A first for Filipino films from Asia’s top award-giving film body, as the Philippines received three nominations in this year’s Asia-Pacific Screen Awards (APSA).
Brillante Mendoza was nominated for best director for his Venice entry “Thy Womb,” whose lead star Nora Aunor is in the running for best actress. Scriptwriter Chris Martinez, meanwhile, is vying for best screenplay for “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank.”
Mendoza said the nominations “signify that the country remains a strong contender in the international scene. This clearly proves that the country will continue to have a strong presence in world cinema. I’m proud and happy to be the first Filipino director to be recognized by the APSA in that category.”
The APSA, which was founded in 2007, seeks to “recognize and promote cinematic excellence and cultural diversity (in) the vast Asia-Pacific region … and is considered as the region’s highest accolade in film.”
This year’s APSA awards ceremony will be held in Brisbane, Australia, on November 23.
In 2008, Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala,” which starred Aunor, won the CNN APSA Viewers’ Choice award for Best Asia-Pacific Film of All Time.
“These nominations are a source of pride for our country and countrymen,” Aunor said in Filipino. “All these recognitions of the work and art of Filipinos are important. My nomination comes four years after ‘Himala’ won and it inspires me to work even harder. It warms my heart, especially since the honor comes from our fellow Asians.”
“I feel more than validated,” said screenwriter Martinez, who was earlier nominated for the same script at the Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong. “These nominations prove that our films and artists are among the best in the region.”
Martinez hopes the citation will highlight the contributions of writers in local cinema. “Every great movie starts with great writing. It’s my wish that the industry would give more importance to the written word. It’s time screenwriters stop being invisible.”
Martinez said that the entire “Septic” team-including actress Eugene Domingo and director Marlon Rivera-are “praying hard that we win.”
(Story courtesy of Bayani San Diego Jr. of the Philippine Daily Inquirer)