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JC de Vera, Laila Ulao mark career milestone at QCinema 2016

JC  de Vera and Laila Ulao (2016.mb.com.ph)

JC de Vera and Laila Ulao

It’s sweet triumph for JC de Vera and Laila Ulao who each won their first acting award at the QCinema International Film Festival 2016 held Oct. 19.

JC won as Best Actor for his performance as gay inmate in “Best. Partee. Ever.” Laila, on the other hand, bagged the Best Actress trophy for her performance in “Women Of The Weeping River.”

“Parang mas nervous yata (ako) ngayon talaga, hindi ako makapagsalita. Very overwhelmed lang ako. Lahat itong hirap ko doon sa loob ng jail, ’yung 30 seconds na kiss, nag-pay off siya,” JC told reporters shortly after receiving his award.

“Best. Partee. Ever.” is even more memorable for JC being his first indie film where he plays his first gay role ever.

“Lahat siya surprise. Ito talaga very unexpected. Never ko naisip na darating ako sa point na makaka-receive ako ng award. Sabi ko nga noong in-offer sa akin ’yung role, sabi ko, ‘Sorpresahin niyo na lang ako.’ Isa itong magandang experience na binigay sa akin ni God.”

Directed by HF Yambao, the movie talks about the life of a gay person as ring leader inside jail. JC shared doing the role was a big challenge.

“The whole duration ng shooting, struggling ako. Hindi ako kumportable, kahit ’yung location namin, hindi ka-comfortable kasi nasa jail kami. Plus gay role siya, merong sensitive scenes na dito ko lang din ginawa (sa buong career ko),” the actor said.
Like JC, Laila was over the moon upon getting her trophy. She works as a field nurse in Jolo and has never had acting experience before this.

Sheron Dayoc’s “Women Of The Weeping River” won as Best Picture. He hopes the film will open more opportunities and platforms for other stories in Mindanao.

“’Yung Mindanao conflict is bigger pero meron pang deeper rooted conflict which is within the culture, or integrated to the culture,” Sheron said. “Sana matutunan muna iyon bago mas magkaroon ng mas malaking solusyon on the political conflict.”

Venue for indie filmmakers

The QCinema International Film Festival hopes to promote the “active role of Quezon City in Philippine filmmaking” throughout the years.

“We’re trying to promote QC as a tourist destination, as an investment destination. We’re trying to brand Quezon City na kapag sinabing Pilipinas, ang film hub ay Quezon City,” Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista told the press. “Sa ASEAN, iyon ang gusto nating i-create. Slowly, we’re getting there by coming up with good films.”

The cast and crew of ‘Women Of The Weeping River’ (2016.mb.com.ph)

The cast and crew of ‘Women Of The Weeping River’

He added: “The previous films (from QCinema) have been acknowledged in various film festivals. That’s good because the objective of the Quezon City Film Commission, aside from regulating the doing of films in Quezon City, is to come up with good movies as a venue for independent filmmakers. Nagbunga na dahil nakakarating na sa ibang bansa ang pelikula. Siyempre mababanggit ’yung Quezon City kapag ganun,” he said.

Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and Festival Director Ed Lejano, Jr. were also at the event. The jury were Maggie Lee, Benjamin Illos, Julian Ross, Ronnie Lazaro, and Nick Tiongson for the Circle Competition; Jun Lana, Sherad Sanchez, and Vidya Shankar Neelakantan for Asian Next Wave; Rolando Tolentino, Nick de Ocampo, and Vidya Shankar Neelakantan for NETPAC; and Raymond Red, Antoinette Jadaone, and John Lloyd Cruz for QC Shorts.

Best Actor: JC de Vera – “Best. Partee. Ever”
Best Actress: Laila Ulao – “Women Of The Weeping River”
Best Supporting Actress: Vangie Labalan – “Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B”
Best Supporting Actor: Taha Daranda – “Women Of The Weeping River”
Circle Competition Best Picture: “Women Of The Weeping River” – Sheron Dayoc
Best Short Film: “Hondo” – Aedrian Araojo
Audience Choice Award Shorts Competition: “Contestant #4” – Jared Joven & Kaj Palanca
Audience Choice Awards Circle competition: “Patay Na Si Hesus” – Victor Villanueva
Gender Sensitivity Award: “Patay Na Si Hesus”
Best Screenplay: Joseph Laban & Denise O’hara – “Purgatoryo”
Best Artistic Contribution: Raphael Meting and Mark Limbaga – “Baboy Halas”
Best Director: Prime Cruz – “Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B”
Best Film for Asian Next Wave: “Apprentice” – Boo Junfeng (Singapore)
Special Citation: “By The Time It Gets Dark” – Anocha Suwichakornpong (Thailand)
QC Shorts Jury Prize: “Papa’s Shadow” – Inshallah Montero
NETPAC Jury Prize: “Baboy Halas” – Bagane Fiola