Tres Mentiras (Three Lies), a social thriller directed by Spanish filmmaker Ana Murugarren, won the Grand Festival Prize in the Main Competition of the World Premieres Film Festival (WPFF) – Philippines 2015 while An Kubo sa Kawayanan, an ode to nature by award-winning writer-director Alvin Yapan, topped the Filipino New Cinema (FNC) category during the film festival’s awards night held at the SM Mall of Asia Center Stage.
Murugarren accepted the highest prize awarded in the film festival with producer Joaquin Trincado and dedicated the award to women who have suffered in Spain due to the issue of stolen children not so long ago. Tres Mentiras also won Best Performance by an Actress for Nora Navas, who plays a courageous woman in search of the truth about her birth.
Turkish filmmaker Burak Cem Arliel’s war epic Kirimli (Crimean) bagged the Grand Jury Prize and Best Performance by an Actor for Murat Yildirim, who essays the role of the leader of a group of Crimean Turks who were given an opportunity to liberate their homeland by fighting along their German captors against Russian enemy forces during World War II.
Other winners in the main category are Hsu Li-Da’s The End of Love from Taiwan, Special Jury Prize; Aleksandr Melnik’s Territoriya (The Territory) from Russia, Best Artistic Contribution for Cinematography; Remy van Heugtens’ Gluckauf (Son of Mine) from Netherlands, Technical Grand Prize; and Angga Dwimas Sasongko’s Filosofi Kopi from Indonesia, Best Ensemble Performance. Film critic and programmer Chris Fujiwara, Eurasia International Film Festival director Serik Zhubandykov, and Turkey’s Festival on Wheels founder Ahmet Boyacioglu served as Main Competition jury.
The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) also gave Spanish filmmaker Anna Bofarull a special citation for Outstanding Depiction of Women’s Resilience in Contemporary Cinema for Sonata per a Violoncel (Sonata for Cello), her film about a famous cellist diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic medical disorder with no known cure.
Apart from winning the FNC Best Picture, An Kubo sa Kawayanan also took home the awards for Best Editing for Benjamin Tolentino, Best Cinematography for Ronald Rebutica, and Best Performance by an Actress for Mercedes Cabral, her first, for playing a woman who refuses to leave her house by the bamboo grove, for which she has developed an affinity with.
Piring won Second Best Picture, Best Screenplay for writer-director Craig Woodruff, Jr., and Best Performance by a Supporting Actor for Rocky Salumbides. Woodruff, also known as Carlos Morales, tries his hand at directing after previously acting in critically acclaimed films.
Will Fredo’s Filemon Mamon brought home Best Musical Score for Sherwin Castillo and Maynard de Guzman and Best Performance by a Supporting Actress for Giselle Sanchez. Of Sinners and Saints bagged Best Performance by an Actor for actor-director Ruben Maria Soriquez and Best Production Design for Gerardo “Hedji” Calagui. Nestor Abrogena’s Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa took home Best Sound Engineering for Bryan and Jedd Dumaguina. Hong Kong International Film Festival executive director Roger Garcia, Alliance Francaise Bangkok – Thailand director Christian Merer, and Korean film producer Hanna Lee served as jurors for the Filipino New Cinema category.
Meanwhile, Günter Schwaiger’s Since the World was World (Austria/Spain) won the Cine Verde prize for Best Environmental Film. Cannes Palme D’Or winning filmmaker Raymond Red and UP College of Mass Communication Dean Rolando Tolentino served as jurors.
Tiha K. Gudac’s documentary Naked Island (Croatia) and Tom Waller’s film The Last Executioner (Thailand) tied for the Intercontinental Prize in the Parallel Sections. Columnist, reviewer, and publishing sales head Philip T. Cu-Unjieng, documentarian and broadcast journalist Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, and President of the Board of Directors of the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) George David comprised the jury.
The gala premieres of the Main Competition and Filipino New Cinema films were held from June 25 to 27 at SM MOA and SM North EDSA cinemas, respectively. Directors and actors presented their films during their respective premieres and conducted a short question-and-answer session after the special screenings. The film festival ran from June 29 to July 7 in select cinemas at SM MOA, SM North EDSA, SM Megamall, SM Southmall, and SM Manila.