‘Baconaua’ wins Best Film to lead Young Critics Circle film citations

Actress Elora Españo in a scene from 'Baconaua'

Joseph Israel Laban’s “Baconaua,” a rural drama involving a mythical sea serpent won Best Film of 2017 and Best Cinematography and Visual design for T.M. Malones and Marielle Hizon to lead all winners cited by the Young Critics Circle on Saturday, June 16.

The film was selected by the group of film critics and academics from the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University composed of Lisa Ito-Tapang (chair), Aristotle Atienza, Christian Benitez, Emerald Flaviano, J. Pilapil Jacobo, Skilty Labastilla, Noy Lauzon, and Jaime Oscar Salazar.

Originally an entry in the 2017 Cinemalaya International Film Festival, “Baconaua” won three awards in that festival including Best Director and Special Jury Prize. It went on to be invited to numerous international film festivals.

“I used to attend YCC awarding ceremonies in UP Bulwagang Rizal when I was a student and the dialogue with filmmakers and actors really inspired me back then. I’m really grateful to the YCC for recognizing Baconaua. I must say that it is a pleasant surprise and came at a most opportune time when I am again plagued with self doubt creatively and in my personal life,” Laban told Concept News Central in an interview following the YCC announcement.

Shireen Seño’s “Nervous Translation,” an entry in last year’s Cinema One Originals Film Festival was the only other film to win more than one YCC award as it was cited for Best Editing for Seño and John Torres as well as Best Sound and Aural Orchestration for Itos Ledesma and Mikko Quizon.

The YCC had only one acting award for Best Performance and it was won by Anthony Falcon for “Mga Gabing Kasinghaba ng Hair Ko” while James Robin Mayo’s “The Chanters” won Best Screenplay for John Paul Bedia, Andrian Legaspi, Ana Puod, and Mayo himself.

Mayo was also cited for his work on “The Chanters” as Best First Feature along with Thop Nazareno’s “Kiko Boksingero” and “Si Chedeng at si Apple” by Rae Red and Fatrick Tabada.

Accordin to the YCC, the citations were selected from a total of 150 films that were released in cinemas last year which were then narrowed to 20 films and later, down to seven. Except for the Best First Feature category, nominations for the six major categories can only come from the shortlist.

The awards ceremony for the cited winners is tentatively scheduled for August 30 at the UP Diliman Vargas Museum.