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Pinoys win 2 top awards in Russia

By Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:10:00 09/22/2008

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Cinema

MANILA, Philippines?Controversial Filipino film ?Serbis? won two top awards at the 6th Pacific Meridian International Film Festival held in Vladivostok, Russia from Sept. 13 to 19.

Brillante Mendoza was named Best Director and lead star Gina Pareo, Best Actress.

?Serbis,? the RP entry in the main competition of the Cannes International Film Festival last May, received negative reviews from international critics. ?That?s why I feel vindicated now,? Mendoza told the Inquirer via SMS on Friday night.

The movie is about a family in Pampanga living in a decrepit theater that is a front for male prostitution.

Mendoza competed with 18 other filmmakers from Asia-Pacific countries, including the US, Korea, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and Russia.

Indian filmmaker Shivajee Chandrabhushan?s ?Frozen? won the Best Feature Grand Prix. Canadian director Anais Barbeau-Lavalette?s ?The Fight? won the Special Jury Prize.

According to the festival?s website, the Best Director award comes with a $15,000 cash prize; the Best Actress honor, with $10,000.

The all-female jury was headed by Denmark?s Vibeke Windelov who produced Lars von Trier?s films, including the Cannes 1996 Grand Jury Prize winner, ?Breaking the Waves.?

The members were Japanese actress Momoi Kaori, Korean producer Oh Jungwan, US producer Sarah Hoch and Russian director Svetlana Proskurina.

Prior to leaving for Russia, Mendoza wrote a letter to Rolando Andaya, secretary of the Department of Budget and Management, appealing the reimbursement of his expenses at the Cannes film fest.

Mendoza said he requested for P1.5 million but the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) approved only P1.1 million, which was reduced to P942,000 by the DBM.

In the end, Mendoza said he received only P696,097.20 five months after the Cannes event.

Lali Suzara, FDCP executive director, told the Inquirer that the grant was subject to government accounting procedures. ?Mendoza failed to produce required documents and receipts,? she said, so he didn?t get his full reimbursement.



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