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Best short film and major awards announced for Cinemalaya 2021

By Kara Santos Published Aug 19, 2021 5:22 pm

The major awards for the 17th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival were announced in a live virtual ceremony held Thursday (August 19) hosted by Glaiza de Castro.

Beauty Queen by Myra Aquino, a film about Remedios Gomez, also known as Kumander Liwayway set in the Philippines during World War II, won Best Film.

Kids on Fire by Kyle Nieva, which tells the story of a prepubescent boy who discovers the power of his sexuality during a religious camp, won Best Screenplay and Best Direction.

An Sadit na Planeta (The Little Planet) by Arjanmar H. Rebeta, the filmmaker’s personal story as he explores a small planet amid the pandemic, won Audience Choice Award, Special Jury Prize and NETPAC Jury Prize Award.

The 10 other finalists who competed for the Balanghai awards this year include:

  • Ang Mga Nawawalang Pag-asa at Panlasa (The Lost Hopes and Flavors) by Kevin Jay Ayson - a documentary on the quest of finding “pagkaing iloco” in the midst of a pandemic
  • Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi by Shiri De Leon -  virginal old woman hires a callboy to change her perspective about men
  • Ate O.G. by Kevin Mayuga - a struggling aging house helper who finds herself going through an unexpected and uplifting experience.
  • Crossing by Marc Misa - a desperate robber is forced to choose whether he should become a hero to his victims or fall victim to a robbery himself
  • Kawatan sa Salog (A Toy in the River) by Alphie Velasco is about a mischievous child who learns the value of time and life as he finds his way back home to his father
  • Looking for Rafflesias and other Fleeting Things by James Fajardo - how a tikbalang transforms into a teenage boy to disprove the rumor that horse demons are killing civilians in the mountain
  • Maski Papano (I Mask Go On) by Che Tagyamon and Glenn Barit - a disposed facemask turns into a humanoid and starts an adventure looking for its previous owner.
  • Namnama En Lolang (Grandmother's Hope) by Jonnie Lyn P. Dasalla - a grandmother and her baby grandson find solace in each other and face the harsh reality of the pandemic together.
  • Out of Body by Enrico Po takes the audience in a macabre commercial shoot with a young model
  • The Dust In Your Place by David Olson - career and friendship are on the line when a comic strip artist tells her writer the truths about his relationships

In case you haven't had a chance to catch the short films, Cinemalaya 2021 is still streaming online via the platform and viewers can still watch the films until September 5, 2021.

The short films are grouped into two sets, with each set priced at P150 each. Ticket prices will be on a pay-per-view basis. A few selections are also available for free via

As part of this year’s online exhibition, CCP is hosting a Virtual Reality Cinemalaya Experience called "Currents" produced by the CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division, which viewers can view at home using VR headsets.

A special "Cinema Under the Stars" outdoor screening of select films at the CCP Grounds, will also be held from September 2 to 4, 2021 at 4:00 PM, 7:00 PM, and 9:00 PM at the Liwasang Ulalim, CCP Complex in Manila. Tickets will be priced at P250 per section, with payment via KTX.

(Images via Cinemalaya)