Latest Stories

Indie movies, regional films, veteran actress Mila del Sol feted by Manunuri

Film critics give lion’s share of awards to non-mainstream movies that are highly original and experimental


NORA Aunor accepts her seventh Gawad Urian Best Actress award for “Thy Womb”; “Mater Dolorosa” director Adolf Alix Jr. wins Best Director; Mindanao film “Ang Paglalakbay ngMga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim” by Arnel Mardoquio is Gawad Urian 2013 Best Film; Jericho Rosales takes his first Gawad Urian Best Actor award for his performance in “Alagwa.”

However artificial and constructed, cinema should be used to depict social reality, said Tito Valiente, president of Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

And because independent cinema, removed from the studio mainstream that thrives on commercial and escapist genres, is more oriented toward that direction, its growth has been much celebrated by film critics and cinema lovers.

This was reaffirmed during the 2013 Gawad Urian: The Manunuri, the country’s leading film critics, again gave the lion’s share of the awards to independent films.

Valiente noted a change in indie films.

“Before, when you say ‘indie,’ it has a different color with only one texture. But not anymore,” Valiente said. “This time around, it is taking on a new form; some indie films now are fast-paced because, I guess, they are trying to reach a critical mass.”

He said that by definition, indie films are those that are not financially backed by a large studio and tackles topics that are considered taboos in society.

“The advantage of indie is that it has no market which it wants to make richer, and it is not after gaining back the capital from the patron who would tell the filmmaker to have a happy ending, to remove gay elements, and to refrain from hitting the Church,” Valiente said.



ALESSANDRA de Rossi gets Gawad Urian Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Sta. Niña.”

Valiente said  Urian remained the most credible award-giving body in the country. The long and stringent process of deliberation, the scaling down of the long list, coupled with disagreements among the film critics, are what makes for the credibility and integrity Urian has since been known for, he said.

“I like it when some of the members change their minds at the last minute; it means they are really listening,” Valiente said. “[In other award shows,] some people would champion a film, saying,  ‘This is the one.’ [With Manunuri] we look at films objectively. We always have to justify our choice.”

Rolando Tolentino, a member of Manunuri and the dean of the College of Mass Communication in the University of the Philippines-Diliman, said that critics looked for originality.

“[Urian] is always on the cutting-edge,” he said. “What we look for are those that have not been made yet. Because although a lot of films today are competent enough, we still seek out what’s new and original.”

National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, a member of Manunuri, said that the fact that Urian was not part of the industry rules out any commercial influence on the critic-jurors.

Best Production Design goes to Brillante Mendoza for “Thy Womb.”

“We’re not connected with the industry and therefore our group’s judgment is not influenced by anything,” Lumbera said. “[The nominated films in Urian] have substance and value.”

Diverse films

Tolentino said that the films last year diversified in content and technique, the reason for the huge number of nominees this year.

“Obviously everyone has reached a level of competency,” he said. “The films are pretty spread out for this year’s award. Pretty much everyone stood out. Unlike before when it was concentrated only  on  two directors, so we had no choice but to give the award to any one of them, there is too much talent in last year’s batch of films.”

Regional cinema is also thriving, with over 10 regional films getting nominations.

MILA del Sol with her Gawad Urian 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award

“For me, I always believe that, in order for one to understand one’s being a Filipino, one must be able to learn one’s identity as an Ilocano, Bicolano, Bisaya, etc.,” Valiente said. “Regional films are able to do that because they depict the lives of people in Ilocos, Bicol, etc. made by those who have actually lived there.”

Mila del Sol


This year’s Natatanging Gawad, the Manunuri’s Lifetime Achievement Award, was conferred on veteran actress Mila del Sol, whose contributions before and after  World War II helped shape the film industry and even gave rise to the first Golden Age of Philippine cinema.

Valiente said the Manunuri recognized Del Sol, who turned 90 last month, for her historic presence especially during the infancy of Philippine cinema, and the fact that she had worked with iconic filmmakers of the period, some of whom became National Artists.

“She  links the two periods of the Golden Age of Philippine cinema: prewar and postwar,” said the Manunuri chair. “She is the only major actress of her time who is still alive. She had acted with significant leading men of her time like Fernando Poe Sr., Ely Ramon and Leopoldo Salcedo. She had acted also in coproduction ventures with American producers.”

Born on May 12, 1923, Clarite Rivera Villarba, aka Mila del Sol, gained fame for the 1939 film “Giliw Ko,” where she had her very first lead role.

MANUNURI ng Pelikulang PilipinoMario Hernando, Butch Francisco, Tito Valiente, Nicanor Tiongson, Benilda Santos, Mike Rapatan, Rolando Tolentino and National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera

She  starred in Manuel Conde’s “Orasang Ginto,” the first postwar Filipino film; and other LVN films of the 1940s, including “Ibong Adarna” (1949) and “Villa Hermosa.”

Aside from Valiente, Tolentino and Lumbera, the Manunuri includes broadcast personality Butch Francisco; journalist and Movie and Television Review  and Classification Board (MTRCB) member Mario Hernando; National Commission for Culture and Arts-National Committee on Film head Miguel Rapatan; former MTRCB chair and Cultural Center of the Philippines artistic director Nicanor Tiongson; and Ateneo de Manila professor Benilda Santos. UP Dilman professor Gigi Alfonso and Inquirer editor and University of Santo Tomas teacher Lito Zulueta are on leave.

“COLOSSAL” director Whammy Alcazaren shares the stage with Sasha
Palomares for Gawad Urian Best Cinematography

Helping the Manunuri mount the Gawad Urian this year were the Film Development Council of the Philippines and CinemaOne Originals.

2013 winners


Best Film: “Ang Paglalakbay ng Mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim” by Arnel Mardoquio; Best Actress: Nora Aunor for “Thy Womb”; Best Actor: Jericho Rosales for “Alagwa”; Best Supporting Actress: Alessandra de Rossi for “Sta. Niña”; Best Supporting Actor: Art Acuña for “Posas”; Best Director: Adolf Alix Jr. for “Mater Dolorosa”; Best Screenplay: Mes de Guzman for “Diablo”; Best Documentary: “Harana” by Benito Bautista; Best Sound: Willy Fernandez, Bong Sungcang, Ferdinand Marcos Sabarongis for “Florentina Hubaldo”; Best Short Film: “Ritmo” by Remton Siega Zuasola; Best Music:  Diwa de Leon for “Baybayin”; Best Editing: Aleks Castañeda for “Kalayaan”; Best Production Design: Brillante Mendoza for “Thy Womb”; Best Cinematography: Whammy Alcazaren for “Colossal.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Awards , Cinemas , Gawad Urian , Lifestyle , Mila del Sol

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  2. Lover’s quarrel linked to hunger – study
  3. Encounter with a ‘Mangkukulam’
  4. ‘Kamias’ for fever, ‘siling labuyo’ for headache–first aid in the kitchen
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. ‘Heaven is for Real’: Nonfiction book on life after death reaches screen
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors


  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Our Lady of Piat: Centerpiece of Cagayan’s gifts to Christianity
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan