For a remarkable feature debut commandeered by two riveting lead performances, offering a very intense, haunting cinematic experience, Autobiography by Makbul Mubarak wins the Asian Next Wave award of QCinema.
The award, which focuses on emerging filmmakers from Southeast Asia and East Asia with less than three features, made a comeback in this year’s edition of QCinema.
The festival also cited Autobiography for its deliberately paced, slow-burn drama with serious socio-political implications that shows a director who’s hitting the ground running with a film that unanimously impressed the jury.
Aside from the Best Film, Makbul Mubarak also brings home the Best Director trophy.
Winning the NETPAC Jury Award this year is Return to Seoul by Davy Chou.
The film is noted for its sensitive portrayal of a woman in search not just of her identity, but also her place in the world constantly in flux. It is built upon formal elegance and emotional maturity, taking us to unexpected places as we follow the protagonist on a journey across cities, cultures, latitudes, but most importantly a journey within her own self.
Another awardee is Setsuko Shiokawa for the production design of the film Plan 75.
The Artistic Contribution was awarded to Shiokawa for the film’s controlled yet engaging design of an imagined near future where life or death becomes a choice and existence is diminished to muted tones of sadness and resignation. It is also cited for its intelligent re-creation of dystopia that is pegged on reality and never bordering the fantastic.
In what is first in local awards, starting this year, QCinema’s sole acting honor, regardless of gender, will be Best Lead Performance.
The Pylon for this year’s Lead Performance goes to Chieko Baisho of Plan 75.
Also winning in the Asian Next Wave category are Shuming He and Cris Ong, Best Screenplay for Ajooma.
In the #QCShorts competition, best film goes to BOLD Eagle by Whammy Alcazaren.
The film is cited for stitching a visual vernacular of today’s technological tools, articulating a timely and queer political critique that captures anger, loneliness, frustration, boredom and alienation amidst the pandemic.
Glenn Barit takes home another Pylon for his film Luzonensis Osteoporosis, which wins the NETPAC Jury Award.
The film is noted for its absurdist depiction of an internal dilemma and irony that the first discovered Filipino must also become a regular overseas contract worker.
The film, Luzonensis Osteoporosis, also brings home the Audience Choice award.
In 2019, Glenn Barit’s film Cleaners, won Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Audience Choice award.
The River that Never Ends by JT Trinidad brings home the Pylon for Gender Sensitivity for its measured vivid and heartbreaking portrayal of a transwoman and a city in their meandering routines of neglect, survival and melancholia.
The members of the Jury in the Asian Next Wave competition are director and author Kong Rithdee; Professor and Author Rolando B. Tolentino; New York Asian Film Festival Director Samuel Jamier; Producer, Director, Writer for Film and Television Jose Javier Reyes; and Festival Co-Director, Film Publicist, and Film Programmer Meninaputri Wismurti.
Director, Producer, Editor Keith Sicat; Director and Editor Anna Isabelle Matutina; and Rolando B. Tolentino are the #QCShorts Jury members.
Some winners were also given cash prizes aside from their trophies. Asian Next Wave Best Film received 5,000 USD, NETPAC Jury Prize got 3,000 USD, #QCShorts Best Film received 150,000 pesos, NETPAC Jury Prize got 100,000 pesos, Gender Sensitivity Award received 150,000 pesos and Audience Choice got 150,000 pesos.
QCinema will run until November 26, 2022. For details about the festival, go to www.qcinema.ph.