Winners all. In photo, (from left), Jose Ramon del Prado (Best Animated Short Film for Si Pagong at si Matsing), Raul Morit (Best Actor Ensemble for Ang mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro), Nonie Buencamino(Best Actor Ensemble for Ang mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro), Dwight Gaston(Best Actor Ensemble for Ang mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro), Sigfried Barros Sanchez (Best Director for Ang mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro), Ronnie Lazaro (Best Actor Ensemble for Ang mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro), Epy Quizon (Best Actor Ensemble for Ang mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro), Ed Lejano (Director for Qwerty, Grand Jury Prize). Seated from left, Mai Saporsantos (Best Animated Short Film for Si Pagong at si Matsing), Sue Prado (Best Actress for In Bangka Ha Ut Sin Duwa Sapah), Mc Robert Nacario (Best Artistic Contribution for Qiyamah).
Cierlito Espejo Tabay (Best Documentary for Walay Tumo’y ng Punterya)

The Grand Jury prize win of the film, Ang Mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro, capped the awards night of the first Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival in Davao last July 1 at the Abreeza Mall in Davao City.

Ang Mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro is a film about a ragtag of frustrated indie filmmakers that resorted to and orchestrated the kidnapping of “the most famous Filipino indie film actor” –Ronnie Lazaro.  The ensemble, composed of Ronnie Lazaro, Nonnie Buencamino, Epy Quizon, Dwight Gaston, Soliman Cruz, Hector Macaso, Raul Morit and Mon Lee, garnered the Best Actor award.  The film script was penned and directed by Sigfried Barros Sanchez.

Sanchez is an Urian nominated independent filmmaker, screenwriter, TV and advertising director, actor, and an awarded music video director.  He took up a bachelor’s course in Political Science student at the University of the East in Recto but eventually dropped out of school to pursue his passion in filmmaking.  To work on his craft, he joined the 11th Ricky Lee Scriptwriting Workshop, the 10th Cinema-As-Art Filmmaking Workshop at the UP Film Institute, the Marilou Diaz Abaya Filipino Feature Filmmaking Workshop in Ateneo, and the Negros Summer Workshop with Peque Gallaga at the De La Salle-Bacolod.

As an independent filmmaker, he has directed three indie films such as “Lasponggols” for the 1st Cinemalaya Film Festival, “Ang Anak ni Brocka” for the first Cinema One Originals and “Tsardyer” for 2010’s Cinema One Originals.  His last film has earned him six nominations from the 37th Gawad Urian namely for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Musical Score, and Best Supporting Actor.

In 2007, the University of the East in Recto gave Sanchez a special award for his exceptional contribution to the performing and visual arts.

The quirky Sanchez, who dedicated his latest triumph to fellow Filipino indie film makers, was more euphoric over his film’s screening schedules:  “Way before the awards night, we already felt like winners when it was relayed to us that the Spiderman movie got bumped off from two theaters at the Abreeza Mall venues just to accommodate the public clamor for our film.  With that, we felt have triumphed over Hollywood at their game,” enthuses Sanchez.  “We are now looking forward to have film shown in Metro Manila theaters, curious of the audience reception here.”

Another feature film entry, In Banka Ha Ut Sin Duwa Sapah, was co-directed by Sanchez with Fyrsed Alsad Alfad III.  Its lead actor, Sue Prado, won as Best Actress.

Rounding-off the roster of winners were:  Ramon del Prado and Ayene Pineda, Best Animated Short for Si Pagong at si Matsing; Mc.Robert Nacario, Best Cinematography for Qiyamah; and Cierlito Tabay, Best Documentary for Wala’y Tumoy  na Punterya.  The Jury prize went to Eduardo Lejano Jr. for Qwerty and Guttierez Mangansakan II for Qiyamah.

The Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival is a joint undertaking of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and the city of government of Davao under Mayor Sara Duterte.  Sineng Pambansa is the flagship program of the FDCP featuring full-length features, documentaries and animation shorts from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.  Seventeen film finalists were screened during the festival at the malls in Davao from June 29 to July.

Deserving film projects were given seed money and competed under the full-length feature, documentary, and animated short film categories.  Through this film fest, FDCP aims to encourage creativity of filmmakers, showcase the country’s indigenous cultural heritage through film and expose the new generation of Filipino filmmakers to a wider audience.  The festival entries are unique with use of the local languages in their dialogue or narration.

The jury was composed of international film authorities: Paolo Bertolin ofVenice Film Festival adviser; Kim Je Seok of the Busan International Film Festival; Dr. Rolando Tolentino, Dean of the UP College of Mass Communication; and Sabrina Baracetti of Udine Asian Film Festival. For the documentary section, the jury was composed of Christian Merer of the French Embassy in Manila and documentary filmmaker Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala.

The film festival’s Ikalawang Yugto (Second Chapter) will be held this November in Davao City.  The Manila premiere of Ang Mga Kidnapper in Ronnie Lazaro is scheduled on July 26 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  In Bangka Ha Ut Sin Diwa Supah and Ang Mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro will be screened on August 4 at the UP Film Center in Diliman.

This article was published at Manila Standard Today on July 22.  For more posts, please go to carlassocialrealism.wordpress.com.

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