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Bakunawa Fest 9 Winners

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Here are the winners of Bakunawa Fest 9 as decided by the Board of Jury for this edition composed of Film Critic Tito Genova Valiente, Filmmaker Kyle Fermindoza and Filmmaker, Graphic Artist & Bakunawa Mentor Myish Endonila. The only requirement from Bakunawa Fest is for the Jury to name Grand Bakunawa for Best Short Film and Jury Prize. The rest of the awards are all decisions of the Jury and each award carries a citation based on the deliberations. Each winning film is accompanied by a clip which you can view by hovering your mouse on the film's box image.

Grand Bakunawa for Best Short Film
the night is drunk when we suffer by RS Magtaan (The Philippines)

Citation: Here is a film that is not only a mockumentary but one that mocks any form of documentation. Raw energy coming from a place full of persons that lay bare their souls not because they want to but because the camera has invaded their private spaces and turned them into the public sphere - for display and also for our contemplation. Seemingly in control, the film reveals its power when a character at the end breaks the fourth wall, as in theater, or talks directly to camera to remind us that everything is just cinema. Irony, a necessary element in any art makes “the night is drunk when we suffer” directed by RS Magtaan the Grand Bakunawa for Best Short Film of Bakunawa Fest 9.

"For three years, I've kept these particular household footage/memories to myself before I decided to let it set foot in the world. That decision to finally give birth to it is my way of accepting what I am right now after I have rebuilt myself from its fragments. And by owning that, I can start being a much better son, brother, and human." - RS Magtaan

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Jury Prize
永別 (Part Forever) by Chung An Ou Alan (Taiwan)

Citation: The horror genre, by its persuasion, is a form that is known for the amplification of scenes, sounds, and characters but in this film, there is an added dimension: near-camp approach to the horrifying. Here we have a meta cinema where we are forced to confront the evil in us, not in the form of phantasms, for that is facile, but in the manner of the exaggerated and the excessive, for this is as complex as evil over good is complex. The Jury Prize for Bakunawa Fest 9 is awarded to Part Forever directed by Chung An Ou Alan.

"Part Forever is telling that a sudden change of funeral came with an astonishing secret. I will continue shooting horror films, torturing the hearts of the audience, forever and ever." - Chung An Ou Alan

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Best Director
Alvin Belarmino Hinakdal (The Philippines)

Citation: A bizarre and fantastic narrative is infused with a social dimension by a direction that demonstrates a grasp of cinematic language. The result is an artistic vision of a society that now subverts our age-old notion of appearance and likeability, manipulating almost to a point of self-consciousness an artistic vision of a world where monsters possess more humanity than humans. The Jury awards Best Director to Arvin Belarmino for Hinakdal.

"On behalf o
f our team, I'd like to humbly thank Bakunawa Film Festival for this recognition. Hinakdal is a story dedicated to our friends from heavily-discriminated communities who constantly face senseless violence, and it is an honor to represent them through the metaphor of this short zombie film.." - Arvin Belarmino 

Best Director
Chung An Ou Alan  永別 Part Forever (Taiwan)

Citation: The director is definitely in control of his material, bringing that force over the characters in whose beings tension is built to escalate several mise-en-scenes, where the dead arouses the most vile of responses from the living. We know almost where the horror of ministering over the dead can lead us to but when the Undead wrecks vengeance upon a character, we know only one lesson: the dead is better resting in peace than a film is invoking alive moral judgment and presenting a happy ending. The excellence of the film owes much to the technical expertise of the filmmakers. The Jury awards Best Director to Chung An Ou Alan for Part Forever.

Best Performance by a Lead or Supporting Actor
Ming Yang  永別 Part Forever (Taiwan)

Citation: She is, in this film, the  face of the macabre. It is a face that changes colors according to moods and guilt, sadness and sensuality. And she is able to do all those colors.  She is that friend who holds the key to the mystery of the quiet and quick death of a woman - gentle and good. Whereas in the horror genre the deceased is the source of terror and suspense, in this film the opposite takes place - the living is the one capable of terrorizing those whose fate is to live after the crime. She almost acts up a storm but that is only because she needs to fill a vast space of light and darkness, an area filled with possibilities, that includes the horrifying and the darkly humorous. For this, Best Performance award is given to Ming Yang of Part Forever.

Best Performance by a Lead or Supporting Actor
Laurent Le Doyen  Laura (France)

Citation: The role is old, almost banal: a father who would love his daughter no matter what -  in human or nonhuman form. Already the lead actor who plays the father has done a great service for us lovers of the humanities for a performance that is heartfelt, dramatic and sensitive but he goes several steps further. One of these areas he ventures into is about courage in the face of accepting a daughter who appears to have ceased to be his daughter. For giving us a view on how humans deal with the supernatural or the aberrant when it comes close to home, utilizing only that small, dark space between him the natural father confronting a possible annihilation of the unnatural product of his fatherhood, the Best Performance award is given to Laurent Le Doyen of Laura.

"I am very happy to receive this award. "Laura" is a film that touches me infinitely and that makes this award all the
more important to me. I am also very happy because through this award it is also the film and all the people who worked on it who are somewhat rewarded. thank you to the jury and thank you Bakunawa Festival!" - Laurent Le Doyen

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Best Cinematography
OparÁ  Director of Photography: João Vicente (Brazil)

Citation: With one jury describing this film as filled with soulful images, and for allowing said images to work with Nature in breathing and fusing with the human characters, one short film owes its meaning to its cinematography and to its cinematographer. The images and scenes are set in such a way that we feel the meanings in a journey, their existence told in breathtaking fashion, which allows the audience to be part of a transcendental poetic experience. For this, the Best Cinematography Award goes to Director of Photography Joao Vicente of Opara.

"I simply cannot express how grateful and thrilled I am to
have won Best Cinematography by the jury for the short film "Opará". The atmosphere and visual aesthetic that helped tell the story of the film was created with a lot of feeling involved and it's amazing to have my work recognized in this way. I cannot fail to thank the jury for choosing our work, my small team and my friend, brother and Director Mateus Guedes who made everything possible and everyone involved in the film. Without them, I would never have been able to reach this milestone. This award is not only a recognition of my work, but is also a testament to the power of collaboration and team effort. Thank you all for your constant support and for helping me make this project a success. Thanks again for the amazing award, and I can't wait to continue creating even more exciting and memorable work in the future. Long live cinema, long live independent creations, long live friends who join their experiences to tell stories" - João Vicente

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Best Story & Screenplay
Hinakdal (Resentment)
Written by: Arvin Belarmino & Kyla Romero (The Philippines)

Citation: In an art form that is mediated by camera and the images it has elected to present to form the narrative, one film draws its strength from the story from where proceeds a social imaginary and a screenplay that matter-of-factly arranged scenery after scenery of tolerance and co-existence only to terminate in a revelatory fact - humans will always be humans, judgmental and solving conflicts through violence. For articulating a cautionary tale with such daring, if not recklessly absurd style, Hinakdal receives the award for Best Story and Screenplay for Bakunawa Fest 9.

"As a female youth whose bloodline stems from an oppressed minority group, I'd like to humbly thank Bakunawa Film Festival for this award. Hinakdal, as a zombie film, may seem like an absurd representation of our sentiments, but it echoes a truth that is universal — that no person or being can ever live in peace as long as there is prejudice." - Kyla Romero


Special Jury Citation
Pretty Pickle  Directed by: Jim Vendiola (USA)

Citation: Everything seems correct and proper academically in this film - the cinematography is clean and polished, the production design is excitingly attractive, the story and screenplay use suspense to entice us to follow the film to the end, not to mention its insight on loss (of love and objects) and preservation or memorialization. Is this a perfect short cinema because of its clever fusion of filmic elements? But somehow, something is off in the whole presentation: the walls and the cabinets feel like they have been “production-designed” and the actions unfold with such oddity (funny when they are supposed to be dark; macabre when they are supposed to be about love and pleasant things). Then there is the performance, nearly stilted as if the filmmakers do not want us to feel sympathetic with the characters. All these make Pretty Pickle by Jim Vendiola deserving of A Special Jury Citation.

"Team Pickle" truly appreciates your jury's recognition
of our strange and provocative film.  As a Filipino American writer-director, with a Fil-Am cinematographer, and Fil-Am lead actor, it's an extra special treat for us to participate at Bakunawa 9!" - Jim Vendiola

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Jury Citation for Fantastic Animation
Brindis Directed by Catalina Bórquez Bugueño (Chile)
The Sprayer Directed by Farnoosh Abedi (Iran)

Citation: Two animations grace this festival: Brindis and The Sprayer. Both are relevant and timely. Their use of the fantastic narrative together with the horror genre enables a retelling of the post-apocalyptic. In both animations, the memories of humanness have ceased to be thoughts but solutions, almost antidote to the unceasing attack on the remaining vestiges of humanity in man/woman. Whether we triumph against the bullying or domination of certain structures, two animations have taught us lessons about being human. The Jury wishes to give the two animations, Brindis and The Sprayer,  this citation.

"We are very happy to have participated in this instance and pleasantly surprised to even win an award within the competition, "Brindis" means a lot to us since it is our first short film and that we made as our final thesis film to graduate from our digital animation course."  - Catalina Borquez Bugueño

"The Sprayer is the story of a dystopian city where it is forbidden to grow any kind of flowers, plants, and the army of sprayers protect this ban with quasi-robot clothes, suppress and arrest people who violate it, and destroy plants with their special gas, but
one of these soldiers changes his path from destruction to protection. When this idea came to my mind 12 years ago, it seemed a bit far-fetched, strange and pessimistic that one day there would be such hostility towards the existence of plants. But today, after events such as the pandemic, drying up of rivers, climate change, and the destruction of forests, etc., unfortunately, this horrible event is becoming a reality. Of course, with all the pessimism in the movie, I think even destroying the plant is more better than burning the book At the end of the film, with the scene of a plant sprouting at the foot of the statue of the sprayer leader, one can hope that maybe there is still a path to salvation and hope, even though it is small! There are people who are trying to save lives, but the sprayers are also serious about destruction Hoping for a world full of peace for all living beings on the planet Thank you." - Farnoosh Abedi

Bakunawa Fest 9 Winners

Here are the winners of Bakunawa Fest 9's Audience Awards, Box Office and Certificates of Distinction as Opening and Closing Films for the 9th edition of Philippines' first and longest running fantastic film festival. 


Certificate of Distinction [Opening Short Film]
Wong Asu (Legend of Dogman)  Directed by: Aco Tenriyagelli (Indonesia)

Here is a film that crosses the line in depicting humans as animals or is it the other way around - animals becoming humane under extreme circumstances? In the debut short film of the very promising Aco Tenriyagelli, produced by the dynamic and versatile Ajish Dibyo, we are transported to the world of Sukab, a dog thief who nourishes the appetites of dogeaters until tables were turned and his family becomes what he hunts: dogs. In a clever dark fantasy, Aco adapts the layered short story by his former lecturer, Seno Gumira Ajidarma, and transforms the metaphoric tale into a textured - figuratively in his adaptation and literally in his visual design - contemporary film that equals its loud barks with sharper bites. In an acute household devoid of mirrors, Sukab's family cannot see themselves becoming as dogs. Is this karma - as the characters in the original short story would accuse Sukab's family? Or are the people around them starting to see the family as reflection of themselves? In a world where everyone is quick to judge, it is very telling of how people cover up symptoms of their lives' deeper malaise. So when you see a human with a doghead and keeping in mind that you have not seen your reflection of late, would you dare shout at him 'Wongasu!'?  (from the notes of the Chief Programmer)

"Thank you Bakunawa Film Festival for choosing our short film WONGASU as an awardee for this year's edition. The film was adaptted from a short story written by Seno Gumira Ajidarma with the same title. The story is about dognapper who captures & slaughters a dog from rich housing complex. We made this film during the pandemic era as a
refflection of us as human beings. Are we really better than the animal that we consider to be mindless? Hope you enjoy the short film!" - Aco Tenriyagelli

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Certificate of Distinction [Opening Short Film]
Parallax Directed by: Hayato Nove (Japan)

Filmmaker Hayato Nove presents a Yin and Yang of things in Parallax. No specificity but touching on principles in life and presenting them as fragments that, if taken as a whole, creates a pointed critique of social issues. In a way, it is a statement on how people are divided by looks, spaces, beliefs and the consequences resulting from this division: misunderstanding, displacement, withdrawal, detachment, etc.  The film makes us feel that consequences distort the way of life and create a different kind of reality that may be far from what we expect and hope for. By focusing on the superficial and having that persona of how the public wants us to be, reality becomes a concept and a commodity at the same time, forming a template to maintain the status quo. Parallax aims to support individuality and would want to propose this as a way to counter - if not, balance - the current scheme of things. The visuals draw us to the film and the way the film smoothly transitions from one thought to the other with shapes melting and transforming into figures or new configurations, keeps us amazed . The unique approach to its animation is indicative of its themes, strongly resonating the message of submission of self and consciousness to an expanse where we are all free from the dictates of another individual or institution.. (from the notes of the Chief Programmer)

"I am very honored to receive such a wonderful award! Because there is no dialogue, I would appreciate it if you could feel the atmosphere and message of the work through the texture of the film and the music I wrote. From now on, I would like to continue to carefully create works while touching on social issues." - Hayato Nove

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Certificate of Distinction [Opening Short Film]
OparÁ  Directed by: Mateus Guedes (Brazil)

There is a particular kind of beauty in this film but one that is not completely based on its visuals. To listen to the sounds that the film's themes play is to move away from the chaos of urban struggles and understand deeply the longings of the soul. To long for something is to partake in a journey - sometimes alone, sometimes not. It is the quality of the journey that one draws its motivations to live a life of meaning. Like what it evokes, the film chronicles that journey, using magnificent landscapes to capture the feelings of its characters. Opara does not experiment on moods and feelings. It visualizes that bridge that connects the film to the audiences, allowing the latter to absorb whatever emotions they can keep as proof of the meaningful journey.  It is poetic as it is rhythmic; suffocating as it is breathtaking. (from the notes of the Chief Programmer)

"This achievement is even more special. We are very honored with the award and the distinction (as Opening Short) and thank the entire festival team and the jury." - Mateus Guedes


Certificate of Distinction as Closing Film
Khu Rừng Của Páo  (Pao's Forrest)
Directed by: Nguyễn Phạm Thành Đạt (Vietnam)

Young love as seen from a young perspective. To close with an indigenous film, featuring the Hmong People, captures Bakunawa Fest's spirit of not just defying expectations but setting unpredictable directions. What is fantastic in a short that dramatizes traditional way of life? Seeing it from the surface may not bring forth answers. The creativity of capturing a blossoming love from a defiant protagonist may tempt filmmakers to repeat tested cliches but the great use of space and a sincere fondness of its indigenous subject allow for a reexamination of how films test its genres. There is no attempt to make the indigenous a novelty as the issues explored by the film is very universal. Yet it poses a question to the new generation: How is it to proceed accommodating one's feelings? Should one surrender to tradition or simply follow the desires of one's heart? The same questions can be asked by a film programmer and this film is a fitting inspiration on how to move forward each year under varying situations and, oftentimes, faced with extreme emotions. (from the notes of the Chief Programmer)

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Box Office Champion (Full-length Features)
Audience Award (Full-length Features)

El Verano Que Te Vimos (The Summer We Saw You)
Directed by: Tomás Roldán (Argentina)


For the first time in the history of Bakunawa Fest (formerly, Bakunawa Young Cinema) there's already a Box Office Champion and Audience Award for full-length feature film and the first ever winner for both is "El Verano Que Te Vimos" from Argentina. Different from the Audience Award wherein voting is involved, The Box Office Champion is based on the analytics from our Bakunawa Video-on-Demand Channel and Wix analytics combined.

"The coming of age genre explores situations that in one way or another we all go through, moments where it hurts to grow. The Summer We Saw You tells the story of a group of friends, that could easily be your own. We hope that with this film we were able to capture even for a second, how special, delicate, and beautiful it is to come of age." - Tomás Roldán


Box Office Champion (Shorts / Music Videos)
Audience Award (Shorts / Music Videos)

Sa Kalaut Sang Katobtoban  (The End of Eternity)
Directed by: Jael Mathea Tipon (The Philippines)


The homegrown film "Sa Kalaot Sang Katobtoban" (The End of Eternity) directed by Bakunawa Winner and Film Camp alumni, Jael Mathea Tipon, wins Box Office Champion for all of the shorts including music videos. This gives the box office champion back to the Philippines which was won by Indonesia's Tris (Djenar Maesa Ayu) last 2021.  The End of Eternity is the third and last part of the "magic trilogy" that started with "Sa Punta Sang Balangaw" (The Edge of the Rainbow) - one of the Opening Films of Bakunawa Fest 7. "Balangaw" also won the Box Office Champion and the Audience Award in 2020. The second part of the trilogy ranked also high in the box office but failed to reach half of the views of two Indonesian films last year. 

"What a great honor for the production to win and accept the Box Office Champion and Audience Award of Bakunawa Fest---twice---with the first for “Sa Punta sang Balangaw” in 2021 and now for “Sa Kalaut sang Katobtoban” in 2023. Way back in 2020, never did the creators of Balangaw realize that we’d be coming up with a trilogy until the COVID-19 pandemic pushed us into exploring the new normal in filmmaking; thus, making “Sa Punta sang Balangaw” as the pilot that developed into the sequel, “Sa Dulonan sang Kinawala” and concluded in “Sa Kalaut sang Katobtoban.” Behind these short films bore our stories of struggles, survival, resilience, passion, little triumphs, and hope in the time of a pandemic, which Bakunawa Fest meaningfully captured. - Jael Mathea Tipon

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