Belle Kay Loyola‘s short film Dalit (Poison) topped the open category of the inaugural Sine Negrense: Negros Island Film Festival awards night held at SM City Bacolod Cinema 4 last November 29. Dalit, which tells the story of a man who has healing abilities and how these affect his personal life, won Best Film, Best Director for Loyola, Best Production Design for Noel Armocillo, Jr., Best Actor for John Arceo and Best Supporting Actor for Louie Dormido.
Loyola’s thesis film at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Digital Filmmaking Program beat Adobo by Val Vestil, Alibungan by Matthew Piodena, Five Sorrowful Mysteries by Shannan Gonzales, Happy Birthday by Gkie Erebaren, Hawud by Paul Venzi Florendo, Kaasab by Vince Divinagracia and Handuraw by Gilbert Basilio. Vestil and Florendo are from Negros Oriental while Loyola and the other filmmakers are from Negros Occidental.
Alibungan took home the Jury’s Choice, Best Screenplay and Best Editing awards. Denli Chavez received the Best Actress trophy as Jane, a girl with a traumatic experience, in Happy Birthday while Kaasab bagged Best Musical Score and Best Supporting Actress for Kim Agnes. Five Sorrowful Mysteries won Best Cinematography while Hawud won Best Sound Design.
Loyola, who was inspired “by cultural and historical stories as well as Filipino beliefs” in making the film, wants to show how it is like to live in a place where people depend on faith and folk healers. “I feel so happy that I was given the chance to share my film to my very own hometown and to the people I (once) left behind while studying Filmmaking in DLS-CSB,” the recent BenildeFilm graduate said.
“It’s funny how this film was once just a concept on my mind and for the past months I have proven that it’s not about who you are as a person — it’s about the perseverance and positivity that you would apply on it and the rest will just flow,” Loyola added. She won 20,000 pesos for her victory while Piodena got 10,000 pesos for winning the Jury’s Choice Award.
Meanwhile, Singgit sang Nalisdan by Carlo Navarrete from Silay Institute won Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Actress for Lorince Gonzales in the Intercollegiate Category, which are for student works from schools within the region. Asu by Lorenzo Dilag from Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod got the Best Director and Jury’s Choice awards. Navarrete and Dilag brought home 10,000 and 5,000 pesos, respectively.
Kuebiko by Lourdes Antenor from University of St. La Salle bagged Best Production Design, Best Editing and Best Supporting Actor for Charles Ea. Kapit, helmed by Gemma Acaling from the Carlos Hilado Memorial State College of Talisay City, won Best Cinematography and Best Actor for Herbert Montero. Landong by Joaquin Angelo Alpas from CSA-B won Best Musical Score while Pangalap, directed by Jessie Soberano and Mark Labrador of the Department of Education Division of Sagay City, brought home the Best Sound Design prize.
The other student entries are Nene by Stephanie Marie Aliday, Bihag by Franklin Latriz, Hustisya Diin Ka? by Kathy Rose Magan and Hangkat sang Kapigaduhon” by Renz Osianas, also from CHMSC like Acaling, and Paglas-ay sang Kalamay by JJ Guilaran from USLS.
Award-winning filmmaker and master storyteller Peque Gallaga was honored with the first Sine Negrense Kadungganan sang Tingadlum (Honor for a Master) lifetime achievement award.
“Sine Negrense is a venue, a platform for local filmmakers to hone their craft. It’s a good way to promote local talent,” festival director Tanya Lopez said. The film festival hopes to bring out a new generation of filmmakers and enthusiasts, as well as cultivate an informed public on the importance of cinema and storytelling in terms of national identity, culture and heritage. Lopez got the able support of program director Adrian Torres and co-festival director Rodolfo Banjo Hinolan in organizing the event, with the help of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Negros Museum, Design Brewer and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
The film festival opened at the same SM cinema last November 27 with the screening of Gallaga’s Sonata, which was shot in Negros Occidental. A film forum, led by NCCA Committee on Cinema officers Patrick Campos, documentary filmmaker Babyruth Villarama and film critic Tito Valiente, was held at the House of Frida on the second day. SineNegrense entries and exhibition films directed by Erik Matti, Lawrence Fajardo, Borgy Torre, Manny Montelibano, Rosswil Hilario, among other Negros-born filmmakers, were also screened at the USLS and CSA-B campuses. The screenings continued at USLS and CHMSC Talisay Auditorium on the third day, culminating with the awards night, where a total of 31 awards were given.