'Pusong Bato' wins top prize in Cinemalaya film festival

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Martika Ramirez Escobar's Pusong Bato was named Best Short Film in the 11th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition, while Angelie Mae Macalanda's Wawa took home the Special Jury Prize and the NETPAC Award in the Cinemalaya Awards program held on August 15.

Praised "for its playfulness in telling a story, for creating tension between nostalgia and loneliness and for taking risks without being absurd”, Pusong Bato is about a middle-aged faded actress who tries to relive her glory days as a movie star in the 1970s by watching films at home everyday until an earthquake rouses her from her Hollywood dream.

As Best Short Film winner, Pusong Bato won a cash prize of P150,000 and the Balanghai trophy.

Wawa won the Special Jury Prize for “its engaging use of location to evoke longing and for its poetic depiction of grief” and the NETPAC Award for its evocation of grief and the impermanence of life through a grippingly visual funeral ceremony on the river.

Wawa is a story about a young boy’s journey as he, with others, take his father to his final resting place.

The Best Director award went to Petersen Vargas for his Lisyun Qng Geografia. Vargas was cited for his “effective harnessing of the technical elements of filmmaking in telling a simple story” of a boy who finds an old map that pushes him to retrace the places that are special to him and his high school best friend.

The Best Screenplay Award was given to Darwin Novicio for Papetir which he also directed. Papetir was cited “for its interesting presentation of contrast in what is being stated and what is actually happening.”

Sanctissima, a film about a girl who lives alone in the dark with an even darker secret, by Kenneth Dagatan won the Audience Choice Award. As Audience Choice winner, Sanctissima won a cash prize of P25,000.

Established in 2005, Cinemalaya is an all-digital film festival and competition that aims to discover, encourage, and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers.