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    ‘desilya’ wins Cine de Oro Film Festival Golden Fish for Best Film-Main Competition

    by Tito Mike

    Toni Cañete’s desilya has won the  Golden Giant Fish Award for Best Film in the Main Competition of the Cine de Oro Film Festival IV which closed recently at Karumata,  Bgy. Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro City.

    Now on its fourth iteration following a break brought by the global pandemic, Cine de Oro Film Festival IV ran from December 15-17, 2023 at Karumata, Macasandig and Limketkai Cinemas, Lapasan.

    Unveiling of the Cine de Oro Film Festival IV poster

    The jury citation for desliya reads: “For its interrogation of the spaces between memory, space, and language, and how they ultimately influence the relationship between people and the identity they create for themselves, the best film is awarded to desilya.”

    “This win goes out to all mothers and all daughters in every room of every house in Cagayan de Oro City,” said Cañete said upon receiving her award. “For the daughters who never make it out of the car, we deserve better endings.”

    The film also earlier bagged this year’s Best Mindanao Film, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress awards in the recent 21st Mindanao Film Festival.

    Block screening of shorts at Karumata

    The panel of jurors for this year’s Main Category included renowned filmmaker and writer, Teng Mangansakan as panel chairman, with accomplished academe member, Evans Yonson, and multimedia artist Anna Miguel Cervantes.

    Aside  from desilya, the five other Kagay-anon films entered in the main competition were One Late Evening by Ryan LaoAng Pagputol directed by Ela FiguraOn My 18th directed by Joseph Marc Salas;  P’Do directed by Fernando Omboy; and  OKRA, IT’S LIFE, directed by Geniny Galo.

     The Golden Giant Fish Award for Best Film – Open Category was won by “Diak Kayat Magna Maisa (I Don’t Want to Walk Alone)” by Mikael Joaquin.

    The nine other entries in the Open Category were Ang Pamilyang Maguol (Jermaine Tulbo, a filmmaker and graphics designer from Mindanao); End Times ( Conrad Dela Cruz); Gatas (James Damasin, a Monkayeño writer and filmmaker); Kiang (Mariya Lim, a Cebu-based filmmaker and graduate of the University of San Carlos Cinema Program);  Nalumos Akong Papa sa Sabaw (JP Corton, Ormoc City); Ikaw at Aking Daigdig (Aki Red, Pasay City) HITO (Stephen Lopez, BS Nursing graduate of UST); Congratulations, DX! (Mark Felix Ebreo, an Assistant Director in the MMFF Best Film “Deleter” (2023), and as a Script Continuity Supervisor in “Drag You & Me” and “Her Locket; and, the river that never ends (JT Trinidad, Pandacan, Manila).

    Unveiling of the Cine de Oro Film Festival IV poster

    The panel of jurors was likewise headed by writer/director Teng Mangansakan, Davaoeño filmmaker Bagane Fiola, and visual artists, Jericho Valjusto Vamenta, and Michelle Hollanes Lua.

    The Reuben Canoy Lifetime Achievement Award was posthumously awarded to Philippine film historian, curator and archivist Teddy Co, who passed away recently.

    Wrote Jay Rosas in his citation: “The film industry in Manila knows him best as someone with an encyclopedic knowledge on cinema, especially Philippine cinema. But for regional filmmakers and stakeholders, he will be best remembered as a champion of our cinema in the regions, particularly in his capacity as chairperson of the National Committee on Cinema of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, during his many terms.” 

    “Teddy’s passion and unwavering support became the inspiration to many regional filmmakers. He talked with us, agreed and argued with us, and altogether, sought a cinema that is alternative and counter-narrative to what has been a predominantly homogenous representation of Filipino culture through cinema. Through these discourses, we continue to grapple with and redefine a cinema that is evolving.” 

    “We mourn his passing, but most importantly, celebrate his indelible contributions. His indefatigable spirit, forever nudging us in our corners as we map the movements of a cinema we can call our own.”

    Special Screenings

    The festival also featured special screenings of full-length features Animal Lovers (Aedrian Araojo, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay) and Jino to Mari (Jay Altarejos, whose openly gay-themed film The Man in the Lighthouse (Ang Lalake sa Parola), Antonio’s Secret (Ang Lihim ni Antonio), Kambyo, The Game of Juan’s Life (Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan ), Pink Halo-HaloUnfriend, The Commitment (Kasal), and Tale of the Lost Boys have been celebrated at international LGBT film festivals.

    Altarejos personally presented his film during the festival’s Midnight Screaming section and entertained questions from the audience after the screening. Jino to Mari is an official selection of the Sinag Maynila Independent Film Festival and is produced by Solar Pictures, Inc.

    Edmund Telmo discusses the development process of writing a screenplay.

    The festival opened December 15 at Limketkai Cinema 3 with , “Valor: The Legacy of Col. Emmanuel V. De Ocampo” directed by Kagay-anon Filmmaker Bani Logrono.

    Logroño said he created his documentary films – Unsurrendered 2: The Hunters ROTC GuerrillasValor: The Legacy Col. Emmanuel V. De Ocampo, and Honor: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos – to remind younger Filipinos about the heritage of heroism gifted to them by our valiant veterans.

    Born in Australia in 1992, Logroño grew up in Cagayan de Oro City and went to school at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan until his family moved to the US in 1999. He studied filmmaking in the International Academy of Film and Television in Mactan, Cebu. Eighteen years later, he returned in triumph to Cagayan de Oro where his films “Unsurrendered 2” and “Valor” were screened as part of a film festival celebrating the 75th Anniversary of General Douglas MacArthur’s arrival in Cagayan de Oro following his celebrated Breakout from Corregidor in March 11-13, 1942.

    The closing film, Topografia by Gutierrez Mangansakan II, is a profound exploration of friendship, choices, and the complex landscapes of Mindanao. Drawing from the shared universe of Teng’s 2016 film Moro2mrw: Daughters of the Three-Tailed BannerTopografia is an exploration into the story of lifelong friends navigating the intricacies of their futures.

    “The 4th edition of CDOFF has grown larger compared to the 2nd and 3rd editions,” festival founder Joe Bacus noted. “We returned to the big screen with film showings, bringing back CDO filmmakers with 6 short films. There was also a very good selection of films from other regions. It felt like a return to the grandeur and festivity of the first edition, and I believe this marks the beginning of a larger festival next year with the comeback of the CDO filmmaking scene.”

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