2014 Urian Best Supporting Actor has Catanduanes roots
Pablo A. Tariman (The Philippine Star) - July 5, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - In this year’s 37th Gawad Urian Awards, seasoned actors were edged out by new but equally brilliant talents, portraying equally challenging roles not often seen in mainstream movies.

Indie queen Angeli Bayani (Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan) won over Nora Aunor (Mabuti), Vilma Santos (Ekstra), Cherie Gil (Sonata), Eugene Domingo (Instant Mommy), Rustica Carpio  (Ano ang Kulay ng mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?), Agot Isidro (Anino ng Kahapon), Vivian Velez (Bendor) and Lorna Tolentino (Burgos), among others.

In the Best Supporting Actor category, the young and unknown Jun-Jun Quintana (Philippino Story) won over Cesar Montano (Alamat ni China Doll), Joey Marquez (On The Job), Yul Servo (Porno), John Arcilla (Metro Manila) and Art Acuña (Kabisera), among others.

The actor, whose real name is Amando Quintana Jr., said his father is from Panganiban, Catanduanes and his grandfather — Don Sebastian Quintana — was once a town executive in the island town. “We have relatives in Bagamanoc and Virac,” the actor added.

Another actor with Catanduanes roots is John Arcilla whose father was born in Virac, Catanduanes. Another award-winning actor Dindo Fernando — whose real name is Jose Tacorda Chua Surban — was also born in Virac, Catanduanes in 1940.

The Veras — founder of Sampaguita Pictures — also come from Pandan, Catanduanes. One of the studio founders — Pedro Vera who later became a congressman — is the grandfather of stage actor and multi-award-winning scriptwriter Rody Vera.

As in the Best Actor and Actress categories, the race in the Best Supporting Actor was also tight and the surprise winner was indie favorite Jun-Jun who played the role of a sex worker with a heart in the Benjie Garcia film.

Before Philippino Story, Jun-Jun was noticed in Adolfo Alix Jr.’s Haruo, the Young Critics Circle Best Film of 2012, and Quick Change, another acclaimed indie film.

Of late, Jun-Jun appeared in the stage play, Imbisibol, one of the highly-promising one-act plays of the Virgin Labfest at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Jun-Jun has reasons to treasure his first major acting award: “I would say the trophy was indeed precious as it was the very first trophy to be handed out during the awards night. I held on to it throughout the proceedings. It is my very first award and they say that the first is always priceless.”

Jun-Jun’s portrayal of the sex worker stood out well enough to make lasting impressions on former Manunuri critic Mario Bautista who wrote: “Gay-themed films that feature male hustlers usually portray them as ruthless gold diggers who are just after the money of their homosexual clients. Philippino Story is totally different as its lead character, Phillip (Jun-Jun), a waiter who moonlights as a male prostitute has a heart of gold. Jun-Jun gives a very low key but heartwarming performance in his interpretation of Phillip. Honestly, we believe it’s Jun-Jun who should have won as Best Actor and Mark as the Best Supporting Actor in the Cinema One Filmfest awards night.”

The young actor admits the tough part of his role was not to play it too big. “My director wanted me to keep a balance between subtlety and intensity because there were a few dramatic highlights and most of the conflicts of my character were internal. Also, I have to admit that I was much pressured because I was acting with the brilliant Mark Gil. Even without dialogue, lalamunin niya  ako ng buong buo. I also listened to my director and my co-actors, and observed them, how they move, how they get into their characters, how they deliver their lines. And then I totally forget about myself, get into my character and try to be as effortless as possible.”

He considers Mark a true thespian. “He was the real anchor of my character. We spoke as we were about to shoot our first few sequences and he simply told me to relax and enjoy, to just go where the scenes will take us to. He continued to be a very ‘giving’ actor throughout the shoot. I have so much respect and adulation for him.”

Jun-Jun got as much help and support from the director. From the very start, it was clear with what he wanted from him as an actor.

His impressions of direk Benjie: “He did not have a lot of unnecessary ‘ego,’ he was very cool, he was always straight to the point and he guided me throughout and allowed me to discover my character. I like his style. I like his sensibilities.”

His expectations vary with every director he works with. “I try not to expect too much every time I start working with a new director. Each project is different from the other. I simply try to get into my character as quickly as I can and do my best, hoping that they will like what I have to contribute as an actor in their films. I like directors who are straightforward but not arrogant, sensitive but not selfish, logical but not loud.”

For now, the young actor has an idea of the kind of acting that works as validated by his first acting award: “I like to believe that there are no strict rules when it comes to effective acting. My manager Ricky Gallardo told me once that in order for a performance to be good, it has to be sincere. That just stuck with me. I like effortless acting, you know, when the actor totally submerges into his character, allowing what is the most natural to come out. I’m still very new in the business but I am very comfortable with instinctive acting.”

Like most newcomers, he hopes for more illuminating roles and more challenge.

He concludes: “With this big blessing from the Urian, I am certainly refueled and recharged. I have to admit that being a newcomer in the biz is not easy, I’ve had my fair share of rejections, and the first few steps are the most difficult. I hope that this huge recognition from the Urian will make the decision makers on TV and film take a closer and longer look at me and entrust me with some good roles.”

For now, he knows he only wants to achieve three things every time he faces the camera.

For him, there is nothing like truth, clarity and consistency.

On the other hand, Jun-Jun adopts a no-nonsense attitude on the gay characters inhabiting showbiz.

He points out: “I am not very comfortable with putting labels on people. I belong to an industry of creative, hardworking, lovable, fun, eccentric, sometimes complicated individuals and it is just the way it is. We all have our roles to play, our stories to tell, and tasks to accomplish. The world has become more colorful because we are unique and we are all different.”


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