Winners all in a row: The best of 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) pose for posterity during the Gabi ng Parangal Wednesday night (Dec. 27) at the Kia Theater

• No more gay roles for Edgar Allan? • What is Derek’s ‘lucky charm’? • Trophy is Joanna’s gift to family
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - December 30, 2017 - 12:00am

Each of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) winners has a story to tell.

Joanna Ampil, Best Actress for Ang Larawan (which, hopefully, has regained its lost theaters after its Best Picture victory), recalled that two days before the Gabi ng Parangal, she asked her parents what they wanted for Christmas. “Just bring home the trophy,” they told her. Wish granted. It must have been a first-timer’s luck because Joanna, although a theater veteran who starred in several musicals on London’s West End, is a “debutante” in the MMFF and Larawan is her first film.

Best Actor Derek Ramsay (who won his first MMFF award in 2014 for English Only, Please) attributed his win to a rosary which he carries anywhere he goes.

“My lucky charm,” Derek told Funfare. “Aside, of course, from my son (Austin Gabriel) and my girlfriend Joanne (Villablanca) and her daughter Sophie. The rosary was given to me by a nun in 2011 when I went to the Carmelite Monastery in Lipa City. She told me, ‘I made it specially for you.’ I lost the rosary in Boracay but it was returned to me by a stranger.”

With so many good performances by other actors in the MMFF, did Derek ever think that he would win? As in English Only, Please (and in his other films for that matter), Derek won the jurors’ nod with his no-acting (read: natural) style.

During the pre-MMFF presscons, Edgar Allan Guzman said that he was staying away from gay roles after Deadma Walking which won him Best Supporting Actor lest he be typecast.

“Yes, I will refrain from doing gay roles but only for a year,” EA told Funfare. “In the meantime, I want to savor the beauty of my role in Deadma. But not more flamboyant gay roles for now kasi naibigay ko na ng todo dito sa Deadma. But if a really good role comes along, I might change my mind.” (EA should thank his gay brother, his peg in his gay characterization.)

When she received her Best Supporting Actress award (for Siargao), Jasmine Curtis-Smith teared up as she thanked her parents and her boyfriend, Jeff Ortega, but she forgot to mention her sister Anne Curtis.

“Thank you, Lord, because it has been a tough two years for me,” said Jasmine (who is undoubtedly a better actress than Anne), “and although I don’t belong to any network, offers continue to come my way.”

Paul Soriano, Best Director (for Siargao), told Funfare, “I am blessed, humbled and grateful that Siargao took home seven awards. I’m very proud of this film and these awards validated the hard work of my actors, staff, crew and everyone involved in making Siargao. We were able to successfully tell a story…it continues to inspire me that the stories I tell are worth telling and I thank the people who appreciate my films. I love cinema, I love making films and I will continue to do so for as along as I can.”

Joross Gamboa (of Deadma Walking, who lost to Derek), said about EA: “I am really happy and proud of you, my brother. You deserve it. And I know that from the beginning.”

Same with Rachel Alejandro (who lost to co-star Joanna).

“It’s way overdue for Filipinos to recognize Joanna as a gem, and in my opinion, one of our very best actresses of all time. I cried tears of joy when they announced her as Best Actress because at that moment, it all came back to me…the times we questioned our own talents and capabilities when we were preparing to be Paula and Candida. It was a tough road for both us getting here but I never doubted she would exceed all expectations, not even for a minute. I cried even more when she mentioned that in her speech. We’ve become sisters at heart forged by this shared experience.”





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