From left: John Arcilla, Christian Bables, Vince Rillon and Direk Brillante Mendoza
MANILA— Three out of three In Competition Filipino films won major awards at the 19th Asian Film Festival (AFF 19) which was held onsite in Rome, Italy last April 7 to 13, 2022. The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) brought a total of five Filipino films to the AFF 19, including films by Lifetime Achievement Awardee, Brillante Mendoza.
The highly-acclaimed Filipino films were chosen by the festival to be featured in this year’s showcase. Under the In Competition section are Jun Lana’s Big Night, Brillante Mendoza’s Resbak, and Erik Matti’s On the Job: The Missing 8, while Mendoza’s Gensan Punch and Daniel Palacio’s The Brokers participated in the Out of Competition and Newcomers’ section, respectively.
Two Filipino actors, Vince Rillon for Resbak and Christian Bables for Big Night! shared the Best Actor Award while Erik Matti’s On the Job: The Missing 8 received Best Film.
The festival described the Best Film awardee, On the Job, as “filmed with mastery, with unique sequence plans, and a soundtrack that often goes in line with the dramaticness of situations, this opera has an overwhelming lining and gives us a little-known portrait of this part of the east.”
Through FDCP’s Spotlight: Philippines program, the country was represented by the film Resbak, DirectorBrillante Mendoza, and lead actor Vince Rillon, in the in-person event in Italy as the festival reopened its doors as a physical event.
Aside from the screening of Mendoza’s films, he was also bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award by the festival for his outstanding contributions as one of the proponents of “Philippine New Wave” in filmmaking.
“We are grateful to not only be honored with these awards but by having this chance to promote these Filipino films—films that we are proud of—in established platforms such as the Asian Film Fest. This stellar line-up of masterpieces from our esteemed filmmakers are ready to take on the world. And of course, to Direk Brillante Mendoza, Direk Erik Matti, Vince Rillon, and Christian Bables who have been championing PH Cinema everywhere they go, we are extremely proud of you,” said FDCP Chair and CEO Liza Diño.
“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 Philippine Cinema. His valuable contributions through his films has helped the Philippines gain traction in the international scene,” Chairperson Diño added.
The Asian Film Festival is considered to be the top art-house cinema in presenting Eastern Asian cinema to the world. This edition featured 30 films from eight Asian countries namely China, South Korea, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
The AFF 19 is just one of the many film festivals where Filipinos continue to shine. Through UniPhilippines and its Spotlight: Philippines program, the Film Development Council of the Philippines gets to support Filipino filmmakers by promoting PH cinema globally through showcasing retrospectives and highlighting significant milestones and key players of the industry.