Monday, March 17, 2008

‘Inang Yaya’ takes the bronze in Cairo

By Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:08:00 03/17/2008

MANILA, Philippines - Unitel Pictures’ “Inang Yaya” won the bronze prize at the 18th Cairo International Film Festival for Children on March 13.

The movie, directed by Pablo Biglang-awa and Veronica Velasco, competed with eight feature films from Sweden, the Netherlands, India, Finland, Japan, Greece, Croatia and Austria.

Finland’s “Mystery of the Wolf,” directed by Raimo O Niemi, won the gold prize; the silver went to Japan’s “Boy Meets Ghosts,” directed by Nobuo Mizuta.

The International Jury Prize went to India’s “Care of Footpath,” directed by 12-year-old director/actor/editor Kishan Shrikanth Shylaja.

In an e-mail to Inquirer Entertainment, the directors said that they had traveled to Egypt “not expecting anything.”

“Overwhelming” was how they described the response to the film.

The screening, held at the Small Theater of the Cairo Opera House on March 10, was “packed … [with the audience consisting mostly] of Egyptian children,” said Biglang-awa, adding that, in spite of the language and cultural differences, “they got it. Even the kids understood the film’s message.”

At a press conference held after the screening, a child participant told the filmmakers that he had picked up the importance of “equality” from the film.

The Maricel Soriano starrer is about a nanny who struggles to give equal love and care to her ward and her own child.

A children’s book writer from Egypt said parents can learn a lot from the movie, said Biglang-awa. He noted that the entire Philippine embassy, led by Ambassador Oscar Valenzuela, came in full force.

“Feedback here is instantaneous,” Valenzuela told the Pinoy directors.

“We hope our own government can also organize a children’s festival, to encourage future generations of Filipino filmmakers,” said Biglang-awa.

Last November, “Inang Yaya” won three awards—silver for Live Action Feature, silver for Direction, and Child Jury Award Gold Plaque at the Golden Elephant International Children’s Festival in India.

The filmmakers thanked Unitel and the Film Development Council of the Philippines for making the Cairo trip possible.

“When we made our movie, we never imagined it would be screened in Egypt,” Biglang-awa said.