PHL Talents Shine in ASEAN Film Festival

02 April 2013—Filipino film talents proved once again that they are world-class in their chosen field as they reaped honors during the first ASEAN International Film Festival and Awards (AIFFA 2013) in Kuching, Sarawak from March 28 to 30 2013.

During the awards night held at the Borneo Convention Center and attended by prominent ASEAN film personalities on March 30, Filipino actors Alessandra de Rossi, Anita Linda and Bugoy Carino took home the Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor awards, respectively. Movie Sta. Niña garnered the Best Picture-Drama honors.

Misses De Rossi and Linda were honored for their performance in Emmanuel Quindo Palo's Sta. Niña, while Mr. Carino took home the prize for the Ian Dean Loreños'-directed Alagwa.

The Philippines tied with Malaysia with most awards garnered with four, Indonesia bagged three awards, while Singapore garnered one award. Other countries which participated in the AIFFA 2013 were Hong Kong, Brunei, Laos and Myanmar.

Malaysian director U-wei Haji Saari was also given a Special Honour award, while Malaysian-born Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh was bestowed the AIFFA Lifetime Achievement Award.

"Once again, Filipino artistry in film shone brightly in this festival. With these honors, we have uplifted the profile of the Filipino community here in Malaysia and in the entire ASEAN. I extend to them my warmest congratulations," Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya said.

"Here in Malaysia, the Philippines and Filipino actors are well-admired because of their talent and charisma. Malaysian channels have bought rights to and screen Filipino soap operas here, which are actively watched and enjoyed by audiences here. In fact, some Filipino actors enjoy a huge following in this country," the Ambassador added.

Eleven Filipino feature films joined over 100 films made by ASEAN artists in the the maiden edition of the film festival, including Tyrone Acierto's The Grave Bandits, Whammy Alcazaren's Colossal, Lawrence Fajardo's Posas, Marie Jamora's Ang Nawawala, Gutierrez Mangansakan II's Qiyamah, Vincent Sandoval's Aparisyon, Richard Somes' Supremo and Paul Sta. Ana's Oros.

A student's short film, Juan Paulo Reyes' "Ode to Home," was also screened.

A 25-member Philippine delegation was present during the film festival, led by cinematographer Rain Yamson II as head of delegation. Other notable Filipino personalities who attended were popular Filipino actors Ricky Davao, who was member of the five-man jury, and Jericho Rosales, who was also nominated for Best Actor honors for his role in Alagwa.

Filipinos also played vital roles during the awards ceremonies, with actors Alfred Vargas and Dominic Roco presenting the awards and Miss Saigon star Ima Castro performing in one of the intermission numbers.

Embassy Cultural Attaché Helen Grace Cuisia and Filipino community leaders Justin Yntig Bersales Jr. and Audry Wan Ullok-Bersales were present during the awards ceremonies.

The AIFFA 2013 aims to draw attention to and raise the profile of ASEAN films. The festival hopes to contribute towards the development of films within ASEAN, providing an avenue for its filmmakers to showcase their work to a global audience and most importantly, have these films recognised on an international scale.

It was endorsed by the Sarawak Tourism Ministry and fully supported by the Malaysian Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry's ASEAN-Malaysia National Secretariat and the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia. END