Philippines bags multiple awards in the 19th Asian Film Fest


THE PHILIPPINES came out of the 19th Asian Film Festival with a slew of awards. Film director Brillante Mendoza received a lifetime achievement award, actors Vince Rillon and Christian Bables were jointly named Best Actor, while Erik Matti’s On the Job: The Missing 8 bagged the award for Best Film at the festival awarding ceremony held on April 12 in Rome, Italy.

Mr. Mendoza received the Lifetime Achievement Award, conferred by the Roma Lazio Film Commission.

“Our congratulations to our dear direk Brillante,” Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairperson and CEO Mary Liza Diño-Seguerra said in a statement. “The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asian Film Festival, a prestigious international film festival known for showcasing auteur cinema from Southeast Asian countries, is a significant achievement not just for direk Brillante Mendoza as a filmmaker, but also for the Philippine Cinema. His valuable contributions through his films have helped the Philippines gain traction in the international scene.”

Mr. Mendoza has directed award-winning films including Kinatay (2009), Lola (2009), Captive (2012), and Ma’ Rosa (2016) which received international accolades and were nominated in film festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, Venice International Film Festival, and Berlin International Film Festival.

His films Resbak and Gensan Punch are both included in this year’s Asian Film Festival.

Vince Rillon won the Best Actor award for his work in Resbak. In the film, Mr. Rillion plays a young thief avenging himself against a crime syndicate.

In its official Facebook page, the Asian Film Festival’s award citation reads: “Vince Rillon has managed to play the difficult role of a boy who has to survive in an environment dominated by violence, corruption, and continuous prevarication.”

Sharing the award for Best Actor with Mr. Rillon is Christian Bables for his work in Jun Robles Lana’s film, Big Night!

The award citation reads: “Christian Bables has been extraordinary in interpreting the character of Dharna, a gay beautician whose name is mistakenly included in the checklist in the war on drugs. Dharna will have to prove his innocence in the flash of a night. Mr. Bables, who with his comic interpretation even when the situation is dramatic, makes the character lovable in the eyes of the beholder, for his sensitivity and desire for justice towards people oppressed.”

Mr. Bables previously won Best Actor at the 2021 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) for the same film, which also won Best Picture at the MMFF.

In his acceptance speech on video, Mr. Bables restated what he expressed during his MMFF acceptance speech, “I may find it hard to express my thoughts and opinions through words. But please, let me fight for you, and with you through my art.”

Meanwhile, Erik Matti’s On the Job: The Missing 8 bagged the award for Best Film.

“I am just happy that the film gets to be seen all over the world, little by little, with all these festivals picking it up and showing it in their own cities, in their own regions, and in their own territories,” Mr. Matti said in his acceptance speech on video. Earlier, actor John Arcilla won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 78th Venice International Film Festival for his work in On the Job: The Missing 8.

The 19th Asian Film Festival was held from April 7 to 13 at the Farnese Arthouse in Rome. It showcased 30 feature films from China, South Korea, the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Daniel Palacio’s The Brokers also participated in the film festival. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman