The Film Desk of the Young Critics Circle will recognize the best Filipino films of 2011 in an awarding ceremony to be held on June 27, 2012 at the Claro M. Recto Conference Hall, Faculty Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. The program begins at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, with respected sociologist and stage director Dr. Ricardo Abad as guest speaker.
Best Film will be given to Adolfo Alix Jr. for his film Haruo, a poignant tale about a Yakuza member seeking to lead a new life in Manila. The film, released as one of the digital entries in the annual Metro Manila Film Festival, was also nominated for Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Visual Design, and Best Editing. The award is Alix’s second YCC Best Film recognition after Adela swept all six awards in 2009.
In picking Haruo for top honors, YCC cited the film’s deft portrayal of an exile’s struggle to live an anonymous life as he tries to banish his criminal past. It is noted for its skilful combination of the poetic form haiku, the floral arrangement of ikebana, the number puzzle Sudoku, along with other referents of the protagonist’s distinctly Japanese existence in a cramped rented room in an old district of Manila.
Haruo maps a foreigner’s troubled condition in a suddenly shrunken world, living astride multiple geographies and divergent times. The film investigates forgetting and atonement, crime and punishment, love and loss in an international and multilingual project that melds Asian action genre and austere performance from the cast. One locates Haruo within a global cinematic undertaking.
Only two other films were nominated for Best Film: Bahay Bata, depicting the chaos of the Fabella Hospital and the turmoil that pervades the life of an on-duty nurse, and Señorita, a noir thriller about a transgender woman who leads a double life in a Philippine province.
For the first time in YCC’s 22-year history, six different films won in the six categories that the body hands out annually. Diana Zubiri as nurse Sarah in Bahay Bata is cited for Best Performance. Rody Vera’s screenplay for Niño, a story about the downfall of a once-powerful family, bested other nominees. Best Editing will be awarded to Señorita, while Teoriya bags Best Achievement in Cinematography and Visual Design. Best Achievement in Sound and Aural Orchestration award is given to Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa.
Two other films made it to the shortlist: Bisperas and Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay.
Only short-listed films earn the privilege to be nominated for any of the six categories. YCC does not confer nominations on artistic or technical merit if the film does not qualify in the shortlist.
Established in 1990, YCC is the academe-based critics group with members coming from various disciplines. YCC aspires to interdisciplinarity, rigour and reflexivity in their analyses of film.
The organization departs from many conventions of other award-giving bodies both here and abroad in bestowing cinematic honors. For instance, the award for Best Film of the Year is reserved for the director such that no separate prize for direction is needed. The Best Performance award is most coveted as it is conferred on a screen performer whether male or female, adult or child, individual or as part of an ensemble, in leading or supporting roles. To uphold a more dynamic and encompassing way of looking at films, technical honors refer to fusion of outstanding efforts in fields otherwise deemed apart. In this case, the Best Cinematography and Visual Design recognition covers both camerawork and art direction. Similarly, Best Sound and Aural Orchestration encompasses not just sound engineering per se but musical score as well.
The complete list of winners and nominees for this year’s YCC film awards:
The Film Desk of the Young Critics’ Circle
22nd Annual Circle Citations for Distinguished Achievement in Film for 2011
Best Film of the Year
Winner: Haruo directed by Adolfo Alix Jr. (Forward Entertainment and Annex Inc.; Yoshiyuki Ohira, producer)
Bahay Bata directed by Eduardo Roy Jr. (Cinemalaya Productions; Almond Derla, Demy Derla, Marlo Derla, executive producers; Ferdinand Lapuz, producer)
Señorita directed by Vincent Sandoval (Autodidact Pictures; Vincent Sandoval, Darlene Malimas, producers; Jose Marie Gochangco, executive producer; AbdallahTabbara & Jonathan Lee, associate producers)
Winner: Niño (Rody Vera)
Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (Alvin Yapan)
Bisperas (Paul Sta. Ana)
Haruo (Jerome Zamora)
Señorita (Vincent Sandoval and Roy Sevilla Ho)
Teoriya (Zurich Chan)
Best Performance by Male or Female, Adult or Child, Individual or Ensemble in Leading or Supporting Role
Winner: Diana Zubiri in Bahay Bata
Art Acuña in Niño
Fides Cuyugan Asensio in Niño
Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino in Niño
The entire cast of Bisperas
Vincent Sandoval in Señorita
Alfred Vargas in Teoriya
Best Achievement in Cinematography and Visual Design
Winner: Teoriya (Dexter dela Peña, cinematographer; Paul Marquez, production designer)
Bahay Bata (Ogi Sugatan, cinematographer; Harry Alcasid, production designer; Armand Samonte, art director; Tessa Aquino, costume)
Bisperas (Roberto Yniquez, director of photography; Rodrigo Ricio, production designer; Tessa Aquino, costume)
Haruo (Albert Banzon, director of photography; Roland Rubenecia, production designer)
Señorita (Ruel Dahis Antipuesto, director of photography; Armi Rae Cacanindin, production designer)
Best Achievement in Sound and Aural Orchestration
Winner: Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (Arnold Reodica, sound designer and engineer; Christine Muyco and Jema Pamintuan, musical scorers)
Bahay Bata (Albert Michael Idioma, sound designer and engineer; Toni Muñoz, musical scorer)
Niño (Albert Michael Idioma, sound designer; Jerrold Tarog, musical scorer)
Best Achievement in Film Editing
Winner: Señorita (Charliebebs Gohetia)
Haruo (Aleks Castañeda)
YCC drew its selection from both regular and non-regular releases comprising the entirety of Philippine cinema output in 2011. Films considered for discussion were those that had three or more screenings before a paying or non-paying audience in any public venue. Thirty-five films were initially long-listed by the group, which was later narrowed down to a shortlist of eight.
Members of the YCC Film Desk include Eloisa May P. Hernandez (chair), Tessa Maria T. Guazon (vice chair), Patrick D. Flores, Eulalio R. Guieb III, J. Pilapil Jacobo, Skilty Labastilla, JPaul Manzanilla, Jema Pamintuan, choy pangilinan, and Jaime Oscar Salazar; on leave: Romulo P. Baquiran Jr., Flaudette May V. Datuin, Noel D. Ferrer, Nonoy L. Lauzon, Eileen C. Legaspi-Ramirez, Gerard R. A. Lico, Jerry C. Respeto, Neil Martial R. Santillan and Galileo S. Zafra.