“Sunday Beauty Queen,” a documentary film that shows Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong finding fulfillment in beauty pageants, was named Best Picture at the 42nd Metro Manila Film Festival held at the Kia Theater in Cubao, Quezon City last Thursday night.
The film, which was also the first documentary movie that competed in the annual film festival, also won the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award and Best Editing.
It also received the Kids Choice special award along with other films “Saving Sally,” and “Vince and Kath and James.”
But it was the critically acclaimed horror film “Seklusyon” which won the biggest number of trophies – nine in all – special jury prize, best supporting actress, best director, best screenplay, best cinematography, best production design, best original theme song, best sound, and best original theme song.
The Nora Aunor-starrer “Kabisera” was nearly shut out in almost all of the categories and only received nominations in best actress, special jury prize, and best picture.
Paolo Ballesteros, who plays the role of a transgender woman, won Best Actor, beating out Joem Bascon for “Oro,” Kean Cipriano for “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2,” and Joshua Garcia, “Vince and Kath and James.”
Ballesteros, who earlier won Best Actor accolade at the Tokyo International Film Festival, could not make it to the awards night because he was sick.
Irma Aldlawan, who plays the role of the kapitana in a gold mining community in “Oro,” was named Best Actress. She edged out Aunor, Eugene Domingo (“Septic Tank”), and Rhed Bustamante (“Seklusyon”) for the award.
Reports said that the role of Adlawan in “Oro” was originally intended for Aunor who has reportedly shot some scenes for the movie. But for unknown reasons, Adlawan replaced the multi-awarded actress.
“Oro” also won Best Ensemble and FPJ Memorial Award for Excellence.
Christian Bables, who plays the best friend of Ballesteros in “Die Beautiful,” was emotional as he received his first acting trophy for Best Supporting Actor in his debut film.
“Mama, sa wakas nagbungga na rin ang katigasan ng ulo ko,” he said as Bables offered his trophy to his mother.
Phoebe Walker, who plays the role of a mysterious nun in “Seklusyon,” received the Best Supporting Actress trophy.
“Saving Sally,” a live-action animated film, won Best Musical Score.
Eight entries competed in this year’s film festival.
Change has come
Observers said change has really come at the annual film festival.
They said that the annual film festival lacked star power, even the performers who danced and sang on stage. “I’ve never heard of these singers and dancers but they are talented.”
The only popular stars at the awards night were Aunor, Kian Cipriano, Rhian Ramos, John Lloyd Cruz, Ricky Davao, Aiza Seguerra, Gladys Reyes, and Regine Tolentino. (ROBERT R. REQUINTINA • MEL CAPARAS)