FDCP’s Film Ambassadors’ Night Returns to Physical Attendance; New Film Ambassadors Grace the Newly Reopened MET

After holding the Film Ambassadors’ Night virtually last 2021 because of the pandemic, the celebration finally returned as an in-person event at the newly renovated cultural treasure, the majestic Metropolitan Theater, last Sunday, February 27. Filmmakers, performers, artists, film workers, members of the media, and supportive friends and family celebrated a night of cultural pride at the 6th edition of the Film Ambassadors’ Night, hosted by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). 

From left to right: Representatives of Feature Film Honoree, Midnight in a Perfect World, Glaiza de Castro, Betti Lapus, Dodo Dayao, Patti Lapus, Armi Cacanindin

The 77 new Film Ambassadors were feted on stage in recognition of their success for connecting Filipino talents to the world in showcasing quality and worthwhile films in the global cinema scene.

Feature film and A-List Citation Awardee, Director Khavn dela Cruz for Balangiga: Howling Wilderness, Gunam-gunam x Guni-guni (Rumi x Phantasm), and Love is a Dog from Hell

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño welcomed guests remarking, “It is truly incredible to be able to celebrate in hybrid and in person for the first time in the last two years. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to finally meet all of you personally and hear your stories of challenges, of coping, and of creating amazing stories out of all kinds of inspiration.”

Actor Honorees, Cedrik Juan and Ana Luna for Gitarista

There were 25 honorees for the Short Film category, 9 for documentaries, 2 creative awards, 7 actors, 3 directors, 9 feature films, and 2 special citations were awarded and given their well-deserved moment. 

Actor Honoree, Snooky Serna for In the Name of the Mother

Among the notable celebrities and distinguished names in the industry who graced the event were Glaiza de Castro, Janine Gutierrez, Snooky Serna, Director Khavn de la Cruz and Director Joel Lamangan.

Actor Honoree, Janine Gutierrez for Dito at Doon

Dito at Doon star Janine Gutierrez shared, “Never po kasi kami naka-attend ng actual film festivals for Dito at Doon, so this is actually the first time that there’s a physical event na mapupuntahan ko with regards sa mga nagawa kong pelikula – sobrang excited po ako.”

In 2021, the country received 13 hard-earned spots at A-List Festivals which are already a recognition itself. Some of the most prestigious in the global festivals are Toronto International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, and Venice International Film Festival, where Filipino films won in various categories. To give merit to these victories, Gensan Punch by Brilante Mendoza, Whether The Weather Is Fine (Kun Maupay Man It Panahon) by Carlo Francisco Manatad, and Mr. John Arcilla were all awarded as A-Lister Film Ambassadors. 

Mendoza and Manatad weren’t able to be present physically but were able to send their acceptance videos to share the stories of their big wins, while Arcilla graced the event and received his award on stage. 

The FDCP also conferred the Gabay ng Industriya Award to individuals who have made outstanding accomplishments during their long careers, becoming respected pillars of the Philippine film industry. Tribute videos were presented for each of the Haligi ng Industriya and Ilaw ng Industriya Awardees which inspired heartfelt messages from friends from the industry and beloved family. 

FDCP Chairperson and CEO, Liza Diño with Councilor Jana Ejercito

Councilor Jana Ejercito shared his father Mr. Jesse Ejercito’s message of thanks to the audience for his Haligi ng Industriya Award. Ms. Rosa Rosal’s daughter, actress Toni Rose Gayda and grandnephew, news anchor William Thio shared the stage to receive the Ilaw ng Industriya Award for Ms. Rosal.

FDCP Chairperson and CEO, Liza Diño with William Thio and Toni Rose Gayda

The highest honor granted by the FDCP for exceptional films or individuals that blazed new trails in various fields of cinema is the Camera Obscura Excellence Award which was bestowed on Mr. John Arcilla.  His film On the Job: The Missing 8 (OTJ) was also awarded the Camera Obscura which was received by producer Dondon Monteverde who also gave a few words about their OTJ journey and shared the recognition and congratulations to their director, Erik Matti and to their world-class actors. 

Camera Obscura Awardee, Dondon Moteverde, producer of On the Job: The Missing 8 

Monteverde said in his speech, “Mahaba talaga ang naging journey ng project na ito. Masayang masaya kami sa mga naabot namin, being acknowledged at prestigious festivals like Venice is already a big honor for us. Dahil dito, we want to continue doing content like this. As I always tell my peers: continue dreaming, never give up, dahil world-class talaga ang mga Pilipino.”

Mr. John Arcilla was physically present to personally receive his Camera Obscura Award which he dedicated to his family, colleagues in the project, mentors from the industry, and those who brought him to winning his Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. 

Camera Obscura & A-List Awardee, Mr. John Arcilla for On the Job: The Missing 8

“An actor is a mirror of everything that is happening within and outside him. An actor’s work is a reflection of everything that surrounds him. A film should entertain and liberate minds. Nawa po ay patuloy tayong gumawa ng mga pelikula na lalong magpapakilala sa makulay na kultura at kasaysayan ng Pilipinas sa mundo, upang makita nila iyong sinasabi ko na hindi tayo naiiba sa kanila,” Arcilla said as he expressed his gratitude to the industry. 

Capping the night is FDCP Chairperson Diño’s spiel emphasizing that the organization draws inspiration from its filmmaker-honorees.  “Thank you for the films that form our cinematic culture. May the success of all the Film Ambassadors in the last five years and up until today crystallize our place in world cinema.”

This year’s Film Ambassadors’ Night highlighted the dedication of these filmmakers for overcoming a challenging year of creating films because of the global health issue. The theme “Beyond Limits” magnifies that despite the restrictions that caused setbacks, these filmmakers persevered and were still able to show the world what Philippine cinema is all about.

Actress and host, Kakki Teodoro brought glitter to the show as the master of the ceremonies. Performances from the Dance Royalties, Pogi Boys, and the youngest member of the Philippine Opera Company, 13-year-old Alexa Isobel Kaufman, afforded the socially-distanced live audience quite an entertaining evening. 

Performer, Alexa Kaufman

This 6th Film Ambassadors’ Night was made possible through a partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). In his short video of support, NCCA Chairperson Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso sent his warmest felicitations to the FDCP and all who contribute to the nation’s art and culture. FDCP also partnered with CMB Film Services for their assistance with technical facilities and crew for the grand celebration. The event was directed by singer-songwriter and film and event director Ice Seguerra.

The 6th Film Ambassadors’ Night will have its telecast exclusively via the FDCP Channel on March 12, 2022, Saturday, at 8PM. Stay tuned to the social media pages of the Film Development Council of the Philippines for access and instructions.