipiniana-inspired two-piece number…As usual in local award shows, the bigger stars come in very late, just in time for the annoucement of the nominations in their respective category. Vilma Santos came in at 10:30 p.m. escorted by husband and Batangas congressman Ralph Recto and followed by an entourage of bodyguards and her personal assistants. In her acceptance speech, she apologized for her tardiness saying she had to attend the graduation from high school of Luis Philip Manzano, aka Lucky, her son by former husband Edu Manzano. She also announced that the follwing day, her son by Ralph, Ryan Christian Recto, would be celebrating his birthday. Vilma’s fans once more showed their undying support for their idol, screaming at every instance the actress’ name is mentioned and holding up paper placards, on which they screamed their affection for her. When her name was announce winner of the most coveted award, they went gaga jumping out of their seats to cheer her as if they were watching a basketball game. This is the kind of awards show that somehow masks the sad realities in an industry struggling to survive the worst economic crisis ever and the continued and growing alienations of the middle class now more inclined to watch English-language movies from Hollywood on either the VHS and DVD formats in the comfort of their airconditioned bedrooms….” – Manila Standard, Mar 31, 1999 (READ MORE)

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1998 Best Actress Awards

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Urian Best Actress Award – “…Actress and Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos won her seventh Urian Best Actress Award last Sunday night at UP Theater for her performance in Star Cinema’s “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?” Vilma Santos won her first Gawad Urian Award for Best Actress in 1982 for the movie “Relasyon.” She again earned the best actress award in 1983 and 1984 for the movies “Broken Marriage” and “Sister Stella L.,”for “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga” in 1989, which she shared with Nora Aunor (“Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit”). Succeeding awards came for “Ipagpatawad Mo” in 1991 and “Dahil Minahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story” in 1993. In her acceptance speech, Vilma shared her award with her co-nominees – Nida Blanca, Elizabeth Oropesa, and Rosanna Roces. 8-year-old Serena Dalrymple took home her first Gawad Urian award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa.” Another first-time Gawad Urian winner was Jaime Fabregas, this year’s recipient of the Best Supporting Actor award for the movie “Jose Rizal.” Raymond Bagatsing won his second consecutive Gawad Urian Best Actor Award for the movie “Serafin: Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion.” He received his first Urian best actor award (for “Milagros”) last year. The movie “Jose Rizal” went home with the most technical awards. Although “Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa” won this year’s Best Picture Award, Marilou Diaz Abaya took the Best Director honors for “Rizal.’ Other awards received by “Rizal” were Best in Sound (Michael Albert Idioma), Best in Music (Nonong Buencamino), Best Production Design (Leo Abaya), and Best Cinematography (Rody Lacap). The other winners were: Best Editing, Danny Gloria for the movie “Gangland” and Best Screenplay, Lualhati Bautista for “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?” The “Natatanging Gawad Urian” was bestowed on actress Mona Lisa who started her career in 1938 in Parlatone Hispano Filipino’s “Ang Pagbabalik.” Her most recent work was under Nick de Ocampo, “Mother Ignacia…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, March 30, 1999 (READ MORE)

Film Academy of the Philippines Best Actress – “…GMA Films probably heard the bad news from the grapevine before the Film Academy of the Philippines’ 17th Annual Academy Awards started Sunday night, and decided to boycott. The table reserved for GMA Films remained conspicuously vacant throughout the awards night held at the PICC. Their hunch, or inside info, was right. The much-acclaimed movie José Rizal, failed to win any award. GMA’s staunch competitor, Star Cinema, romped away with most of the major awards. Best Picture was Star Cinema’s Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? The film directed by Chito Roño, which tackled women’s issues, gave Vilma Santos another Best Actress award. The movie also won Best Supporting Actress honors for child star Serena Dalrymple. Carlo Aquino was named best supporting actor and Manny Morfe, for best production design. Birador, another Star Cinema film, bagged the best director and best editing awards for Edgardo Vinarao, best cinematography for Juanito Pereira and best screenplay for Senen Dimaguila. Rudy Fernandez was named best actor for portraying a struggling policeman in Birador. This is his second award from the Film Academy of the Philippines after Batuigas: Pasukuin si Waway in 1984. Other awards went to Pusong Mamon, which won the best musical score and best theme song awards for Dennis Garcia, originally of the Hotdogs Band. Best Sound was received by Ramon Reyes for GMA Films’ Sa Pusod ng Dagat. The awards itself had generated controversy when José Rizal’s producers, Butch Jimenez and Jimmy Duavit, and two production staffers Rody Lacap and Nonong Buencamino, were considered ineligible to be nominated and therefore ineligible for any award…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, April 27, 1999 (READ MORE)

FAMAS Lifetime Achievement Award – “…Multi-awarded dramatic actress Vilma Santos can no longer be nominated for the FAMAS Best Actress Award, since she had been elevated to the Hall of Fame for having won five FAMAS Best Actress trophies over the years. But on its 47th year, the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences, the oldest cinema award- giving body in Asia, wants to give Vilma due recognition for her continued excellence and longevity as a Box Office Queen. The body also wants to recognize her contribution to the industry by being a model public servant and popular Mayor of Lipa City. On April 8, FAMAS Awards night, Vilma will be bestowed this year’s FAMAS Lifetime Achievement Award. Vilmanians would consider this, plus the grand slam and the Hall of Fame honors, as proof that their idol, Ate Vi, is way above her arch rival Nora Aunor. But Noranians would be quick to retort that nothing can match the glory and recognition Nora Aunor received when she was named Centennial Artist during the Philippine Centennial celebrations. As much as their fans love to fight over who is better or more popular, the two actresses are actually very good friends in real life, calling each other “kumare” and running to each other’s assistance whenever necessary…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, March 28, 1999 (READ MORE)

Brussels International Film Festival Best Actress – “…Here is a much-deserved birthday gift for Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos: she has just won the Best Actress award at the just-concluded Brussels International Film Festival for her portrayal as a single mother in Star Cinema’s Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa. The film’s director, Chito Roño, was named Best Director in the same event. “Bata, Bata” was Vilma’s only movie for 1998. It was shown four months after she was elected Lipa City Mayor. Before it went to Brussels, Bata, Bata won for Vilma the Best Actress trophy at the Urian Awards, the Star Awards and the Film Academy Awards. She could have also won the FAMAS award, but as a member of the FAMAS Hall of Fame, Vilma is disqualified from competing in the FAMAS Best Actress category. The story was written by Lualhati Bautista, also the author of the controversial “Sutla,” starring Priscilla Almeda…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, Nov. 16, 1999 (READ MORE)

Hawaii International Film Festival – “…Four local movies have so far been chosen by Christian Gaines of the Hawaii International Film Festival for exhibition in the prestigious event in November. Four more will be picked in July when Gaines returns to Manila. Hawaii filmfest ’99 is focused on the Philippines. The first four movies selected were Chito Roño’s “Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa?,” Joel Lamangan’s “Sidhi,” Carlitos Siguion Reyna’s “Kahapon May Dalawang Bata,” and Gil Portes’ “Saranggola.” Of the four, only “Saranggola” has not yet been commercially released. Gaines viewed a rough copy (interlock) of “Saranggola” whose post-production work is yet unfinished. “Saranggola” stars Ricky Davao and Lester Llansang as father and son. Script by Butch Dalisay. Also being eyed for Filipino movies’ participation is the Sundance (Utah) filmfest (Robert Redford’s very own project), where Gaines is in charge of the world cinema division. “Saranggola” is an aspirant to the June Manila Film Festival. Gaines is inviting Cesar Montano as juror and Vilma Santos as special guest to the Hawaii filmfest, where “Jose Rizal” was shown last year…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, April 17, 1999 (READ MORE)

International Film Festival Recognition 2/2

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Other International Film Festival Recognition

Official Entry – Festival del film Locarno Switzerland (1978) – Burlesk Queen (1977) – “…It was 1977 with an exceptional film, Burlesk Queen, that Castillo got his frist critical recognition. Entered in that year’s Metro Manil Film Festival, it was adjudged the Best Picture, won forhim a Best Director Award as well as nine other artistic awards. It told a young girl in Manila in the 50’s who wanted to become a burlesque dancer. It showed a subdued Castillo. He seemed in this film, to have held back his passion for visual impact to give way to his new mastery of film grammar. His characters cried and whimpered, they did not scream and curse. They delievered dissertations on art, not imprecations of wrath, which had set the pitch of his previous films. The critics fought bitterly over Burlesk Queen. In that festival, he was contending with film makers who enjoyed a high reputation among the country’s most avid film critics. Upon winning the award, Castillo instantly became the favorite beating boy of the critics who did not appreciate Burlesk Queen. To prove to them his worth, Castillo did Pagputi ng Uwak, a 50’s epic set in his favorite Southern Tagalog locale. It was the most lavish of all his productions and had all the elements of a “great” Filipino film. He exploited the many religious and social rituals typical of the region. The film featured the two most critically acclaimed performers of the time, Bembol Roco, Jr. and Vilma Santos, with the cinematography of Romy Vitug complementing Castillo’s visual sense. And it touched on civil unrest to underline the film director’s social awareness. Pagputi ng Uwak was a visual fest, an artistic and socially responsive film aimed at the critics. It was also Castillo’s first commercial failure after a string of more than 20 minor and major box-office hits…In just a decade, Castillo, with all his audacity and dramatic excesses, has claimed his place as one of the most versatile and genuinely interesting filmmakers in the Philippines today…” – Rosauro de la Cruz (READ MORE)

Official Entry – 1978 Berlin Film Festival (official citation not verified) – Burlesk Queen (1977) – “…One of the first Filipino filmmakers to invade foreign film festivals abroad with such output as Burlesk Queen and Alamat ni Julian Makabayan (Berlin Film Festival and World Film Festival in Montreal) and Nympha (Venice Film Festival), among others, Celso The Kid returned to his hometown Siniloan, Laguna where he led a quiet life while working on his autobiography…His 1977 film, Burlesk Queen, won 10 out of the 11 awards of the 1977 Metro Manila Film Festival but the results were contested by Lino Brocka and defended by juror Rolando Tinio (now National Artists for Film and Theater), respectively. He reflected: “I wanted to vindicate myself as a filmmaker in this movie. The media referred to me as a reluctant artist and a filmmaker who has yet to arrive. Not only did the film run away with awards. It was also the top grosser. It broke the myth that quality films don’s make money in the box-office and commercial films don’t win awards…” – Pablo A. Tariman, The Philippine Star, 28 November 2012 (READ MORE)

Official Selection – ASEAN Film Festival, Sydney Austarlia (1981); Official Selection – Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Taipei Taiwan (1978) – Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig (1977) – “…Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos colloborated in seven films (Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988, Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, Magkaribal 1979, Masarap Masakit ang Umibig 1977, Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali 1978, Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981, Pinay American Style 1979). The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other director, Borlaza and Gosiengfiao (these three are the most underrated and under appreciated directors in the Philippines), the remake of Mars Ravelo comic super hero, Darna in Lipad Darna Lipad. The film was a record-breaking hit Box-office Film. They follow this up with a more mature projects as Vilma started to switched her image from sweet to a mature versatile actress, pairing her with Christopher DeLeon in five films starting with Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig in 1977. The Perez-Santos-DeLeon team produced seven blockbuster hits that gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards that secured her elevation to FAMAS highest honour, the FAMAS Hall of Fame award. She won in 1979 for Pakawalan Mo Ako and 1988 for Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos…” – RV (READ MORE)

Official Entry – 1979 The Latin American Film Festival Sao Paolo, Brazil (official citation not verified) – Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak (When the Crow Turns White, When the Heron Turns Black) (1978) – “…This veritable spiritual co-ownership ostensibly has enriched us all, Asians or Asean. It is no mark of a monarchical hauteur to say, for instance, that the films of Celso Ad Castillo, once dubbed as the Messiah of Filipino movies, are contemporaneous in their being a classic. If all these seem contradictory, Celso can easily point to his filmography to prove that there has always been, and will always be, fire in his filmmaker’s eyes. His “Burlesk Queen” and “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak,” (When the Crow Turns White, When the Heron Turns Black) for one, are now a classic, conscience-searing sociological film tractatus on structutal violence and institutional injustice that probed into the hearts of little people amidst a third world setting as encapsulated in the microscopic life of a poverty-stricken, young woman. It’s Rossellini, you would say? Think again…”Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak” was sent to Sao Paolo, Brazil for the Latin American Film Festival and represented the Philippines at the Asean Film Conference in 1981…” – Celso Ad Castillo Presents web-site (READ MORE)

Official Entry – 1981 Asean Film Conference (official citation not verified) – Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak (When the Crow Turns White, When the Heron Turns Black) (1978) – “…This veritable spiritual co-ownership ostensibly has enriched us all, Asians or Asean. It is no mark of a monarchical hauteur to say, for instance, that the films of Celso Ad Castillo, once dubbed as the Messiah of Filipino movies, are contemporaneous in their being a classic. If all these seem contradictory, Celso can easily point to his filmography to prove that there has always been, and will always be, fire in his filmmaker’s eyes. His “Burlesk Queen” and “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak,” (When the Crow Turns White, When the Heron Turns Black) for one, are now a classic, conscience-searing sociological film tractatus on structutal violence and institutional injustice that probed into the hearts of little people amidst a third world setting as encapsulated in the microscopic life of a poverty-stricken, young woman. It’s Rossellini, you would say? Think again…”Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak” was sent to Sao Paolo, Brazil for the Latin American Film Festival and represented the Philippines at the Asean Film Conference in 1981…” – Celso Ad Castillo Presents web-site (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Manila International Film Festival: Restrospective Festival “Focus on the Philippines” (1983) – Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak (1978) – “…Furor is really an understatement. “Burlesk” swept the awards in that year’s MMFF, resulting in a controversy that led to the wholesale return of trophies. In spite of the scandal, “Burlesk” is still regarded by critics as the “quintessential” Filipino film. “Hinamon ni Brocka si Tinio ng suntukan (Lino Brocka dared Rolando Tinio to a fight), ” Celso remembers. “Tinio, who was the head of the jury, heralded “Burlesk as the most beautiful Filipino film” past, present and future.” Vi’s turnaround: Adding fuel to the fire, “Burlesk” had stunned moviegoers because it unveiled a new Vilma Santos “from ingénue to wanton woman. Vilma says of “Burlesk?” – “It marked a transition in my career. Working with Celso Kid is a privilege. He’s a genius.” With good humor, Vilma recalls a “quarrel” on the set of “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak,” which she produced in 1978. “It took so long to finish. I lost money on that. But we’re still friends.” Burlesk and Pagputi brought a lot of honor to me…” – Bayani Santos Jr., Inquirer (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Manila International Film Festival: Restrospective Festival “Focus on the Philippines” (1983) – Relasyon (1982) – “…Patrocinio and Bernal’s own mother, Elena, could very well have been Ishmael’s inspiration for several classics of Philippine movies. In Relasyon, Vilma Santos played the querida who lived up to her name as the beloved, a lady of intellect and fine sensibility; the virtually separated Emil truly loved and preferred her to his legal wife. In Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon (Two Nest, One Bird), Bernal explored the male’s polygamous nature, and pitted him against gritty female characters. In these films, Bernal recast the querida different from the stereotype of a family wrecker toward a clear-headed case-by-case realist delineation of the common-law wife. In Relasyon, Bernal can arguably be shown as a champion of the querida as a Filipino director, in depicting Marilou as a principled martyr in a society that wrongfully extols man’s false claim to moral ascendancy. As would be evident in the film, Ishmael saw the injustice done to women in male-dominated society, as he also saw and questioned the morality and rationality of institutionalized but falsely monogamist families…” – Bayani Santos Jr., Manuel L. Quezon University, Bernal as Auteur: Primary Biographical Notes, 2012 (READ MORE)

Philippine Film Week Moscow, Russia (1984) – Broken Marriage (1983) – “…Reportedly Ms. Santos, buoyed by the many acting awards earned by the previous film, was so eager to do well in the new production that Bernal got irritated, locked her in a bathroom, and delivered to her an ultimatum: she was not coming out till she got over her ‘hysteria.’ One sees what made the latter so successful, the same time watching this one sees why Bernal didn’t want to simply duplicate that success. Relasyon was a lean and elegantly told melodrama that took a sidelong glance at the institution of Filipino marriage; in Broken Marriage Bernal wanted to examine the institution directly, without the oblique glances. He didn’t want to film some doomed struggle to keep love alive but something less dramatic, far more difficult to capture: the aftermath of a protracted war, where the ultimate casualty is married love. He in effect didn’t want Ms. Santos at her perkiest and most energetic–he wanted her exhausted, looking for a way out, and to her credit Ms. Santos delivers exactly this with her performance…” – Noel Vera (READ MORE)

Prague International Film Festival (1984) (citation needed) – Broken Marriage (1983) – “…Vilma Santos is not about to be a letdown, not this time when the most important female roles are coming her way. A new intelligence she infuses in the character Ellen. Like De Leon, she turns Ellen into a woman-child, but the stress is less on her part as she has done similar roles before. Her beautiful face is flush receptive: the quiet moments of just observing the people around her are moments of perfect acting. Her body moves with an agility that is both funny and dramatic. Her two monologues – the first with her friends in the cafe when she informs them that she is bored, and the second with Rene when she tells him that they are not children anymore – are her best scenes: the camera lingers upon her countenance and she enunciates in return with ironic ease. She should watch out for next year’s awards race – there is simply no stopping her at the moment…” – Joselito Zulueta, Sine Manila – 1983 (READ MORE)

Vienna International Film Festival (1984) (citation needed) – Broken Marriage (1983) – “…Though in the last cited awards, Karnal did not make it as best films, it nevertheless gave Broken Marriage a tough fight for the honor, in fact winning more nominations than Berna’s films. It evetually won prizes for performances, cinematography, music and editing…A product of film schools, Marilou earned her M.A. in Film and Television from Loyola Marrymount College in Los Angeles and received a diploma in film from the London Film School. In May, she will be flying to Moscow to attend the Philippine Film Week, where Karnal, Broken Marriage and Soltero will be exhibited. Then it will be Prague and Vienna for both Karnal and Broken Marriage. Her earlier work, Brutal has also been invited to Tokyo’s Pia Film Festival, which is sponsored by critics and journalist to showcase the works of young directors from 10 countries. International may have come her way, but at the moment, Marilou is earnestly preoccupied with starting her latest project, Baby Tsina, which will star two-time Urian best actress Vilma Santos, and written by Marilou’s signature scenarist Ricky Lee. In a few days, the camera are set to start grinding for the director’s new film…” – Justino Dormiendo, Movie Flash Magazine, April 26, 1984 (READ MORE)

Official Entry – Venice International Film Festival (1985)  – Sister Stella L. (Sangandaan /Incroci /Crossroad) (1984) – “…There would have been two important Filipino films in this year’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival: Sister Stella L., directed by Mike de Leon and Kapit sa Patalim, directed by Lino Brocka. Both smuggled out to France and both vitally political in thrust, the two films were reportedly disowned by the Philippine embassy in France. Supposedly under instructions from the Philippine goverment, the embassy sent the following disclaimer to the festival directorate: “There are no Filipino films in the Cannes Film Festival.” The two films nevertheless made it to the festival site, though only one was screened as scheduled. Brocka’s film was in the category “In Competition,” and was tested against the works of such eminent directors as Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Satyajit Ray. Early on Kapit sa Patalim (which acquired a second title, Bayan Ko, in deference to another film project which had been approved before Brocka’s project) was rumored to be a strong contender for the Best Film award. Critic Bertrand Tavernier was quoted as saying, “It’s a toss-up between Wim Wenders’ Paris Texas and Brockas’s Bayan Ko.” De Leon’s film was to have had special screenings, on the unanimous request of the Cannes’ board of critics. Sister Stella L., however, suffered from the rush of subtitling work that descended upon Cannes’ select group of translators and De Leon opted not to show the film without subtitles. He nevertheless had the distinct honor of holding a retrospective under the sponsorship of the French Cinematheque right after the festival. The film eventually competed at the Venice Film Festival. Under its original title Sangandaan (Crossroads), Sister Stella L. was invited to the Venice Film Festival in 1984, the second Filipino film (after Genghis Khan in 1951) to be honored with such recognition…” – Agustin L. Sotto and Pet Cleto, Philippine Panorama, Dec 02 1984 (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Asia-Pacific Film Festival Special Jury Award (1999) – Chito S. Roño – Bata, Bata… Paano Ka Ginawa? (Lea’s Story) (1998) – “…The film “Bata, Bata…Paano ka Ginawa?” was also given a Special Jury Award for Women’s Awareness at the Asia Pacific Film Festival held in Bangkok, Thailand from Nov. 22-26, 1999. Ms. Santos was a Best Actress nominee…” – Eric Nadurata (READ MORE)

Official Selection – 35th Chicago Film Festival (1999) – Bata, Bata… Paano Ka Ginawa? (Lea’s Story) (1998) – “…In one of the most remarkable performances in Filipino film history, Vilma Santos plays Lea, a woman who defiantly rejects social convention to experience life on her own terms. A woman’s rights activist and mother of two, Lea has been abandoned by the fathers of her children. Her daughter and son are at crucial, transitional ages and she struggles to provide for them while maintaining her hectic job at a women’s crisis center. Soon, however, the job and her budding romance with co-worker Johnny threaten Lea’s role as mother. When the children’s fathers turn up to accuse her of neglect, she must ask herself whether her independence is worth the possibility of losing her children? What role–motherhood or lover–will best satisfy the deepest needs of her soul?…” – CIFF (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Pusan International Film Festival (1999) – Bata, Bata… Paano Ka Ginawa? (Lea’s Story) (1998) – “…As much as people think that this is Vilma Santos’ movie, I beg to disagree. Me thinks it was the children’s show. Serena Dalrymple and Carlo Aquino gave two of the best child acting performances ever. Serena as Maya was a chatty young kid, whose bluntness, frankness, and honesty come across as cute and comical however one can still question as to how she was brought up. Carlo Aquino’s Ojie is a more mature kid, he understood what was going on and was rebelling to the fucked-up-ness of their situation. What pisses me off is that today, there hardly is a movie that Carlo Aquino is in, except maybe for last year’s “Carnivore, “where he was superb in again. Aquino is one of the few great young actors of his time that still is a great actor up to know. He is just not that present anymore. And I kinda wish that he makes more movies, because I know that he is a superb actor…” – Douglas Racso (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Temecula Valley International Film Festival (1999) – Bata, Bata… Paano Ka Ginawa? (Lea’s Story) (1998) – “…A free-spirited woman and madre de familia runs her life and raises her children unconventionally. It is one of the best films that espouses feminism without being didactic and self-righteous. Humorous, poignant and insightful, it features a yet-another dazzling performance by Vilma Santos…” – Mario A. Hernando (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Hawaii International Film Festival (1999) – Bata, Bata… Paano Ka Ginawa? (Lea’s Story) (1998) – “…Chito Rono’s telling and prismatic depiction of Lea’s character is worthy of praise because it is full-bodied and filled with surprises, unlike most other local film characterizations, which are two-dimensional and predictable. The audience’s hearty response to Vilma’s spirited portrayal of Lea is a big change from viewer’s knee-jerk responses to most lead characterizations on the local screen, which fail to delight and surprise because they follow tired, old formats so automatically…” – RV (READ MORE)

Philippines’ Official Entry to the Foreign Language Film Category – 73rd Academy Awards (OSCAR) – Anak (The Child) (2000) – “…Mas mahusay para sa amin ang pagkakaganap ni Vilma Santos sa “Anak” kaysa sa “Bata, Bata…Paano ka Ginawa?”. Hindi malayong humakot na naman siya ng award rito…But the film still belongs to Vilma, who goes through an entire spectrum of varied emotions as Josie, mula sa katuwaan at excitement niya sa pagbabalik sa Pilipinas (natural na natural ‘yung pagiging aligaga niya habang namamahagi ng pasalubong sa mga anak niya), ang disappointment niya nang matanto niyang hindi na niya kilala ang mga batang binalikan niya, hanggang sa finally ay sumambulat siya sa tagpong pinagsasampal na rin niya si Claudine at pinalalayas. It’s a bravura sequence and the performance is magnificent…” – Mario E. Bautista (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Fukuoka Asian Film Festival (2001) – Anak (The Child) (2000)- “…Children feel they are abandoned by their mother even they know their daily life is supported by her remittance. Mother’s love ends up with broken relationship. What a tragedy! The life of the family looks not bad in Philippine standard. In fact their house is large enough even in Japanese standard. However, their father, who looks a good man, do not have stable job, if not minimal income which is hard to afford their life. In fact, even working abroad as a maid is a kind of status. I don’t understand why the mother does not cancel going to Hong Kong and choose yet another life, to live with her family with less income, after reconciliation with her daughter. Unless Filipinos decide to quit working overseas for little money, I think this country would not become better. By the way, this is the first film I saw Vilma Santos. Her performance is superb. Few actresses can act both comical and serious sides of the same character…” – Furuya Shiro (READ MORE)

Official Selection – 2001 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festiva1 (2001) – Anak (The Child) (2000) – “…Josie’s final decision to leave for H.K. once again makes little sense, beyond its providing an excuse for “Anak’s” fourth hysterical-sobbing-at-the-airport sequence. That’s too bad, since early reels observe parent-child relationships with considerable delicacy. Quintos’ fluid handling of potentially claustrophobic, mawkish material underplays script’s more obvious gambits until they overwhelm pic. Veteran local star Santos is in fine form, while Barretto lends impressive shading to what might have been a stock sexy “bad girl” role. Tech package is polished…” – Dennis Harvey, Variety Magazine, 19 March 2001 (READ MORE)

Official Selection – San Francisco Asian American Film Festival (2001) – Anak (The Child) (2000) – “…The slick production is turned into art by its star Vilma Santos. Her magnetic star quality makes her look so wrong for the part and yet she makes it all her own. She’s a natural comedianne and a great tragedienne-her look of resignation is heartbreaking. Vilma discards the glittering clothes and make-up for Anak, but she still looks youthful. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if the sensitive young actor playing her son would go on to play her leading man a few years from now…” – Dennis Ladaw (READ MORE)

Philippines’ Official Entry to the Foreign Language Film Category – 76th Academy Awards (OSCAR) – Dekada ’70 (2002) – “…For ten consecutive years from 1995 to 2004, the Philippines submitted films for consideration for the Best Foreign Language Film category of the Oscar Awards. But up to this point of film history, we remain in the list of countries who has never won nor nominated for this award…The next year 2003, the country’s entry was Dekada ’70, directed by Chito S. Rono based on the novel Dekada ’70 of Lualhati Bautista. It tells the story of a middle-class Filipino couple (Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos) and their five sons during a tumultuous decade of the martial law regime. The sons were played by Piolo Pascual, Carlos Agassi, Marvin Agustin, Daniel Barrios and John Wayne Sace…” – FAP (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Asian Pacific Film Festival (2003) – Dekada 70 (2002) “…The acting is generally impressive, most especially that of lead actress Santos, who gives a luminous, sensitive performance. Santos essays the transformation of Amanda so effectively that we do see clearly at the end of the film that there has been a fundamental change in her character…” – Antonio D. SisonAntonio D. Sison, Katholieke Universiteit Nijimegen, Journal of Religion & Film, University of Nebraska (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Hawai International Film Festival (2003) – Dekada ’70 (2002) – “…Four local movies have so far been chosen by Christian Gaines of the Hawaii International Film Festival for exhibition in the prestigious event in November. Four more will be picked in July when Gaines returns to Manila. Hawaii filmfest ’99 is focused on the Philippines.  The first four movies selected were Chito Roño’s “Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa?,” Joel Lamangan’s “Sidhi,” Carlitos Siguion Reyna’s “Kahapon May Dalawang Bata,” and Gil Portes’ “Saranggola.”  Of the four, only “Saranggola” has not yet been commercially released. Gaines viewed a rough copy (interlock) of “Saranggola” whose post-production work is yet unfinished. “Saranggola” stars Ricky Davao and Lester Llansang as father and son. Script by Butch Dalisay.  Also being eyed for Filipino movies’ participation is the Sundance (Utah) filmfest (Robert Redford’s very own project), where Gaines is in charge of the world cinema division. “Saranggola” is an aspirant to the June Manila Film Festival.  Gaines is inviting Cesar Montano as juror and Vilma Santos as special guest to the Hawaii filmfest, where “Jose Rizal” was shown last year…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, April 17, 1999 (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Quebec City International Film Festival (2003) – Dekada 70 (2002) – “…There are touches of seventies style Filipino humor that foreign audiences might miss; they effectively establish that this is a real, average Filipino family trying to navigate through the eye of the political storm. The acting is generally impressive, most especially that of lead actress Santos, who gives a luminous, sensitive performance. Santos essays the transformation of Amanda so effectively that we do see clearly at the end of the film that there has been a fundamental change in her character. If there is something to be faulted about the film, it is Roňo’s failure to keep melodramatic moments in check. The funeral sequence of one of Amanda’s sons, for instance, becomes an over-extended session of copious tears. The rich story material of Dekada 70 could do away with such “in your face” paroxysms, which only work to dull the film’s cutting edge political trajectory. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that Roňo had created a noteworthy, epic-scale Filipino film, and on a Third World budget at that. It also cannot be denied that Roňo had not forgotten the sentence of history on his home country…” – Antonio D. Sison, Insititute for Pastoral Initiatives University of Dayton (READ MORE)

Official Selection – The World International Film Festival of Montreal (2003) – Dekada 70 (2002) – “…The reason “Sister Stella L” will probably end up better appreciated is that the movie was shown during the martial law era. The movie was relevant to the times and Vilma was portraying an activist nun, a role not usually associated with the Star for all Seasons… As the mother, Vilma does justice to her character, holding back her strong emotions until the end, when she finally confronts Christopher de Leon and wants to break up with him. Despite the many tragic events that befall her character, Vilma chooses to underplay her role except at key points towards the end of the movie. Boyet is his usual competent self as the chauvinistic husband of Vilma who is forced to change when his wife breaks out of her shell. Piolo Pascual also deserves mention for his realistic portrayal of the activist turned NPA rebel…” – Edmund L. Sicam, Philippine Daily Inquirer (READ MORE)

Official Selection – 15tth Ankara International Film Festival (2003) – Dekada ’70 (2002) – “…during the first half of the film, Vilma’s character occasionally felt unhappy, taken for granted or unappreciated as a person, but she held her emotions in check to keep the peace in the family. It was only later, when the national trauma of martial law rule affected her sons in various tragic ways, that she found the voice and rediscovered the heart to assert herself as a person and to give her emotions full play. We submit that Vilma’s portrayal is excellent precisely because she vivified he character as the wife and mother was in the ‘70s. Her thematic and emotional high points towards the end of the film rivetting, but it was her quieter, more controlled moments that showcased Vilma’s true gift as an actress. During those moments, Vilma didn’t just observe what was going on, she was constantly conflicted only, she had been programmed not to speak out because it wasn’t her “place”. Thus, when she finally changes and expresses herself in the end, the contrast makes her transformation all the more stunning…” – Nestor Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer (READ MORE)

Special Exhibition: Cannes International Film Festival (2005) – Dekada 70 (2002) – “…At the center of the film and the family is Amanda (Filipino cinematic diva Vilma Santos) who vicariously experiences living under a dictatorship through her husband and five sons’ different reactions before coming into her own as a person. Her husband, Julian (Christopher De Leon), seems a walking contradiction: He offers rationalizations for the government while supporting his eldest son’s revolutionary activities, but has a fit when his wife wants to get a job. As for the sons, firstborn son (Piolo Pascual) joins the guerillas in the mountains. The second son (Carlos Agassi), forced into a shotgun wedding, defiantly works for the American Navy. The third son (Marvin Augustin) writes journalistic exposes he can’t publish, while the fourth son (Danilo Barrios) is a mystery to his family until his brutal, motiveless murder (probably by police) reveals a lost girlfriend. The fifth son (John W. Sace) is still a boy. Santos’ Amanda effortlessly and movingly chronicles the changed consciousness of the family and the country, with understatement her most reliable tool. Pic begins and ends with images of Santos at the forefront of a political demonstration, and nothing, from first image to last, for 128 minutes, is allowed to spontaneously or slyly deviate from the logic of her consciousness-raising…” – Ronnie Scheib, Variety Magazine (READ MORE)

Official Selection – Palm Spring International Film Festival (2003) – Dekada ’70 (2002) – “…In Chito S. Roño’s superb “Dekada ’70,” a family in the Marcos-era Philippines has a domineering father and five sons, but it is the mother (Vilma Santos) who provides the mental stamina. She fights for her family in ways the father can’t even dream of. “To give birth to these children isn’t enough,” she says. “You have to defend them, protect them.” That’s the ’70s. In 30 years, that kind of woman will deal with difficult questions of divorce and motherhood, one in which women want freedom, yet must be willing to share blame when something goes wrong. The young woman who leaves her husband and thinks about aborting her pregnancy in South Korean filmmaker Gina Kim’s “Invisible Light” is an experimental example. Moon’s great performance in “A Good Lawyer’s Wife” almost makes you believe wrong is right, and, taken with her much-lauded portrayal of a girl with cerebral palsy in “Oasis,” reveals her as one of the world’s best actresses. Hollywood, take note. – No stereotypes of Asians here…” – G. Allen Johnson, Festival Celebrates Real Women, San Francisco Chronicle March 4, 2004 (READ MORE)

Official Selection – 22nd San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (2003) – Dekada ’70 (2002) – “…Last seen in Anak (SFIAAFF ‘01), Vilma Santos delivers an understated, profoundly moving performance as the matriarch whose awakening redefines the traditional mother and wife role she donned for years. This is the story of an incredible character that survived an unforgettable decade…” – Michael Magnaye, San Francisco Premiere (READ MORE)

Official Selection – UCLA Filipino Film Festival – Classics of the Filipino Film (2002) – Sister Stella L. (1984) – “…The final film was “Sister Stella L.” 1984, directed by Mike de Leon. Produced and shown during the Martial Law period of Ferdinand Marcos, this film is the story of a nun who is conscienticized and begins to identify wit the cause of the striking laborers. It won ten Urian awards and was chosen as one of the ten best films of the 1980s by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino…” – Barbara Gaerlan (READ MORE)

Official Selection – 6th San Diego Asian Film Festival (2003) – Dekada ’70 (2002) – “…Santos’ performance is so vivid and insightful that we can see her changing in front of our very eyes… We were enthralled…we were moved. And we valued the film’s important contribution to the very urgent task of reminding everyone of the trauma in our collective lives that was the martial law period of the ’70s,” noted Nestor Torre of Inquirer News Service. Chito Rono’s Dekada ‘70 made its world premier at the Asian American International Film Festival in June of 2003. The film has also won numerous domestic awards. The Young Critics Circle voted Dekada ‘70 Best Film of the Year (2002), Best Screenplay, Best Sound and Best Performance in a tie between actress Vilma Santos (Amanda) and Piolo Pascual (Amanda’s eldest son). The Best Film of the Year award is reserved for the director, such that no separate prize for direction is needed. The Best Performance award is the most coveted as it is conferred on the performer whether male or female, adult or child, individual or ensemble in leading or supporting role. Vilma Santos also received an award for Best Actress from Star Awards for Movies, Film Academy of The Philippines, and Gawad Urian Awards. Piolo Pascual also received an award for Best Supporting Actor from the Young Critics Film Circle, Metro Manila Film Festival, Star Awards for Movies, Film Academy of the Philippines, FAMAS Awards, and Gawad Urian Awards. The Gawad Urian Awards also presented Dekada ’70 with the award for Best Screenplay…” – Sara Stokoe, Asia Pacific Arts (READ MORE)

Official Selection – 8th Shanghai International Film Festival (2005) – Mano Po III: My Love (2004) – “…As a love story, it is romantic as romantic can be – passionate even. And you really have to give it to the durable love team of Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon to be able to pull off a material like Mano Po 3 and give the kilig effect of expected by most viewers and fans of love stories. It is handsomely-mounted, glossy and very entertaining. Its production values are far more superior compared to other local movies…” – Butch Francisco, Philippine Star (READ MORE)

Official Selection – The International Cannes Film Festival – Cinemas of the World (2005) – Dekada ’70 (2002) – “…On May 20, the Philippine films listed below were exclusively screened in a newly built theater within the Cannes Festival area: named All Cinemas in the World Theater, a new section in the International Cannes Film Festival where only seven countries including the Philippines , out of 125 countries, were invited to send their films. Feature Films…Dekada 70, Stars: Vilma Santos, Christopher de Leon; Director: Chito Rono…There was a long red carpet leading to the All the Cinemas in the World Theater. The exhibition of our films were well attended and appreciated. In fact, some of those who saw them commented that our films are better than some of the films in competition. This was confided to Mr. Robert Malengreau, an officer of the Brussel Film Festival and widely-respected film journalist, who enjoyed mentioning repeatedly said comment to us…” – Atty. Espiridion D. Laxa, Chairman FAP, Jun 1, 2005 (READ MORE)

Official Selection – 25 Filipino films shown at Lincoln Center (2010) – Sister Stella L (1984) and Relasyon (The Affair) (1982) – “In celebration of the 100th year of Philippine Independence, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in partnership with the Philippine Centennial Commission, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, IFFCOM, the Philippine Information Agency, the Consulate General of the Philippines in New York and the Philippine Centennial Coordinating Council – Northeast USA, presented a series of Filipino films at the Walter Reade Theater of the Lincoln Center. Slated July 31 through August 20, and with a line-up of about 25 films, the series was the most extensive Filipino film retrospective ever to take place in the United States. All prints are subtitled in English. By including old classics as well as contemporary films, the three-week festival brought the country’s centennial commemoration into sharper historical focus. It also featured some of the best works by acclaimed director Lino Brocka, and concluded with the award-winning short films and videos of young, upcoming Filipino and Filipino-American filmmakers. The members of the film selection committee were Richard Peña (Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center), Domingo Hornilla, Jr., Vincent “Ting” Nebrida, and Agustin “Hammy” Sotto. Some of the titles shown in the festival were: In the Classics Category…two films by Mike De Leon: Sister Stella L. starring Vilma Santos and Batch ’81 starring Mark Gil; and three works by Ishmael Bernal namely Nunal sa Tubig (A Speck in the Water) starring Daria Ramirez, Aliw starring Suzette Ranillo and Relasyon starring Vilma Santos…Among Brocka’s films being spotlighted were Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag, Insiang, Tinimbang Ka Nguni’t Kulang (You Were Weighed But Was Found Wanting) and Ina, Kapatid, Anak (Mother, Sister, Daughter)…” – Seapavaa Bulletin (READ MORE)

Official Selection: Moviemov: Italian Cinema Now 2012, December 4 to 9 2012 – Dekada ’70 (2002) – “…Moviemov will also feature five Filipino films, including the newly restored Genghis Khan (1950) by Manuel Conde, which was “lost” in the 1950s and was restored in digital, high definition format through a collaborative effort of the FDCP, National Film Archive of the Philippines, Venice Film Festival and L’Immagine Ritrovata. Other Filipino films to be feted in Moviemov this year are Dekada ’70 by Chito Roño, The Mistress by Olivia Lamasan, Qiyamah by Gutierrez Mangansakan, and the winner of the FDCP’s National Film Festival in Davao City. For this year’s Moviemov, the youth is a special focus. Students from Makati public schools will be watching the films. “Cinema is the greatest art,” Bettini says. “Unfortunately, nowadays, youth are educated by TV. Tastes have been changing. It’s very important to have cinema brought to the youth, because it defines taste and educates conscience and will inform them in a deeper way…” – Michele Logarta, The Philippine Star, Dec 02 2012 (READ MORE)

Official Selection:Toronto International Film FestivalContemporary World Cinema Programme September 5-15, 2013 – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…Told with an eye for the ludicrous excesses and stresses of TV work (one director is tasked with shooting forty set-ups in two days) and the inherently existential comedy of being a stand-in, Jeturian’s film never misses a target. One overly nervous extra loses her dentures during shooting; a neophyte shows up to play a peasant wearing enough makeup to shame RuPaul. At the same time, the film is buoyed with ample affection for the characters’ dreams. After working all day and into the night, the inevitably cheerful Loida is capable of pontificating about the important role the extras play. Skilfully directed by Jeturian, and driven by Santos’ courageous performance and peerless comic timing, The Bit Player is also a kind of tribute to Loida. Even at her lowest point, she never gives up…” – Steve Gravestock, Senior Programmer, TIFF (READ MORE)

At the sold-out premiere in Toronto, many in the long lineup awaiting the film’s start were excited to watch it given the critical acclaim at Cinemalaya. Arnold Manalac, a big Santos fan, organized about 20 of his friends to come watch the film. “These are all my college friends, friends here in Toronto, some of my relatives,” he said while pointing out the smiling faces with him, “so we organized and came up with a small group to support this film. The crowd of mostly Filipino-Canadians was abuzz with anticipation, including the very first people in the line, Danny Ong and Ricardo Obusan, who came to support independent Filipino films. Jeturian signed autographs before and after the film’s screening and took questions from the audience. The final showing of Ekstra at TIFF is Sept. 15, but the movie will have a theatrical release in eight Canadian cities including Mississauga and Scarborough from Sept. 13 to 26…” – Dyan Ruiz, The Philippine Reporter, 13 Sept 2013 (READ MORE)

Official Selection Asia Pop! 2013 San Diego Asian Film Festival (Nov 7-16 2013) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…In a way, Santos can be compared to Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange; both thespians employ their entire body to bring out the internal turmoil of their characters if necessary. Santos impassioned performance in classic films such as “Broken Marriage” and “Relasyon” demands certain explosiveness. Santos has always played the fighter, never the silent suffering victim. Even powerless, Santos’ characters have trudged on despite obvious defeat. She has always embodied the ferocious female spirit, which I grew up witnessing from the strong females in my family. Fight, survive at all cost. Similarly, Santos can also quietly stand still and let her face do the exposition, “Sister Stella L.” is a perfect example. In both commercially melodramatic and critically acclaimed films, all of the characters in Santos wide repertoire refused to go without a good fight. I have heard other critics call her the “feminists’ actor,” but do not take our word for it, you need to watch her films to verify that. In her latest movie, “Ekstra” (The Bit Player), Santos is back to form after her commercially successful but critically disappointing horror film, “The Healing.” Santos plays Loida, a bit player dreaming of becoming a star despite working in the industry for so long. At first glance, Santos seemed to be miscast as a bit player because she is too fair and beautiful to stay a bit player that long; however, thanks to Jeffrey Jeturian’s clever direction, Santos transcends the obvious. The Santos celebrity persona disappears and we see the face of a bit player being used as a mere tool by an industry hell bent on producing crap. Loida’s triumph lies in Jeturian’s blatant critique of the industry that exploits people for commercial purposes. Loida is not just a real character, she is a symbol. The delightful irony of “Ekstra” is using one of the biggest stars in the industry to play it small…” – Rob San Miguel, Brun Philippines, 18 August 2013 (READ MORE)

Special Selection: 2013 NuCinema: NUVALI Outdoor Film Festival (2014) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…Vilma Santos may have been the film’s initial main attraction, but we can’t deny the fact that this is the best comedy-drama of the year. Santos proved her star-for-all-seasons status was far from waning, but Jeffrey Jeturian’s film itself is a brilliant achievement. Its portrayal of the television industry’s bit players is both honest and hilarious. With its small scale and grand ambitions, Ekstra brings a different flavor to the usual tale of the downtrodden…” – Paul G. Alcantara, Kara B. Chung, The Guidon on line, 30 December 2013 (READ MORE)

Official Selection: World Cinema Section of 2013 International Film Festival of India Goa, India (2013) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…The International Film Festival in Goa in November 2013 came alive with young audiences from across the country patiently standing in long lines to watch serious world cinema. They were the real stars of this festival. In many shows, disappointed audiences were turned away because every seat was taken. There is a new audience out there, ready for new ideas, new film grammar, and new reflective cinema. The time is long overdue for a publically financed network of art theatres in every city in the country. In my three days in Goa, I spent most time with the Soul of Asia segment, which introduced me to some fine films described in an earlier column. I recall here a few other films which remain with me even as the weeks pass after the festival…Adopting a diametrically opposite idiom of exuberant comic irony is Philippine director Jeffrey Jeturian’s Ekstra (Extra), an affectionate salute to the underdog. It follows one day in the life of a middle-aged woman extra, a bit player in television soap operas, after she is woken in the early hours of the morning one day to drive to a location shoot in the neighbouring countryside. The director subversively casts one of the Philippines’ best-loved actors, Vilma Santos, in the role of the extra. The viewer for once roots for the anonymous crowd — the farmer on the fields, the domestic help patiently waiting, and the guests in the background of a wedding — while the lead players strut and recite their lines. We watch the class system in the enormous gaps in food and lodging between stars and extras. The film mocks the hilarious script trajectories of the soap opera, and the vanity and fragile egos of its lead players. I often felt that if just the names were changed in the film’s script, it could have been located in India with no substantial changes…” – Harsh Mander, The Hindu, 28 Dec 2013 (READ MORE)

Official Selection: The 18th International Film Festival of Kerala (2013) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…I am aware of the Filipino culture and their language which could be one of the reasons why I happened to be amused by Jeffrey Jeturian’s “EKSTRA (The Bit Player)” when I caught it at the 6th Bengaluru Film Festival. But, that is not entirely the reason why the movie works big time! The prime reasons in that order would be…Vilma Santos, a sensational performer. She lives the character of an extra artiste in television soaps. Flawless, compelling and award-worthy, is her turn…To sum it up, Ekstra – The Bit Player is a poignant film which is certainly worth your time…” – Tusshar Sasi, Romancing Cinema, 27 Dec 2013 (READ MORE)

Official Selection NETPAC Award Winners: The 2013 Bangalore International Film Festival Bangalore, India (2014) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…The unshakable optimism of a middle-aged extra is the warm heart driving “The Bit Player,” an appealing dramedy that pokes plenty of good-natured fun at TV soap operas. Anchored by a glowing central performance by Filipino screen queen Vilma Santos as the single mother who smiles her way through work-related indignities in order to pay for her daughter’s education, the pic reps a fine feather in the cap of veteran helmer Jeffrey Jeturian. Winner of the audience award for best film in its category at Cinemalaya and a hit in domestic release in August, this crowdpleaser launches on limited North American screens on Sept. 13…Constant chuckles and a fair supply of big belly laughs are the order of the day as Loida, Venus and a lovable collection of fellow nameless wannabees are herded like cattle by Josie, acid-tongued assistant director Vincent (Vincent de Jesus, hilarious) and the super-stressed-out director (Marlon Rivera) of “You Were Mine First.” As expected, much of the fun derives from scenes being shot for the wildly melodramatic “You Were Mine First.” To that end, Jeturian gets great value from guest appearances by a host of big-name local stars including hunky matinee idol Piolo Pascual as troubled groom-in-waiting Brando, Pilar Pilapil as severe matriarch Dona Esmerelda and a wonderfully over-the-top Cherie Gil as gun-toting super-bitch Dona Beatriz. For all the merriment on display, the screenplay never loses sight of the economic and emotional imperatives propelling Loida’s uncomplaining acceptance of her place at the bottom of the entertainment-industry food chain. It’s no surprise when Loida finally gets a chance to make a mark with big speaking role in “You Were Mine First,” but the manner in which this plays out is surprising and genuinely touching…” – Richard Kuipers, Variety Magazine, 11 Sep 2013 (READ MORE)

In competition: The Boréal Audience Award Festival International de Films Independants Geneve – The 15th Black Movie Festival Geneva, Switzerland (2014) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “… As Loida Malabanan, Ate Vi shines even in anonymity. She is supposed to fade into the background, not outshine the “stars” and just do what is assigned her- to be a bit player. But even in the crowd, Ate Vi makes Loida stand out. She gives Loida the bit player enough motivation, and a poignant love for the acting craft that she has forever changed the image of the bit player, in the same way that she redefined the term “mistress” when she did Ishmael Bernal’s RELASYON way back. For the director, the staff and the big stars, Loida is a nobody. But for us, the audience, we recognize Loida’s magnanimity. Watch out for that pivotal scene in the third act where Loida, and us the audience learns the true meaning of ingratitude in the media. Ekstra is Vilma’s movie. We cannot imagine any other actress for her role. At the end of the day, as Loida descends from the jeepney, and prepares to go to bed just about when everyone is supposed to go to work, we feel exhausted. It’s not the physical work that made us tired, but the system of a dog eat dog society. Filmmaker Jeffrey Jeturian, through Loida exposes the hypocrisy of the thankless and unjust world of entertainment, and after that whole bout of laughing and laughing and crying afterwards, we are forever changed. Yeah right, like you didn’t already know you were gonna cry after seeing the trailer…” – Macky Macarayan, Death of Traditional Cinema, 30 July 2013 (READ MORE)

Philippine’s Official Entry:Dhaka International Film Festival Dhaka, Bangladesh (Jan 10-18 2014) – Winner of Best Actress – Vilma Santos, Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…The irony of Santos, Philippine media’s “Star for All Seasons,” playing a bit player adds to both the film’s hilarity and meaning. It’s almost as if the film is asking this: if seeing someone as respected as Vilma Santos marginalized could only elicit sympathy, what can the people sans Santos’ credentials possibly do to invite empathic thought? The film ended with a question: “Sinong namatay?” It was addressed to Loida but it could possibly be for the audience. It is easy to know who literally dies in a teleserye because it shows it. In real life, those figuratively murdered is silenced to anonymity. What socio-realist films like Ekstra thrive in is lending voice to people and realities made silent. What these films need and have always needed is an audience that will listen. Their taking action is the next best thing.” – Chryssa Celestino, The Lasallian, 4 Aug 2013 (READ MORE)

Official Selection:Women of the World/Pacific PearlsThe 38th Cleveland International Film Festival (2014) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…Ekstra” is a very entertaining film that brings us into the world of a bit player or “ekstra” in the punishing world of television soap operas, where hectic daily shooting deadlines are the norm. This was not only a glimpse for the audience, but more of an immersion. We get an in-depth, no-holds-barred, brutally frank expose on how bit players are treated on and off the set of a location shoot. Loida Malabanan has been a bit player for many years already. This job, however unstable, had enabled her to get her daughter through college even as a single mother, albeit barely…Ms. Vilma Santos is the heart and soul of this film, and she was such a paradox in this role. She portrays her role in the most natural and realistic way, yet we know the character was so NOT her. Ms. Vilma was already the lead star in her very first film, “Trudis Liit”! Incredibly, she was able to successfully dim her megawatt star power to appear inferior in stature to stars like Marian Rivera and Piolo Pascual who were the lead stars of the soap being shot, yet Ms. Vilma still manages to outshine them all. Her most effective scenes had no spoken lines at all. Ms. Cherie Gil was so deliciously campy good in her villainous Doña Beatriz character. Tart Carlos, more popularly known for her role as the ditsy maid Doris on TV’s “Be Careful With My Heart,” has a marked role playing Loida’s friend and co-extra, where her skills in comedy shone. Musical director Vincent de Jesus was very effective as the harried assistant director, scrambling to accomplish all the orders of the impatient director….” – Fred Hawson, ABS-CBN News, 29 July 2013 (READ MORE)

Official Selection:15th Rainbow Film Festival London, UK (May 25-June 1 2014) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…I was worried coming in that Ekstra was just going to be a less interesting version of 2011’s Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay. It turns out that the fears were unwarranted. The film takes a fairly different approach, following one extra (played by the inimitable Vilma Santos) as she goes through one whole day of being a talent on the set of a popular soap opera. The film is as much about the absurdities that go into the production of one of these shows as it is about its titular subject, spending a good chunk of its time railing against the rampant disregard for any sort of quality on these productions. The film ends up depicting a hierarchy of suffering, with the extras at the bottom rung of a seemingly endless ladder to an unknowable top. The film could probably stand to be a little shorter, perhaps a little more economical in its criticism of the industry. But it’s hard to complain when Jeturian’s satirical instincts are so on point, and Vilma Santos is so affecting…” – Philbert Ortiz Dy, Click The City, 30 July 2013 (READ MORE)

Official Selection:Southeast Asian Film Festival Singapore 11 April – 4 May 2014 – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…We laughed and guffawed at such acting antics, scenes both startling and familiar, stereotypical of TV soaps, with lines we have even come to memorize. But watch out for sly, self-referential moments. When Doris tries to discourage Loida from nursing dreams of eventual stardom, she makes mention of the “typical” talents who make it big in the biz: tall, fair with sharp noses. “But what about Nora Aunor?” asks Loida, to which Doris grants grudging assent. That the line is uttered by Vilma Santos, who for decades has been forced into a running competition against the “Superstar,” is all the more delicious. In fact, Jeturian, in an interview, admits that “Ekstra” could kick-start once more the legendary rivalry between the two. If so, I as a fan of both welcome such a development. As movie audiences we could be in for a rich and satisfying round of out-of-the-box roles for the still-reigning queens of local cinema…” – Rina Jimenez-David, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 19 Aug 2013 (READ MORE)

Special Screening:Honolulu Museum of Art Honolulu, Hawai Apr 4, 9, 15 2014 – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…In the Directors’ Showcase, Jerrold Tarog’s Sana Dati (literal translation is “Wish It Were Like Before”), swept eight awards, including Best Film and Best Director. Set during a wedding ceremony, a bride disappears to meet her previous true love. Although well crafted and having an interesting premise, I do not think it deserved that many awards. The other real contender in the section was Jeffrey Jeturian’s new film, Ekstra (Bit player), an enjoyable comedy, which paid a sympathetic homage to the shadow “bit players” (or extras) in TV soaps. The film was lifted by the emphatic character of Loida, which was nicely acted by super star Vilma Santos (now Governor of the Batangas province!). Ekstra grabbed the Special Jury prize, Best Actress (Vilma Santos, known as “Ate Vi”), Best Supporting Actress (Ruby Ruiz), and also the Netpac award for that section. The main Jury (Peque Gallaga, Carlitos Siguion Reyna, Ditsi Carolino from the Philippines, Maggie Lee from Hong Kong and Bastian Meiresonne from France) decided not to award the Best Actor prize this year…I have mixed feelings for this edition of Cinemalaya: films were of uneven quality; jury awards were not well distributed. I am glad the Audience awards were given to Ekstra (Directors’ Showcase), Transit (New Breed) and Taya (Shorts). Whatever may happen, Cinemalaya remains the most important cinematic event in the Philippines and all other subsequent festivals are only variations on the format (whether it be Cinema One, Sineng Pambansa, and now Cine Filipino, in September). Let’s just hope that Cinemalaya’s budget will not be shrinking further, as it is the case for many festivals in the world. That would endanger its very existence…” – Max Tessier, NETPAC Bureau, 01 September 2013 (READ MORE)

Official Selection:24° Edizione del Festival Cinema Africano, Asia e America Latina (May 6 – 12, 2014) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…Overall, I like this film. It didn’t feel dragging. It’s a very energetic film with a hilariously written script. The ending may feel abrupt as I felt that too. But after thinking about it for creative reasons, I think it’s the most fitting way to end the day of a bit player. Loida’s emotion alone in that scene summarizes it all. Verdict: With Vilma Santos and her lively supporting cast, you might find Ekstra something worthwhile to see…” – John Albert Villanueva, Orange Magazine (READ MORE)

Official Selection:40th Seattle International Film Festival (May 15 – June 8, 2014) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…It’s not easy being an extra. While vital to the authenticity to a filmed project—be it a movie, TV show, or music video—extras, or bit players, are regularly relegated to the sidelines, where they are subjugated, mistreated, underfed, and disrespected, working long hours without any promises of fame, fortune, or respectable paychecks. Such is the life of middle-aged single mother Loida (Vilma Santos), who has yet to catch her big break. Waking up at the crack of dawn, she and a dozen other extras pack themselves like sardines into a van and head out to a remote location shoot for the nightly TV soap opera “Nauna kang nagging Akin” (or “You Were Mine First”). Upon their arrival, they find the set in complete disarray, a frenzied circus of diva behavior, rain delays, and prop mishaps. Over the course of one very long shooting day, the behind-the-scenes chaos become as dramatic, if not more, than the soap opera unfolding before the cameras, but Loida, ever committed to her craft, discovers what could be a glimmer of hope in the form of a small, available speaking role. Santos, who ironically is a cinema megastar in her home country, gives one of the best performances of the Festival, imbuing Loida with a dogged tenacity lying just beneath the surface of her kind but world-weary visage. The film itself strikes a wonderful balance between a screwball showbiz comedy and a compassionate socio-realist drama about the exploitation of labor, equally harsh and hilarious…” – SIFF 2014 (READ MORE)

Official Selection:New Filipino Cinema 2014 YBCA (2014) – Ekstra: The Bit Player (2013) – “…Vilma Santos, the legendary grand dame of Philippine cinema, stars in this bittersweet comedy. A clever satire of the telenovela formula, The Bit Player tells the story of a group of extras on a soap opera, as they patiently wait to be cast as anonymous background actors or in tiny speaking roles. At the very bottom of the showbiz hierarchy (working extremely long hours for very little pay), these extras turn out to be far more dedicated to their work than the egotistical, unreliable stars who are highly paid and constantly fawned over…” – YBCA New Filipino Cinema 2014 (READ MORE)

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International Film Festival Recognition 1/2

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21st Festival Internationale Du Film Independant in Brussels, Belgium (Nov. 09-14, 1999)

1999 Brussels International Festival of Independent Films Best Actress – Vilma Santos; Best Director – Chito S. Roño – “…21st Festival Internationale Du Film Independant in Brussels, Belgium unanimously voted Ms. Santos as Best Actress for the movie “Bata, Bata… Paano ka Ginawa?”. The movie also won the Best Director award for Mr. Chito Rono. Its just to bad that Ms. Santos was not able to attend the said festival. The Jurors were: Aung Ko (Myanmar), Jacqueline Pierriex (Belgium), Mel Tobias (Philippines), Larissa Delcourt (Belgium), Xie Fie (China), Steve Montal (USA). The festival director is Mr. Robert Malengreau….” – Eric Nadurata (READ MORE)

Brussels International Film Festival Best Actress – “…Here is a much-deserved birthday gift for Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos: she has just won the Best Actress award at the just-concluded Brussels International Film Festival for her portrayal as a single mother in Star Cinema’s Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa. The film’s director, Chito Roño, was named Best Director in the same event. “Bata, Bata” was Vilma’s only movie for 1998. It was shown four months after she was elected Lipa City Mayor. Before it went to Brussels, Bata, Bata won for Vilma the Best Actress trophy at the Urian Awards, the Star Awards and the Film Academy Awards. She could have also won the FAMAS award, but as a member of the FAMAS Hall of Fame, Vilma is disqualified from competing in the FAMAS Best Actress category. The story was written by Lualhati Bautista, also the author of the controversial “Sutla,” starring Priscilla Almeda…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, Nov. 16, 1999 (READ MORE)

Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa? (Lea’s Story) (1998): – “…This long narrative also became a film, where the Philippine actress Vilma Santos (who went on to become the first female governor of Batangas) took the role of the character Lea in 1998, together with Filipino actor Raymond Bagatsing. The transformation of the story from novel to film was under the direction of Chito S. Roño. After winning recognition by the Filipino Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Director) in the Philippines, Lea’s Story – the film version of Bata, Bata… Pa’no Ka Ginawa? – was shown in Manhattan in 2000 as a part of a “bi-monthly series of Asian and Asian American film screenings at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

5th CineManila International Film Festival (Aug. 07-24, 2003)

2003 CineManila International Film Festival Best Actress – “…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…” – Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug 24 2003 (READ MORE)

2003 CineManila International Film Festival Life-time Achievement Award – “…With a screen career spanning five decades, Vilma outshines her peers. She has proven herself not only as a consummate actress but also more importantly, a role model and enduring inspiration. The Gawad Plaridel is just the latest in the string of lifetime achievement awards Vilma has received in the course of her stellar career. It was the Film Academy of the Philippines that first extended Vilma such great honor in the early 1990s followed by the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences later in the decade and then the Cinemanila International Film Festival a couple of years back…” – Nonoy L. Lauzon (READ MORE)

“…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)

2003 CineManila International Film Festival NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film – Chito S. Roño – “…Roño gave Vilma Santos her first international recognition winning the best actress in 1999 Brussels International Festival of Independent Films. At the same time, he was recognized as the festival’s Best Director both for Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa. The film also gave Vilma Santos her third grand slam winning all the best actress awards from several local award giving bodies. In 2003, Vilma received another international recognition, this time from Cinemanila International Film Festival winning the Best Actress for Dekada 70. The film was screen in the international film festival circuit and was the official entry of the Philippines in the 76th Academy Awards (OSCAR) for the best foreign language film category…” – RV (READ MORE)

Dekada 70 (2002) – “…Santos’ Amanda effortlessly and movingly chronicles the changed consciousness of the family and the country, with understatement her most reliable tool. Pic begins and ends with images of Santos at the forefront of a political demonstration, and nothing, from first image to last, for 128 minutes, is allowed to spontaneously or slyly deviate from the logic of her consciousness-raising…” – Ronnie Scheib, Variety Magazine (READ MORE)

“……Two Filipino films will have their world premiere in international film festival this year. Chito Rono’s “Dekada ’70” will be featured at the Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFf) this month, according to the filmmaker himself. Maryo J. de los Reyes’ “Magnifico” will be showcased at the Montreal World Film Festival in August, according to production designer and line producer Tatus Aldana…”Dekada ’70” is the story of a family caught in the middle of the tumultous Seventies. At the 26th Gawad Urian awards last May 17, it tied with Gil Portes’ “Mga Munting Tinig” for best picture. It earlier won the best picture award, too, from the Star Awards. “Dekada ’70” also won for Piolo Pascaula all the best supporting actor awards from the award-giving bodies. The grand slam put him in the same league as “Dekada” costar Vilma Santos, who swept all the best actress awards in 1982 for her performance in “Relasyon,” and Sharon Cuneta, who achieved the same feat in 1996 for Madrasta…” – Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 2, 2003 (READ MORE)

13th Dhaka International Film Festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh (Jan 10-18, 2014)

13th Dhaka International Film Festival Best Actress – Vilma Santos “…The jury this year also failed to select the best film out of 23 entries of the main competition section of the 13th Dhaka International Film Festival that ended in the National Museum auditorium on Saturday. Like the previous edition held in 2012, the organisers remained satisfied giving awards in rest of the five categories of the Australasian competition. The jury composed of three foreigners and two Bangladeshis selected the Iranian filmmaker Parviz Shahbazi as the best director for his film Trapped. The Iranian actor Levon Hafevan and the Philippino actor Vilma Santos won the best actor and best actress awards for their performances in Parviz and Ekstra. Hiroyuki Tanaka won the best screenplay writer award for the Japanese film Miss Zombie while Geoffrey Simpson got the best cinematographer award for the Australian entry Satellite Boy…” – Ershad Kamol (READ MORE)

“…The unshakable optimism of a middle-aged extra is the warm heart driving “The Bit Player,” an appealing dramedy that pokes plenty of good-natured fun at TV soap operas. Anchored by a glowing central performance by Filipino screen queen Vilma Santos as the single mother who smiles her way through work-related indignities in order to pay for her daughter’s education, the pic reps a fine feather in the cap of veteran helmer Jeffrey Jeturian. Winner of the audience award for best film in its category at Cinemalaya and a hit in domestic release in August, this crowdpleaser launches on limited North American screens on Sept. 13…Constant chuckles and a fair supply of big belly laughs are the order of the day as Loida, Venus and a lovable collection of fellow nameless wannabees are herded like cattle by Josie, acid-tongued assistant director Vincent (Vincent de Jesus, hilarious) and the super-stressed-out director (Marlon Rivera) of “You Were Mine First.” As expected, much of the fun derives from scenes being shot for the wildly melodramatic “You Were Mine First.” To that end, Jeturian gets great value from guest appearances by a host of big-name local stars including hunky matinee idol Piolo Pascual as troubled groom-in-waiting Brando, Pilar Pilapil as severe matriarch Dona Esmerelda and a wonderfully over-the-top Cherie Gil as gun-toting super-bitch Dona Beatriz. For all the merriment on display, the screenplay never loses sight of the economic and emotional imperatives propelling Loida’s uncomplaining acceptance of her place at the bottom of the entertainment-industry food chain. It’s no surprise when Loida finally gets a chance to make a mark with big speaking role in “You Were Mine First,” but the manner in which this plays out is surprising and genuinely touching…” – Richard Kuipers, Variety Magazine, 11 Sep 2013 (READ MORE)

“…I am aware of the Filipino culture and their language which could be one of the reasons why I happened to be amused by Jeffrey Jeturian’s “EKSTRA (The Bit Player)” when I caught it at the 6th Bengaluru Film Festival. But, that is not entirely the reason why the movie works big time! The prime reasons in that order would be…Vilma Santos, a sensational performer. She lives the character of an extra artiste in television soaps. Flawless, compelling and award-worthy, is her turn…To sum it up, Ekstra – The Bit Player is a poignant film which is certainly worth your time…” – Tusshar Sasi, Romancing Cinema, 27 Dec 2013 (READ MORE)

“…Ekstra, which means bit player is a tribute to the nameless characters in Philippines cinemas who are paid a measly sum per day, and less often than not, graduates with “supporting” roles. Dhaka’s is Vilma’s third international Best Actress award. She first won at the Brussels International Film Festival with ‘Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?’, followed by her popular film, Dekada ’70 at the Manila-based CineManila International Film festival. This year’s DIFF is the 13th edition of the annual festival held at the National Museum Auditorium in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Six of the twenty awards (including Best Director and Best Actor) went to the entry from Iran. There was no Best Picture winner since, according to the jurors as quoted in the Dhaka Tribune story, “no film stood out…” – Ely’s Planet, January 21, 2014 (READ MORE)

Related Reading:

Top 100 Vilma Santos Films

Spanning five decades with 197 films credits and almost two hundred awards, Vilma Santos’ filmography is a kaleidoscope picture of changes in times. Different genres, from teen musicals, folksy fantasies, campy horrors, animated actions to mature adult dramas, her films demonstrated her inner acting talents honed by directors, maneuvered by film producers/benefactors (who some are no longer with us) and supported by her ever loyal fanatics. The results were a long list of film titles that covered several social relevance that capture each decades. A long list of record-breaking box office returns that gave her the title, “the longest reigning box office queen of all time.” A long list of films that sustained her career to different transformation, ensuring her longevity no other Filipino movie queen ever enjoyed. We have painstakingly choose the best of the best. Basing our selection with three criteria. First, the financial success of the film. Cliche it maybe, financial success sustained her bankability and longevity. Second is the critical recognitions the film received. Third, is the other factors that contribute to the overall success of the film, namely, relevance, entertainment value, and the question of, is this film a career milestone or is this film contributed to her popularity. Here are Vilma Santos’ top 100 films.

Total score consists of (A) 10 points for box office records, (B) 10 points for critics recognitions, (C) 10 relevance/longevity, (D) “other factors” that contribute to overall success, gives us total score of 30 points.

RANK, MOVIE TITLE, YR, DIRECTOR’S NAME, SCORE = (A) + (B) + (C) + (D)

RANK FILM (YEAR) SCORE
01. Burlesk Queen (1977) 30.90
02. Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa? (1998) 28.90
03. Dekada’70 (2002) 28.80
04. The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993) 28.70
05. Ikaw ay Akin (1978) 28.60
06. Rubia Servios (1978) 28.50
07. Relasyon (1982) 27.90
08. Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (1989) 27.80
09. Broken Marriage (1983) 27.70
10. Lipad, Darna, Lipad (1973) 27.60
…LINK

11. Imortal (1989) 26.90
12. Anak (2000) 26.80
13. Tagos ng Dugo (1987) 26.70
14. Adultery (1984) 26.60
15. Pagputi ng Uwak Pag-itim ng Tagak (1978) 25.90
16. Trudis Liit (1963) 25.80
17. Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? (1982) 25.70
18. Paano Ba ang Mangarap? (1983) 25.60
19. Sinasamba Kita (1982) 25.50
20. Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw (1975) 25.40
…LINK

21. In My Life (2009) 24.90
22. Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig? (1987) 24.80
23. Ipagpatawad Mo (1991) 24.70
24. Mano Po 3 My Love (2004) 24.60
25. Pakawalan Mo Ako (1981) 24.50
26. Karma (1981) 24.40
27. Hahamakin Lahat (1990) 24.30
28. Sinungaling Mong Puso (1992) 24.20
29. Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon (1977) 24.10
30. Ex-Wife (1981) 24.09
…LINK

31. D’ Lucky Ones (2006) 24.08
32. Dyesebel atang Mahiwagang Kabibe (1973) 24.07
33. Sister Stella L. (1984) 23.90
34. Kapag Langit Ang Humatol (1990) 23.80
35. Miss X (1980) 23.70
36. Ikaw Lang (1993) 23.60
37. Bato sa Buhangin (1976) 23.50
38. Nakakahiya? (1975) 23.40
39. Hindi Nakakahiya (1976) 23.30
40. Batya’t Palu-Palo (1974) 23.20
…LINK

41. Haplos (1982) 22.90
42. Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos (1988) 22.80
43. Pinay, American Style (1979) 22.70
44. Langis at Tubig (1980) 22.60
45. Palimos Ng Pag-ibig (1986) 22.50
46. Muling Buksan ang Puso (1985) 22.40
47. Kampanerang Kuba (1974) 22.30
48. Darna and the Giants (1973) 22.20
49. Dama De Noche (1972) 21.95
50. Hatinggabi Na, Vilma (1972) 21.90
…LINK

51. T-Bird at Ako (1982) 21.80
52. Alyas Baby Tsina (1984) 21.70
53. Halik sa Kamay, Halik sa Paa (1979) 21.60
54. Minsan pang Nakaraan (1983) 21.50
55. Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig (1977) 21.40
56. Hindi Nahahati ang Langit (1966) 21.30
57. Susan Kelly, Edad 20 (1977) 21.20
58. Hiwalay (1981) 21.10
59. Rock, Baby, Rock (1979) 21.09
60. Mga Mata Ni Angelita (1978) 21.08
…LINK

61. Bertang Kerengkeng (1976) 21.07
62. Ibong Lukaret (1975) 21.06
63. Vilma Viente Nueve (1975) 21.05
64. Takbo, Vilma, Dali (1972) 21.04
65. Nag-iisang Bituin (1994) 20.90
66. Karugtong ang Kahapon (1975) 20.80
67. Ging (1964) 20.70
68. Anak, ang Iyong Ina (1963) 20.60
69. Kay Tagal ng Umaga (1965) 20.50
70. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1986) 20.40
…LINK

71. Magkaribal (1979) 20.30
72. Anak ng Aswang (1973) 20.20
73. Simula ng Walang Katapusan (1978) 20.10
74. Promo Girl (1978) 20.09
75. Biktima (1974) 20.08
76. Good Morning, Sunshine (1980) 20.07
77. Kasalanan Kaya? (1968) 19.90
78. Mga Rosas sa Putikan (1976) 19.80
79. Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali (1978) 19.70
80. Modelong Tanso (1979) 19.60
…LINK

81. Darna at Ding (1980) 19.50
82. Mga Reynang Walang Trono (1976) 19.40
83. Nag-aapoy na Damdamin (1976) 19.30
84. Pulot-gata, Pwede Kaya? (1977) 19.20
85. Kamay na Gumagapang (1974) 19.10
86. Young Love (1970) 19.09
87. Ito ang Pilipino (1967) 18.90
88. Ikaw Lamang (1971) 18.80
89. Kampus (1978) 18.70
90. Coed (1979) 18.60
LINK

91. The Sensations (1971) 18.50
92. Never Ever Say Goodbye (1982) 17.90
93. Asawa ko, Huwag Mong Agawin (1986) 17.80
94. Ayaw Kong Maging Kerida (1983) 17.70
95. Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas (1987) 17.60
96. Gusto Ko Siya, Mahal Kita (1980) 17.50
97. Amorseko (1978) 17.40
98. Pag-ibig ko sa iyo lang Ibibigay (1978) 17.30
99. Tatlong Mukha ni Rosa Vilma (1972) 17.20
100. Pinagbuklod ng Pag-ibig (1978) 17.10
…LINK

Criteria: Box Office Records, Critics Recognitions, Other Factors(Relevance, Longevity, Entertainment Impact)

Top 100 Vilma Santos Films (part ten)

Spanning five decades with 197 films credits and almost two hundred awards, Vilma Santos’ filmography is a kaleidoscope picture of changes in times. Different genres, from teen musicals, folksy fantasies, campy horrors, animated actions to mature adult dramas, her films demonstrated her inner acting talents honed by directors, maneuvered by film producers/benefactors (who some are no longer with us) and supported by her ever loyal fanatics. The results were a long list of film titles that covered several social relevance that capture each decades. A long list of record-breaking box office returns that gave her the title, “the longest reigning box office queen of all time.” A long list of films that sustained her career to different transformation, ensuring her longevity no other Filipino movie queen ever enjoyed. We have painstakingly choose the best of the best. Basing our selection with three criteria. First, the financial success of the film. Cliche it maybe, financial success sustained her bankability and longevity. Second is the critical recognitions the film received. Third, is the other factors that contribute to the overall success of the film, namely, relevance, entertainment value, and the question of, is this film a career milestone or is this film contributed to her popularity. Here are Vilma Santos’ top 100 films.

Total score consists of (A) 10 points for box office records, (B) 10 points for critics recognitions, (C) 10 relevance/longevity, (D) “other factors” that contribute to overall success, gives us total score of 30 points.

RANK, MOVIE TITLE, YR, DIRECTOR’S NAME, SCORE = (A) + (B) + (C) + (D)

10.  Lipad, Darna, Lipad 1973
SCORE: 7(A) + 10(B) + 10(C) + 0.6(D) = 27.6(T)
Directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Elwood Perez and Joey Gosiengfiao, co-starring: Gloria Romero, Celia Rodriguez, Liza Lorena, Marissa Delgado, Angie Ferro, Mary Walter,  Adul de Leon, Chanda Romero, Eddie Garcia, Ernie Garcia, Dick Israel, Ruel Vernal, Angelito, Cloyd Robinson. Based on the novel of Mars Ravelo.  Top Record-Breaking Box-office Film of 1973.   The first of four Darna films starring Vilma Santos. – MORE INFO (no available video)

9.  Broken Marriage 1983
SCORE: 10(A) + 7(B) + 10(C) + 0.7(D) = 27.7(T)
Directed by Ishmael Bernal, co-starring: Christopher De Leon,  Tessie Tomas, Harlene Bautista,  Orestes Ojeda, Lito Pimentel, Richard Arellano, Cesar Montano, Len Santos, Ray Ventura. Vilma received her second Gawad Urian Best Actress and a FAMAS nomination for best actress. – MORE INFO

8.  Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga 1989
SCORE: 10(A) + 7(B) + 10(C) + 0.8(D) = 27.8(T)
Directed by Ishmael Bernal, co-starring:  Gabby Concepcion, Eric Quizon, Billy Crawford, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Olivia Cenizal, Tita Muñoz, Dexter Doria, Vicky Suba, Gina Perez, Alma Lerma, Becky Misa, Gil de Leon, Subas Herrero, Cris Vertido, Toby Alejar.  Written by Jose Javier Reyes.  Vilma Santos received her first best actress from the PMPC Star Awards as well as the Gawad Urian.  She also received nomination from FAP. – MORE INFO

7.  Relasyon 1982
SCORE: 10(A) + 7(B) + 10(C) + 0.9(D) = 27.9(T)
Directed by Ishmael Bernal, co-starring: Christopher De Leon, Jimi Melendez, Lucy Quinto, Beth Mondragon, Olive Madridejos,  Ernie Zarate, Manny Castañeda, Bing Fabregas, Augusto Victa.  The very first “Grand Slam” for Best Actress in Philippine.  Vilma won all the Philippines’ best actress awards of 1982.   She received recognitions from Gawad URIAN, FAP, CMMA, FAMAS. – MORE INFO

6.  Rubia Servios 1978
SCORE: 10(A) + 10(B) + 8(C) + 0.5(D) = 28.5(T)
Directed by Lino Brocka, co-starring: Phillip Salvador, Mat Ranillo III.  Vilma received a nominationf for best performer in the 1978 Metro Manila Film Festival.  The film was the top revenue grosser.  – MORE INFO

5.  Ikaw ay Akin 1978
SCORE: 10(A) + 8(B) + 10(C) + 0.6(D) = 28.6(T)
Directed by Ishmael Bernal,  co-starring: Christopher De Leon, Nora Aunor, Ellen Esguerra, Odette Khan, Charmie Benavidez, Sandy Andolong, Nick Romano, Zandro Zamora, Ernie Zarate, Cris Vertido, Anton Juan.  Vilma received a Gawad URIAN Nomination for Best Actress. – MORE INFO

4.  Dahil Mahal Kita, The Dolzura Cortez Story 1993
SCORE: 10(A) + 8(B) + 10(C) + 0.7(D) = 28.7(T)
Directed by Laurice Guillen, co-starring:  Christopher De Leon, Charito Solis, Jackie Aquino, Maila Gumila, Mia Gutierrez, Eula Valdez,   Noni Buencamino, Gil Portes.  Vilma Santos won the Film Academy of the Philippines’ Best Actress.  She also won Gawad Urian, PMPC STAR, Metro Manila Film Festival and FAMAS Circle of Excellence. – MORE INFO

(no available video)

3.  Dekada’70 2002
SCORE: 10(A) + 8(B) + 10(C) + 0.8(D) = 28.8(T)
Directed by Chito S. Roño, co-starring: Christopher De Leon, Piolo Pascual, Marvin Agustin, Carlos Agassi, Danilo Barrios, Kris Aquino, Ana Capri, Dimples Romana, Marianne de la Riva, Tirso Cruz III, Orestes Ojeda, John Wayne Sace.  Written by Lualhati Bautista.  Vilma Santos won the 2003 Cinemanila International Film Festival Best Actress.  She also won the best actress from FAP, Gawad URIAN, PMPC Star and YCC Best Performer.  The film was the Philippines’ official entry at the 76th Academy Awards best foreign language film.  –  MORE INFO

2.  Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa? 1998
SCORE: 10(A) + 8(B)+ 10(C) + 0.9(D) = 28.9(T) Directed by Chito S. Roño, co-starring: Albert Martinez, Carlo Aquino, Raymond Bagatsing, Ariel Rivera, Serena Dalrymple, Angel Aquino, Cherry Pie Picache, Rosemarie Gil, Dexter Doria.  Written by Lualhati Bautista.  Vilma won the 1999 Brussels International Festival of Independent Films Best Actress.  She also won the best actress from FAP, Gawad Urian, PMPC Star and the Young Critics Circle Best Performer. – MORE INFO

1.  Burlesk Queen 1977
SCORE: 10(A) + 10(B) + 10(C) + 0.9(D) = 30.9(T)
Directed by Celso Ad. Castillo, co-starring:  Rolly Quizon, Leopoldo Salcedo, Rosemarie Gil, Dexter Doria, Yolanda Luna, Rio Locsin, Roldan Aquino, Chito Ponce Enrile, Joonee Gamboa.  Vilma Santos won the 1977 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actress.  She also received best actress nominations from FAMAS and Gawad Urian.   The film was the Festival’s top box office grosser.  –  MORE INFO

RECAP:
10. Lipad, Darna, Lipad 1973
9. Broken Marriage 1983
8. Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga 1989
7. Relasyon 1982
6. Rubia Servios 1978
5. Ikaw ay Akin 1978
4. Dahil Mahal Kita, The Dolzura Cortez Story 1993
3. Dekada’70 2002
2. Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa? 1998
1. Burlesk Queen 1977

…for the complete list, CLICK HERE

Top 100 Vilma Santos Films (part three)

Spanning five decades with 197 films credits and almost two hundred awards, Vilma Santos’ filmography is a kaleidoscope picture of changes in times. Different genres, from teen musicals, folksy fantasies, campy horrors, animated actions to mature adult dramas, her films demonstrated her inner acting talents honed by directors, maneuvered by film producers/benefactors (who some are no longer with us) and supported by her ever loyal fanatics. The results were a long list of film titles that covered several social relevance that capture each decades. A long list of record-breaking box office returns that gave her the title, “the longest reigning box office queen of all time.” A long list of films that sustained her career to different transformation, ensuring her longevity no other Filipino movie queen ever enjoyed. We have painstakingly choose the best of the best. Basing our selection with three criteria. First, the financial success of the film. Cliche it maybe, financial success sustained her bankability and longevity. Second is the critical recognitions the film received. Third, is the other factors that contribute to the overall success of the film, namely, relevance, entertainment value, and the question of, is this film a career milestone or is this film contributed to her popularity. Here are Vilma Santos’ top 100 films.

Total score consists of (A) 10 points for box office records, (B) 10 points for critics recognitions, (C) 10 relevance/longevity, (D) “other factors” that contribute to overall success, gives us total score of 30 points.

RANK, MOVIE TITLE, YR, DIRECTOR’S NAME, SCORE = (A) + (B) + (C) + (D)

80.  Modelong Tanso 1979
SCORE: 3(A) + 10(B) + 6(C) + 0.6(D) = 19.6(T)
Directed by Cirio H. Santiago, co-starring: Charito Solis, Winnie Santos. Entry to 1979 Metro Manila Film Festival – MORE INFO

79.  Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali 1978
SCORE: 6(A) + 7(B) + 6(C) + 0.7(D) = 19.7(T)
Directed by Elwood Perez, co-starring: Baby Delgado, Anita LindaChristopher De Leon, Roel Vergel de Dios, Freddie Yance, Romeo Rivera – MORE INFO (no available video)

78.  Mga Rosas sa Putikan 1976
SCORE: 6(A) + 7(B) + 6(C) + 0.8(D) = 19.8(T)
Directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza, co-starring: Celia Rodriguez, Babara Luna, Trixia Gomez, Merle Fernandez, Monica Morena, Romeo Enriquez, Arnold Gamboa, Sandy Garcia, Ike Lozada. Vilma sings the film theme song! – MORE INFO

77.  Kasalanan Kaya? 1968
SCORE: 6(A) + 8(B) + 5(C) + 0.9(D) = 19.9(T)
Directed by Luis Enriquez, co-starring: Lolita Rodriguez, Marlene Dauden and Eddie Rodriguez with Roderick Paulate. Vilma received acting nomination for best supporting actress in 1968 FAMAS. – MORE INFO (no available video)

76.  Good Morning, Sunshine 1980
SCORE: 6(A) + 7(B) + 7(C) + 0.07(D) = 20.07(T)
Directed by Ishmael Bernal, co-starring: Sheryl Cruz, Debraliz, Anita Linda, Liza LorenaJunior, Lloyd Samartino – MORE INFO

75.  Biktima 1974
SCORE: 5(A) + 10(B) + 5(C) + 0.08(D) = 20.08(T)
Directed by Nilo Saez, co-starring: Helen Gamboa, Celia Rodriguez, Perla Bautista, Cristina Reyes, Divina Valencia Leopoldo Salcedo, Bert Leroy Jr., Tony Santos Jr., Yoyoy Villame, Tommy Abuel, Edgar Mortiz, Ike Lozada, German Moreno – MORE INFO

74.  Promo Girl 1978
SCORE: 6(A) + 8(B) + 6(C) + 0.09(D) = 20.09(T)
Directed by Joey Gosiengfiao, co-starring: Ricky Belmonte, Roel vergel De Dios, Eddie Gutierrez, Bembol Rocco – MORE INFO (no available video)

73.  Simula ng Walang Katapusan 1978
SCORE: 6(A) + 8(B) + 6(C) + 0.1(D) = 20.1(T)
Directed by Luis Enriquez, co-starring: Eddie Rodriguez, Carmen Soriano, Patria Plata, Ingrid Salas, Rio Locsin, Lito Anzures, Renato Robles, Nello Nayo, Ruben Rustia – MORE INFO (no available video)

72.  Anak ng Aswang 1973
SCORE: 4(A) + 10(B) + 6(C) + 0.2(D) = 20.2(T)
Directed by Romy Susara cp-starring: Gloria Romero, Daisy Romualdez, Rosanna Marquez, Lucita Soriano, Lita RodriguezEdgar Mortiz, Nick Romano, Leopoldo Salcedo, German Moreno, Pons De Guzman – MORE INFO (no available video)

71.  Magkaribal 1979
SCORE: 6(A) + 8(B) + 6(C) + 0.3(D) = 20.3(T)
Directed by Elwood Perez, co-starring: Alma Moreno, Christopher De Leon – MORE INFO

RECAP:
80. Modelong Tanso 1979
79. Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali 1978
78. Mga Rosas sa Putikan 1976
77. Kasalanan Kaya? 1968
76. Good Morning, Sunshine 1980
75. Biktima 1974
74. Promo Girl 1978
73. Simula ng Walang Katapusan 1978
72. Anak ng Aswang 1973
72. Magkaribal 1979

…continue with countdown, CLICK HERE!