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COTABATO CITY – The short film Manis Ma Pikilan has won “Best Short Film” in the 2018 Moro Film Festival held at the  Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex here.

Directed by  Bhas Abdulsamad, the film captures the personal struggles of Pahad, a boy from a small coastal community in Tawi-Tawi province, and it tells people, especially those from outside the Muslim autonomous region that Mindanao is not just about war, it also shows the day-to-day sacrifices of the Bangsamoro to live peacefully and happy despite the negative perception by outsiders.

“This film would like to tell the people, especially those people outside the ARMM or Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, that Mindanao is not just about war… that people have their own personal struggles in life,” said Abdulsamad, whose film received P300,000 in cash prize as competition grand winner.

Another film, White Flag, that depicts the story of Omaimah, a young woman who faced great challenges at an evacuation center in Marawi City during the Maute siege, bagged the Grand Jury Prize. White Flag director Najib Alyhar Zacaria – who also won the Best Director Award – was emotional during the awards night. “Hindi ko ma-explain ang nararamdaman ko, ngunit ako ay napakasaya ngayon. This is for my Princess,” he said.

Princess was Zacaria’s daughter who died due to a disease while staying inside an evacuation center during the siege. The Grand Jury Prize winner received a total of P150,000 in cash prize and another P50,000 for bagging the Best Director Award.

Aside from the two films, the other top 10 finalists were  Identity, Kyuga, Battle of Tampakan, Inged, The Last Kill, Juramentado, Khalil at Manuelito, and Sarimanok. Other awards and the corresponding prizes given during the December 6 culmination of the film festival were: 

·         Audience choice award – ‘Inged’ (P100,000)

·         Best Screenplay – ‘White Flag’ (P30,000)

·         Best Cinematography – ‘Manis Ma Pikilan’ (P30,000)

·         Best Editing – ‘Manis Ma Pikilan’ (P30,000)

·         Best Actor – Abraham Nupuran for ‘Manis Ma Pikilan’ (P15,000)

·         Special Citation for Ensemble Acting – ‘The Last Kill’ (P15,000)

The films were critiqued by renowned filmmakers from Mindanao including Bagane Fiola and Xeph Suarez who served as members of the jury.

Award-winning Moro filmmaker and author Gutierrez ‘Teng’ Mangansakan II, who chaired the jury, said they were looking for films that tell the stories of Bangsamoro. “A good story is something that comes from within, and these two movies, ‘Manis Ma Pikilan’ and ‘White Flag’, were really able to surface this type of films,” he said.

ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman congratulated the finalists and winners noting, “ngayon palang ay gumawa na kayo ng pelikula na itatama ang maling kwento ng nakaraan. Ito ang hamon sa lahat ng mga filmmakers, manalo man kayo o hindi… ito ang hamon sa ating lahat.”

Anak Mindanao Executive Director Sitti Djalia Turabin Hataman and actor Robin Padilla graced the awards night. It was the first time for the ARMM to organize a competition that features short films highlighting the history, culture, and tradition of the Bangsamoro. It also showcased the talents of aspiring artists, actors and filmmakers in the region.

The competition is part of the celebration of Pakaradjaan 2018. Public screenings of the top 10 films are scheduled on December 7, 8, and 9 at the Al Nor Cinema 2 here. (Bureau of Public Information)


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