‘Respeto’ reaps respect at Cinemalaya awards rites

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The cast and crew of 'Respeto' celebrate onstage at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater on Sunday. (Photo from the film's Facebook page)

Treb Monteras’ riveting hip-hop drama “Respeto” dominated the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival Awards on Sunday, with seven wins including Best Film and Audience Choice in the Full Length Film category.

In what is probably one of Cinemalaya’s most underwhelming editions in recent years, “Respeto” emerged as the overwhelming favorite as the film also took home the Balanghai trophy for Best Cinematography for Ike Avellana, Best Editing for Lawrence Ang, Best Sound for Corrine de San Jose and Best Supporting Actor for Dido de la Paz.

The film also won the NETPAC Jury Prize for Best Full-Length Film.

De La Paz, a seasoned character actor who won his first acting award in a career spanning three decades, thanked acclaimed filmmaker Joel Lamangan for declining the award-winning role. In the film, De La Paz played Doc, a poet who helped an amateur rapper find his soul.

Two films, Joseph Israel Laban’s “Baconaua,” and Thop Nazareno’s “Kiko Boksingero” won three awards each. “Baconaua” won Special Jury Prize, Best Director for Laban, and tied with “Respeto” for Best Cinematography for TM Malones.

In addition to winning Best Sound for Pepe Manikan, the charming, coming-of-age drama “Kiko Boksingero” won big in the acting department, winning Best Actor for child performer Noel Comia, Jr. and Best Supporting Actress for Yayo Aguila.

Dido de la Paz (Best Supporting Actor), Angeli Bayani (Best Actress), Noel Comia, Jr. (Best Actor) and Yayo Aguila (Best Supporting Actress). (Photo by Patrick Lasanas/InterAksyon)

Like De La Paz, this is the first acting award for Yayo Aguila, who was introduced in a starring role in the 1984 Maryo J. delos Reyes teen classic, “Bagets.” In recent years, she has played mostly mother roles in TV soaps and mainstream flicks but has lately found her second wind in indie projects that began with Erik Matti’s “Honor Thy Father.” She is also in the cast of Zig Dulay’s “Bagahe.”

“Bagahe” won two awards, Best Screenplay for Dulay and Best Actress for indie favorite Angeli Bayani. Throughout her career, Bayani has won acting recognitions from the Gawad Urian, Cinemanila and Cine Filipino. Her win for “Bagahe” is her first for Cinemalaya and is considered an upset over heavy favorite Sharon Cuneta, who was praised by critics for her performance in Mes de Guzman’s “Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha.”

The only other full-length film to win an award is Sonny Calvento’s “Nabubulok,” which won Best Production Design for Marxie Maolen Fadul. The other entries this year were Perry Escaño’s “Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa,” Nerissa Picadizo’s “Requited,” and Iar Lionel Arondaing’s “Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig.”

In the short film categories, the winners are P.R. Patindol’s “Hilom” (Best Short Film), “Nakauwi Na” by Marvin Cabangunay and Jaynus Olaivar (Audience Choice), E del Mundo’s “Manong ng Pa-Aling (Best Director), TM Malones’ “Bawod” (Best Screenplay for Duwi Monteagudo), Carlo Francisco Manatad’s “Fatima Marie Torres and the Invasion of Space Shuttle Pinas 25” (Special Jury Prize), and Glenn Barit’s “Aliens Ata” (NETPAC Jury Prize).