Congress to honor winning Filipino filmmaker

By on January 3, 2015

(Facebook photo)
Writer and director Jason Paul Laxamana (Facebook photo)

MANILA — The House of Representatives is set to honor writer and director Jason Paul Laxamana whose film “Magkakabaung” (The Coffin Maker) won the Best Asian Film Award for the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) category in the 3rd Hanoi International Film Festival (HANIFF) held in Hanoi, Vietnam on November 27, 2014.

The 3rd Hanoi International Film Festival was organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in conjunction with the Hanoi People’s Committee, the municipal department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam Cinema Department. It kicked off in Hanoi on November 23 with the theme “Cinema – Integration and Sustainable Development”.

In House Resolution 1744, Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd Dist., Quezon City) said out of 411 movies submitted from all over the world, 130 from 32 countries and territories were selected to attend the festival. They competed in different categories including Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, Best Feature Film Director, Best Short Film Director, Best Actor and Actress in Leading Roles.

The films were screened in National Cinema Centre, Cineplex CGV Vincom Centre, CGV Cinema Mipec Tower, August Cinema and Kim Dong Theatre with free admission. Vietnam sent two feature films and 12 short films to the festival.

According to Castelo, aside from the competition, a number of activities were held on the sidelines of the event, including a workshop on cooperation on film production, a conference on independent film production and experience from the Philippines, a film project market, HANIFF 2014 Campus for talents and an exhibition to introduce Vietnam’s film scene and popular destinations.

The Coffin Maker, produced in the Kapampangan language, tells the story of a casket factory worker, played by actor Allen Dizon, who brought up his eight-year old daughter alone after his wife left him, and then accidentally caused the death of the girl by administering the wrong medication.

It presented the coffin maker’s attempts at erasing his guilt and remorse even as he faced difficulties in getting his daughter’s body discharged from the hospital and buried her.

Dizon won the Best Actor Award for this film. He won his first international Best Actor award for the same movie at the 9th Harlem International Film Festival in New York held on September 14, 2014.

Meanwhile, this was the very first international film award for Laxamana, who graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, and champions locally produced films by organizing film festivals and workshops. He is currently the Luzon Representative of the National Committee on Cinema (NCCA SCA).

According to the Cinemalaya’s website, while an undergraduate student, he became a production assistant under directors Jeffrey Jeturian and Maryo J. De Los Reyes. He worked as script supervisor in Star Cinema’s “A Love Story,” a 2007 film by De Los Reyes.

In 2008, he worked in the same position in Brillante Mendoza’s “Serbis.” After making various Kapampangan short films and music videos in his home province, he made his first feature film in 2010 when his screenplay for “Astro Mayabang” became a finalist in the Cinema One Originals Gil Festival in 2010, which won the Audience Choice Award. In 2012, he successfully completed the Star Cinema Scriptwriting Workshop under Ricky Lee and Amor Olaguer.

“Laxamana deserves all the praises, honors and recognition for bringing pride, glory and honor to the country,” Castelo said.