Hobbled by a drastic slash in its share of the amusement tax rebate derived from the Metropolitan Manila Film Festival from a high of P9 million in 2003 to a measly P450,000 in 2009, the Film Academy of the Philippines was constrained to forego staging the Luna Awards for the years 2008 and 2009.
The Academy last held its Luna Awards which honored distinguished achievements for films shown in the year 2007. Ironically, the event was held at the Gateway Mall in Cubao in February, 2009.
Films shown in 2008 and 2009 should have been similarly honored in 2009 and 2010 respectively. But the FAP coffers were then alarmingly empty.
That severe slash caught the Academy offguard. Actually, it had started things rolling for the 27th Luna Awards—the one citing achievements for the year 2008. The citers, the nominators and even the voters actually chose the best of that year’s crop of films. Sadly, the results were kept in the freezer for a long time.
But as the saying goes, when you are down, there is no other way to go but up.
And it came to pass that the hobbled Academy finally got back on its feet.
Cultural tax shares of the Academy from Manila, Quezon City and Makati kept it floating for the time being. Financial help from the Film Development Council of the Philippines also poured in.
The good news is that the 29th Luna Awards—honoring the best films in 2010—will finally be held in May.
And, though belatedly, the academy will still honor the best of 2008 by officially releasing the list of winners for the 27th Luna Awards as a prelude to the staging of the 29th Luna Awards.
It is thus better late than never for our winners in 12 categories for 2008.
Baler, an official entry of Viva Films in the 2008 Metro Manila Film Festival, garnered eight of the 12 trophies.
The film chronicles the 337-day defensive stand ala-Alamo by Spanish soldiers garrisoned in a church in Baler in 1898. This is the backdrop for
a forbidden love between a mestizo soldier (Jericho Rosales) and a Filipina (Anne Curtis) in this turn of the century epic.
Baler actually bested five other films for the Best Picture trophy (see separate news item in this website).
The seven individual winners are: Mark Meily, director; Philip Salvador, supporting actor; Roy Iglesias, scriptwriter; Lee Meily, cinematographer; Aped Santos, production designer; Ditoy Aguila, sound engineer; and Vincent de Jesus, musical scorer.
The other four winners are: Christopher de Leon, best actor for Mag-kaibigan; Mylene Dizon, best actress for 100; Iza Calzado, best supporting actress for One True Love; and Jess Navarro, best editor for Torotot.
Baler also figured prominently in other awards, including the 2008 Metro Manila Film Festival, the Star Awards for Movies and FAMAS. The film won the best picture trophies from all these award-giving bodies.
Director Meily won in the MMFF and Star. Jericho won best actor in Star; Anne Curtis, best actress in MMFF; Philip Salvador, best supporting actor in MMFF; Roy Iglesias won best scriptwriter in all three awards; Lee Meily won best cinematographer in all three awards too; Danny Anonuevo was best editor in all three awards; Aped F. Santos won best production designer in all three awards; and Ditoy Aguila won best sound in both Star and FAMAS.
The film’s theme song, Ngayon, Bukas at Kailanman, was best theme song in Star and FAMAS. The song was composed by Louie Ocampo with lyrics by Eddie Gallardo as sung by Sarah Geronimo.
In the MMFF, Baler also won the Gender Sensitive Award and the Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Award.
As to the 29th Luna Awards, the nominators are now viewing their lists of ten possible nominees chosen by the citers and will soon come out with the final five nominees (as minimum number for each category) by mid-April. Like the citers, the nominators will be considering works under their respective category—meaning directors will select the nominees for best direction; cinematogaphers will select he nominees for best cinemato-graphy; and similarly down the line.
The voters will then take over and review the final list of nominees but will vote in all categories.
The happy news is that the Luna Awards, though still on wobbly feet, is back on the stage for good.
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