From the article: “A celebration of artistic excellence, hope and Pinoy pride”

Tonight, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) will stage the 5th Film Ambassador’s Night (FAN) online at the FDCP Channel to recognize the filmmakers and films that put Philippines in world cinema spotlight last year.

It’s a first for us to hold FAN online — we are used to having a personal gathering with warm greetings and hugs for one another as we applaud our peers for their accomplishments. However, the challenges brought about by the pandemic did not diminish the meaning of FAN for the filmmakers, artists and professionals who made cinema their way of life. If anything, it pushed us to dream bigger and perform on a higher level.

The artists and films that we are honoring tonight have given us one very significant thing — hope. For how can we lose hope if we have dedicated film ambassadors such as directors, actors, writers and technicians who are recognized by foreign award-giving bodies and established film festivals?

Each victory is not only validation in the eyes of the world. It is also a sign that we can do more and do better. As long as our hearts can feel and our minds can conjure stories, the Filipino film industry can carry on with ardent hope to work through this pandemic and whatever comes to pass.

Acclaimed Filipino brand of filmmaking

From Italy to the United States, Hong Kong to India, Russia to South Korea, Germany, Japan, and China, Filipino films and filmmakers have been making their mark among international audiences.

At 8 p.m. today, we will celebrate more than 60 film ambassadors who have won acclaim in festivals in 24 countries through a free livestream event exclusively on The 5th FAN will be held in support of National Arts Month of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

The FAN 2021 honorees will be led by A-Listers Lav Diaz and Rafael Manuel. Diaz was proclaimed Best Director for “Lahi, Hayop” at the very prestigious and oldest film festival in the world, the 77th Venice International Film Festival. At the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, Manuel received the Berlinale Shorts Silver Bear Jury Prize for “Filipiñana.”

The FAN 2021 categories also include Feature Films, Directors, Actors, Creative Awards, Documentaries, Short Films, and Special Citation. In the Actors category, we have Alden Richards for being the Asian Star Prize recipient at the Seoul International Drama Awards; Cristine Reyes for “UnTrue;” Ruby Ruiz for “Iska;” Elijah Canlas for “Kalel, 15;” Louise Abuel for “Edward;” Isabel Sandoval for “Lingua Franca;” Lovi Poe and Allen Dizon for “Latay;” the cast of “Kaputol” led by Cherie Gil, Alfred Vargas, Angel Aquino, and Ronwaldo Martin; and television awardees Arjo Atayde and Dingdong Dantes.

A very special FAN

Aside from the honorees, the FAN will pay tribute to instrumental figures in the film industry. A special segment of this year’s FAN is the Cinemadvocates which will honor individuals and organizations that have supported the industry and its workforce during the pandemic.

Pangasinan 4th District Rep. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia, NCCA Chairman and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) President Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso, Lockdown Cinema Club, Inter-Guild Alliance, Dingdong Dantes, and Angel Locsin are the recipients of the FAN 2021 Cinemadvocate Award.

We are also introducing the Gabay ng Industriya Award to celebrate the life and times of cinematographer extraordinaire Romy Vitug and illustrious actress Gloria Romero.

Sir Romy Vitug has 33 wins and 22 nominations for films that we loved through the years such as “Kapag Langit ang Humatol,” “Hihintayin Kita sa Langit,” “Saan Ka Man Naroroon,” “Sinasamba Kita,” “Bituing Walang Ningning,” and “Sana Maulit Muli.” With over 100 cinematography credits for film and television, it is befitting that Romy Vitug receives the Haligi ng Industriya Award for his achievements as a master of light and shadow.

Ms. Gloria Romero will receive the Ilaw ng Industriya Award for being a beloved matriarch who supports and inspires actors of the succeeding generations. Her career of almost 70 years has numerous award-winning performances in films like “Tanging Yaman,” “Nagbabagang Luha,” and “Dalagang Ilocana.” She is the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, having starred in more than 200 films and television shows.

The highest award of the night

The final special recognition is the Camera Obscura Artistic Excellence Award, the highest citation that FDCP gives to industry legends and trailblazers. Three Camera Obscura awardees will be hailed tonight for their outstanding achievements:

Jun Juban of Philippine Film Studios, Inc., will be recognized for bridging the cinema continuum with the Philippines and other countries through working with international productions, thereby creating impactful representations of our filming locations, Filipino artists and technicians, and Philippine Cinema in the eyes of the world.

Documentary “Aswang” by Alyx Arumpac will be lauded for its eight international wins in 2020, and more importantly, for its brave and insightful depictions of social issues, furthering the stature of Philippine documentary cinema in the global arena.

Former NCCA Commissioner of the Arts and Head of National Committee on Cinema Teddy Co will be recognized for his invaluable efforts in the conservation, documentation, and archiving of our national film heritage. He will also be honored for tirelessly working for the advancement of independent films and the Cinema of the Regions towards wider appreciation and viability, ushering in a new age of artistic diversity and cultural authenticity in cinema.

A grand night of Pinoy pride

This year’s FAN is supported by the CCP through the participation of its resident symphony orchestra, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO). The PPO will perform in production numbers alongside the country’s top performers such as Bamboo, Tres Marias (Bayang Barrios, Cooky Chua, and Lolita Carbon), Bituin Escalante, Beverly Salviejo, Ice Seguerra, Juris Fernandez, Princess Velasco, Sitti, Richard Poon, Kean Cipriano, Duncan Ramos, Karla Gutierrez, Lawrence Jatayna, and The Pogi Boys.

Indeed, the FAN will be a showcase of the immense talents of Filipino artists. Moreover, it will serve as a way for the industry to express gratitude to all those who continue to support the initiatives for the betterment of Philippine Cinema. As we contribute to our cinematic history with the achievements of our film ambassadors, we also recognize the role of the government and industry in this journey.

It is only through the profound collaborations with our partners in government, such as agencies and policymakers, and our industry stakeholders that we can continue on this path to priming our cinema. It is through this occasion that we gather all in the film industry to connect, get up to speed with developments, and keep up with the best practices of world cinema.

The Film Ambassadors’ Night aims to fan the flames of passion and keep this bright light glowing throughout the industry. Ultimately, the FAN is for every Filipino who has made a film and has dreamed of screening it to more audiences, and it is for every Filipino who has watched local films and continues to believe in the talents of Filipino filmmakers and artists.

Notes from the Chair is part of the Arts Awake section of The Sunday Times Magazine published by The Manila Times. Click HERE to view the article on The Manila Times website.

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