Cinemalaya 2022: Winners, highlights and more at closing ceremony

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Cinemalaya 2022: Winners, highlights and more at closing ceremony
The cast and crew of The Baseball Player with the Cinemalaya Organizing Committee
STAR / File

Carlo Obispo’s The Baseball Player won the Best Film Award at the just-concluded 18th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival held Sunday night at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.The movie follows the story of “a Moro child soldier aspiring to become a baseball player amidst an all-out war.”

The Baseball Player, under the full-length category, was cited for “its sheer poignance and quiet power, for its subtle but trenchant storytelling, and for its penetrating take on the Mindanao conflict and the sad wreckage it has made of young innocent lives.”

It also bagged the Best Screenplay and Best Editing for Zig Dulay and Best Actor Award for Tommy Alejandrino.

Ma-an Asuncion-Dagñalan’s Blue Room, starring Elijah Canlas and Juan Karlos Labajo, won the Special Jury Prize, Best Director, Best Cinematography for Neil Daza, Best Supporting Actor for Soliman Cruz, and Best Production Design for Marxie Maolen Fadul.

Best Actress Max Eigenmann for 12 Weeks.

The box-office hit film was commended “for its bravura filmmaking that portrays vibrantly the millennial generation as it squares up to social corruption and abuse of power.”

Anna Isabelle Matutina’s 12 Weeks, about a single, 40-year-old woman who is forced to deal with her unintended pregnancy, received the Netpac Award for Full-length Category and the Best Actress honor for Max Eigenmann. Max was earlier tipped to also win for her performance in Kargo as a woman looking for the man who killed her family to find closure.

Gabriela Serrano receives Best Director and Special Jury awards for Dikit.

The actress shared her victory to everybody whom she had worked with in 12 Weeks and dedicated her feat to her late aunt, movie icon Cherie Gil, who passed away at the age of 59 on Aug. 5 due to cancer.

Other awards given at the closing ceremony included in the full-length competition: Best Supporting Actress for Ruby Ruiz for her role in Ginhawa by Christian Paolo Lat; Best Sound for Pepe Manikan in Bula Sa Langit; Best Musical Score for Isha Abubakar for Retirada; and Audience Choice Award for Kargo by TM Malones.

In the shorts feature category, Zig’s Black Rainbow was named Best Short Film, Best Screenplay, and the Netpac Award.

The film was lauded for its “being a bright jewel of a short film, for being a cross-cultural masterpiece that touches the heart and reveals… the determination of children to pursue their bright young dreams.”

Zig Dulay wins four awards, namely Best Editing for The Baseball Player, Best Film, Best Screenplay and the Netpac Award for Black Rainbow.

Black Rainbow follows the story of an Aeta boy, who chases his dream of going to school. It won Best Short Film at the Harlem International Film Festival 2022 last May in New York City and the Best Foreign Language Short Film at the Prague International Film Festival 2022.

Gabriella Serrano won Best Director and Special Jury Prize for Dikit, which was recognized for “pushing the frontiers of feminist cinema and reimagining of Philippine folklore.”

Ilonggo film Mga Handum nga Nasulat sa Baras (The Dreams That Are Written On The Sand) by Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay and Richard Jeroui Salvadico was awarded the Audience Choice Award for Short Film.

Dubbed “Breaking Through the Noise,” there were 11 full-length films and 12 short features which competed for the Balanghai trophies this year.

Glaiza de Castro served as the host of the evening, while Bituin Escalante performed during the event.

Best Actor Tommy Alejandrino for The Baseball Player

The Cinemalaya Class of 2023 members were also presented, while Cinemalaya Festival director Chris Millado announced the schedule of activities of the film festivals.

The Cinemalaya 2022 films are shown in select partner cinemas nationwide until Aug. 16 and will have online run in October via CCP Vimeo account. Zamboanga del Norte will host Cinemalaya events and activities from Sept. 9 to 15.

CCP president Margie Moran-Floirendo lauded the filmmakers, the audience and the people behind the scenes who brought home the Cinemalaya filmfest back to its home.


“The excitement has been palpable, the creative energy has been surging and I can only surmise how much we missed the live events. We’ve missed Cinemalaya and it’s definitely good to be back. Not even the fickle weather could stop us (from seeing) the films competing this year,” she said in her speech.

“The filmmakers were able to bring their vision to the screen despite all the odds. And for that, I consider them all winners for keeping their passion for storytelling, for giving voices to those who can’t speak, for showing home in this trying time and for breaking through the noise. Each filmmaker deserves a pat on their back for a job well done… It is not Cinemalaya without the rains,” she added.

Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc. president Laurice Guillen noted how “the past nine days (since the opening program) have been very intense.”

She added, “Being here together physically, watching the films in the theaters, engaging in feedback and discussions or quietly imbibing the energy and the atmosphere of being physically together at last after two years, is an experience like no other. Add to that, the usual heavy rains and floods on the opening night and almost daily thunderstorms all over Metro Manila while we watched the films undisturbed.”

“The ring light hanging over the main theater lobby is a symbol of the pandemic from which we are emerging. It also coincides with the rise of hyper information from which Cinemalaya 18 must break through with its own narratives. In the theater, the filmmaker and audience engaged in a dynamic exchange while the film tells its story. The audience not only relates to it but weaves its own narrative into the film.”

She cited Julius Cervancia, a teacher from Kidapawan City, who went to Manila and brought his students with him to attend Cinemalaya festival.

The cast and crew of Blue Room with the Cinemalaya organizers.

“There is a need for a more concerted effort as community and industry to give remote communities access to these films,” she stated and congratulated the filmmakers who made it to this edition, and welcomed the 2023 films.

Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairman Tirso Cruz III praised Cinemalaya for how it has become “the gateway for the generation of Filipino filmmakers” for the past 18 years. He announced his support, including financial assistance for the Class of 2023’s full-length and short films finalists.

The new FDCP head revealed that the film agency will grant P1 million pesos each to the next edition’s full-length finalists to help in the production of their movie, while P100,000 each will be given to the 10 short film finalists.

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