Wednesday, September 5, 2018

“Ang Larawan” scores victories at screenings and at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival

While the Filipino musical film “Ang Larawan” produced by Culturtain Musicat Productions continues its local and worldwide screenings, it scored a double victory at the 58th Asia-Pacific Film Festival held in Taiwan.

“Ang Larawan,” which is based on Nick Joaquin’s play, A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, won Best Original Music Score for composer Ryan Cayabyab and Best Art Design for production designer Gino Gonzales. Cayabyab’s resounding music bested films from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Australia; while Gonzales’ intricate period design was deemed the most excellent over films from China, Indonesia and Taiwan.

The Asia-Pacific Film Festival, an annual event organized by the Federation of Motion Picture Producers in Asia-Pacific (FPA), had its awards night at the Grand Mayfull Hotel in Taipei. About 800 actors, filmmakers, and producers from all over Asia attended the affair that was broadcasted live on Taiwanese TV. Nominees to the Asia-Pacific Film Festival were picked from a list of films vouched by board members and representatives of each member city or country. An independent jury composed of producers, actors and journalists from the region made the final choices. Another winner from the Philippines was Dido dela Paz who was named Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Respeto.”  All the Asia-Pacific Film Festival 2018 winners received a trophy shaped in the figure of a woman designed by renowned Taiwanese sculptor Xu Li-Xian.

The Asia-Pacific Film Festival award is the first international recognition that Ryan Cayabyab got for his work on “Ang Larawan.” Mr. C., as Cayabyab is fondly called, was performing at a concert at UP Diliman when he was informed of his win. He says, “It is unexpected but I am grateful for it. Many thanks to all who worked in the production, they all deserve to be recognized, too!” Instrumental to creating Mr. C’s music for the film were the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra who performed the score, and Acoustic Underground where the songs were recorded.

Culturtain Musicat Productions producers Rachel Alejandro, Celeste Legaspi and Girlie Rodis welcomed the good news. “We are very thankful for the recognition from the Asia-Pacific Film Festival,” says Alejandro. “It is unfortunate that we were unable to be in Taipei because I was at the University of Maryland for a screening sponsored by the Philippine Embassy, Tita Girlie had just come from a screening in Boston, and Celeste was shuttling from one school screening to another in Manila and the provinces…” she explains.  

In the month of August in particular, “Ang Larawan” was shown in schools and organizations and art houses in Metro Manila, Iloilo, Pampanga, Maryland and New York, aside from a “homecoming” showing for Cinemalaya at the Cultural Center of the Philippines where the stage musical was first presented. At most of these screenings, the filmmakers are present to interact with the audience. Rodis remarks, “Their reactions are priceless rewards.”

Legaspi happily declares that many students are very much engrossed in the movie. She cites, “At OB Montessori in Las Piñas, for instance, they swooned during the seduction scene of Tony and Paula. They applauded after Paula’s solo. They clapped along with the music in the credits. Then they asked incisive, intelligent and articulate questions.  One student even asked me to comment on the ‘toxicity of commercialism on art’!”

In October, Legaspi and Sandino Martin (who plays Bitoy Camacho in the film) will travel to Brussels to present “Ang Larawan” at the Saint Josse Pour Tous Festival.  For updates and information on how to book for film screening, check out Ang Larawan The Movie on Facebook

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