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'Para sa kanya 'to': Max Eigenmann shares message for Cherie Gil over Cinemalaya win

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
'Para sa kanya 'to': Max Eigenmann shares message for Cherie Gil over Cinemalaya win
Max Eigenmann after winning Best Actress at the 2022 Cinemalaya Film Festival
Philstar.com / Kristofer Purnell

MANILA, Philippines — Amid the jubilations of being recognized in a leading role for a Cinemalaya film, actress Max Eigenmann did not forget two women that were pivotal to her acting career — her mother Bing Pimentel and her late aunt Cherie Gil.

Max was awarded Best Actress at the 18th Cinemalaya Film Festival for her role in "12 Weeks" — she also appeared in "Kargo" — and in her acceptance speech, she showed her gratitude for the two women.

"[To] my mother Bing, being your daughter onscreen is almost as cool as being your daughter in real life. Tita Cherie, this is for you!" Max exclaimed.

Backstage, Max was overwhelmed and full of emotions, unable to stop herself from cursing as she tried to hold back tears.

Related: 'Tita Cherie, this is for you!': Max Eigenmann dedicates Best Actress Cinemalaya to Cherie Gil

When asked by Philstar.com if she had anything else she wanted to tell Cherie, Max said her late aunt already knows everything she has to say.

"Tita Cherie and I always had a close relationship, I guess... sobrang thank you lang talaga Tita Cherie because she's always been one of my biggest inspirations, so para sa kanya talaga ito," Max said, reaffirming her dedication.

Cherie passed away last August 5 after a bout with cancer; she was 59 years old. "La Primavera Contravida" had appeared in the 2013 Cinemalaya film "Ekstra," which won six awards that festival year, and served as a jury member in a separate edition.

Gratitude for Cinemalaya

Also a winner at Cinemalaya this year was veteran actress Ruby Ruiz as she won her second Best Supporting Actress trophy, this time, for her role in "Ginhawa," having previously won the same award when she co-starred with Cherie in "Ekstra" and took home Best Actress in 2019's "Iska."

"Thank you Cinemalaya. Ang sine [nagpapalaya] dahil pinalaya niyo ako, nabuo ang pagkatao ko," Ruby said in her acceptance speech.

Speaking to the media backstage after her win, Ruby admitted she didn't expect to win as many actresses were vying for the same award and just wanted "Ginhawa" to be recognized in some capacity.

"I'm just so glad parang ako ang nagdala ng banner namin," Ruby said, thanking the film's director Christian Paolo Lat for insisting on casting her.

Related: 'Very professional': Filipina actress Ruby Ruiz on working with Nicole Kidman

Meanwhile Tommy Alejandrino, the Best Actor winner for "The Baseball Player" in his first leading role, struggled to find words after accepting his award.

"I'm just very, very grateful, this is really a dream come true, I'm full of gratitude," said Tommy after composing himself backstage.

When asked by Philstar.com if he would star in more leading roles following his win, Tommy teased by saying: "Let's see about it, I hope so!"

'The future is women'

"The Baseball Player" also won Best Picture and Best Editing for Zig Dulay, who dominated the Shorts division with his entry "Black Rainbow" by winning Best Short Film, Best Screenplay, and the NETPAC Award.

The night, however, belonged to ladies like Max and Ruby as women took a chunk of the Cinemalaya 2022 awards.

Gabriela Serrano won Best Director and the Special Jury Prize for her short film "Dikit," while Ma-an Asuncion-Dagñalan won the same awards in the features counterpart with her flick "Blue Room."

"Blue Room" also won Best Production Design for Marxie Maolen Fadul, while Soliman Cruz and Neil Daza won Best Supporting Actor and Best Cinematography, respectively.

The two films Max starred in, "12 Weeks" and "Kargo," won the features NETPAC Award and Audience Choice Awards respectively — the former directed by Anna Isabelle Matutina — while the shorts Audience Choice Award "Mga Handum Nga Nasulat Sa Baras" was co-directed by Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay.

Finally, Isha Abubakar won Best Original Musical Score for "Retirada." As Max told the media backstage, "The future is women."

RELATED: LOOK: A glance at the Eigenmann family tree

CHERIE GIL

CINEMALAYA

CINEMALAYA INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL

MAX EIGENMANN

RUBY RUIZ

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