Aswang, Alyx Ayn Arumpac’s debut feature-length documentary on the Duterte administration’s drug war, and Midnight in a Perfect World, Dodo Dayao’s dystopian imagination of Metro Manila, received the lion’s share of prizes handed out by the Society of Filipino Film Reviewers (SFFR) for its inaugural Pinoy Rebyu Awards.
Aswang, which screened as part of the 2020 Daang Dokyu Film Festival, received four awards, including Best Feature Film, Best Documentary, Best First Feature, and Best Editing (for Anne Fabini and Fatima Bianchi). The SFFR cited the film’s “expert conjuring of Philippine mythology in depicting the horrors of the current administration’s drug war”.
Meanwhile, Midnight in a Perfect World, which premiered in last year’s Quezon City International Film Festival, won in five categories: Best Director, Best Ensemble Performance (for its main cast Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Glaiza de Castro, Anthony Falcon, Dino Pastrano, and Bing Pimentel), Best Cinematography (for Albert Banzon and Gym Lumbera), Best Music Score (Erwin Romulo, Malek Lopez, and Juan Miguel Sobrepeña), and Best Production Design (Benjamin Padero and Carlo Tabije). The SFFR cited Dayao’s “singular, clear-cut vision of the film and his masterful control of its technical aspects”.
Newcomer Charlie Dizon won Best Lead Performance for her role as a die-hard fan of actor Paulo Avelino in Fan Girl. In its citation, SFFR praised Dizon for a “nuanced, naturalistic portrayal of a giddy teenager obsessed with her matinee idol, never losing control of her character’s motivations and impressively showing a gamut of emotions throughout her character’s ordeal”.
The Best Screenplay award is given to Isabel Sandoval for Lingua Franca, for its “sensitive depiction of the life and love of a trans woman living as an undocumented immigrant in New York”.
Character actor Phi Palmos coveted the Best Supporting Performance prize for his charismatic, heartfelt interpretation of a supportive friend and countryman of JC Santos’ character in the Japan-set film Kintsugi.
SFFR, as has been its tradition since its decade-long existence as Pinoy Rebyu, does not distinguish between male and female performances, the way it does not distinguish gender in the other award categories.
The Best Short Film award is given to Bullet-laced Dreams by Kristoffer Brugada and Cha Escala, about indigenous children in Mindanao fighting for their right to education amidst increasing militarization.
The Best International Film award is given to Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s Happy Old Year, a quiet, sensitive depiction of the intricacies of letting go (both of materials things and broken relationships). The film premiered in Netflix Philippines in 2020 and is Thailand’s official submission to the 93rd Academy Awards.
Trophies will be sent to winners via courier.
The Society of Filipino Film Reviewers is composed of 53 avid reviewers of Philippine cinema. It aims to promote local film through advocating for film education, preservation, criticism, and exhibition of Philippine cinema.
Below is the full list of winners:
BEST FILM: Aswang
BEST DIRECTOR: Dodo Dayao, Midnight in a Perfect World
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE: Charlie Dizon, Fan Girl
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE: Phi Palmos, Kintsugi
BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE: Main cast of Midnight in a Perfect World
BEST SCREENPLAY: Lingua Franca (Isabel Sandoval)
BEST EDITING: Aswang (Anne Fabini and Fatima Bianchi)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Midnight in a Perfect World (Albert Banzon and Gym Lumbera)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Midnight in a Perfect World (Benjamin Padero and Carlo Tabije)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Midnight in a Perfect World (Erwin Romulo, Malek Lopez, and Juan Miguel Sobrepeña)
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Aswang
BEST FIRST FEATURE: Aswang (Alyx Ayn Arumpac)
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM: Happy Old Year
BEST SHORT FILM: Bullet-laced Dreams