Two dramatic Filipino short films, ‘Divine XY’ and ‘The Lessons of the Night’, were honoured at the second edition of Viddsee Juree Awards Philippines, an initiative that celebrates and supports filmmaker communities in Asia.
Directed by Ruelo Zendo, ‘Divine XY’ follows Divine (played by Divine Aucina), whose dream job hits a snag when she is forced to deal with paperwork that misidentifies her gender.
The filmmaker who is currently the resident artist at Casa San Miguel, Zambales and has extensive experience with television documentaries said, “The film is a message for people across the oceans to be open to other possibilities and accept the change that could affect our lives. I was inspired to do it after watching Divine Aucina’s physicality and comedic acting, and wrote the script around her talents.”
Taking Silver was Christian Rae Villanueva, whose gripping ‘The Lessons Of The Night centres around Juanita, a teacher battling depression who conspires with her delinquent student to retrieve her own baby from her estranged husband.
“This film is a love letter to all single mothers. I grew up with a single mom, so I wanted my film to be about my mother, but of course, exaggerated it. The actors learned a lot from the films I liked, especially ‘Two Days, One Night’ by the Dardenne brothers (Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne) that also inspired this film,” said Christian who shot this film as his capstone project for college.
The two winners were picked by an international panel of judges that comprises Malaysian publisher, writer and filmmaker Amir Muhammad; Tribeca Film Festival Shorts Programmer Ben Thompson; and actress Cherie Gil Eigenmann, the three-time Best Supporting Actress winner in the Metro Manila Film Festival, and recipient of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Ani ng Dangal award.
Gold and Silver winners were awarded film production grants worth PHP160,000 and PHP80,000 respectively, along with audio equipment provided by RØDE Microphones. The Gold winner also won a five-day Global Film & TV Program in Los Angeles sponsored by the Motion Picture Association. All ten finalists received a 12-month Creative Cloud All Apps subscription worth US$560 each from Adobe.
Aside from the main winners, Kenneth De La Cruz won the Audience Choice Award for his romantic thriller ‘Tears Of The Stars’. The winner was picked based on the most number of ‘likes’ it received on Viddsee.com during a two-week period.
In the run up to the awards ceremony on September 29, Viddsee and venue partner FDCP Cinematheque hosted a two-day programme that included screenings of short films available on Viddsee, panel discussions with the directors, as well as a sharing session by Cherie Gil.
The jury on the Viddsee Juree Awards Phillippines 2018 winning films:
Gold Award Winner: Divine XY | Director: Ruelo Zendo
“We were particularly impressed by the filmmaker’s strong and unique voice and how they were able to demonstrate so poignantly that something as small as a single letter on a form can have such a dramatic effect on a person’s life. We commend both the filmmaker and actress for their bravery and vision in exploring this story and are delighted to award ‘Divine XY’ with the Gold Jury Prize.” – Ben Thompson
Read our Q&A with Ruelo here.
Silver Award Winner: The Lessons Of The Night | Director: Christian Rae Villanueva
“A taut and skilfully controlled film about escape. The filmmaker intrigues us to find out more as the narrative unfolds in an almost elliptical but wholly satisfying manner.” – Amir Muhammad
Read our Q&A with Christian here.
Audience Choice Award Winner: Tears Of The Stars | Director: Kenneth De la Cruz
Said Kenneth: “The film was sponsored by the Department of Tourism, and meant to showcase the beauty of the Guimaras Island, and the values and culture that we have in the region that’s different from Manila.”