WINNERS: Metro Manila Film Festival 2016

Here is the complete list of winners of the 42nd Metro Manila Film Festival as announced December 29, Thursday night at Kia Theater in Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Irma Adlawan, ORO
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Paolo Ballesteros, DIE BEAUTIFUL
Best Picture: SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN
Special Jury Prize: Rhed Bustamante, SEKLUSYON

Best Ensemble Cast: ORO
Best Supporting Actress: Phoebe Walker, SEKLUSYON
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bables, DIE BEAUTIFUL

Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award: SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN
Best Director: Erik Matti, SEKLUSYON
Best Screenplay: SEKLUSYON
Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award for Excellence: ORO

Male Celebrity of the Night: Ronnie Alonte
Female Celebrity of the Night: Rhian Ramos

Best Cinematography: SEKLUSYON
Best Editing: SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN
Best Production Design: SEKLUSYON

Best Original Theme Song: “Dominus Miserere” – SEKLUSYON
Best Musical Scoring: SAVING SALLY
Best Sound Design: SEKLUSYON

My Most Favorite Film awardee: DIE BEAUTIFUL
Children’s Choice: VINCE & KATH & JAMES • SAVING SALLY • SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN
Best Float: DIE BEAUTIFUL

Best Short Film: EJK
Short Film – Special Jury Prize: MANILA SCREAM
Short Film – Best Screenplay: MITATANG
Short Film – Best Work for Children: PASSAGE OF LIFE
Best Short Film Director: Jarell Serencio, MGA BITOON SA SIYUDAD

Michael Fassbender stars in game-to-movie adaptation of ‘Assassin’s Creed’

The action-packed and breathtaking game-to-movie adaptation “Assassin’s Creed” starring Michael Fassbender follows dual characters Callum Lynch and Aguilar de Nehra in the modern day and 15th Century Spain respectively. In the 15th Century, Aguilar is joined by Maria, a more experienced Assassin than him, who is his most trusted ally. In the modern day, Cal finds himself at the Abstergo facility with a rag-tag bunch of fellow inmates who are all suffering from the effects of prolonged exposure to the Animus, and have their own ancestral Assassin legacies.

From the onset, director Justin Kurzel was adamant about filming as much of “Assassin’s Creed” as possible without relying on green screens and computer-generated imagery.

As one of the video gaming industry’s most popular and beloved franchises, “Assassin’s Creed” is famous for its heart-pounding action sequences. The series was among the first to prominently feature Parkour as a major gameplay element, with Assassins breathlessly vaulting over the rooftops of cities including Jerusalem, Florence, Paris and London.

“We’re shooting a lot with real people, in real locations, on top of real churches with real light,” Kurzel said. “We’re building a lot of the sets to make something that is real and cinematic.”

“There’s very little green screen in this, which is highly unusual in these films,” adds Fassbender. “We have stunt guys jumping across buildings in [Maltese capital] Valletta. We’ve got (stunt man Damian Walters) doing a 120-foot leap of faith, without any rope, into a bag, so it’s pretty incredible to see.”

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For his big-screen adaptation, Kurzel sought to amplify that dizzying style with thundering carriage chases, elaborate sword fights, and close hand-to-hand combat. The director also realized the film had to prominently feature the Leap of Faith, a signature Assassin’s Creed move in which Assassins leap from the edge of buildings and plummet gracefully to the ground below, landing on their backs in water or bales of hay. “What happens if you do a real Leap of Faith?” Kurzel asked. “What would happen if you actually saw Assassins jump from building to building? The great thing about cinema is that you can bring that human element into it, where the audience responds and reacts to the idea that they are watching real human beings actually put the effort and danger in doing those things.”

Kurzel and his team tapped some of the top Parkour talents to determine how to stage the action of Assassin’s Creed without relying on extensive CG trickery. The production then travelled to some of the most visually stunning corners of the globe in the hopes of capturing one-of-a-kind sequences that would offer viewers an immersive—and realistic—experience.

“I never wanted the film to feel like superheroes,” Kurzel says. “I wanted you to look at it and think, Wow, there are human beings doing that and they are doing it like Olympians, as opposed to filming on a parking lot with green screen. You can feel that artifice. That is probably why we went toward a more old-school approach, to make the whole film feel more human and more intimate.”

“Assassin’s Creed” opens January 4, 2017 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

Zoe Saldana captures the heart of Ben Affleck in ‘Live by Night’

Known to global audiences as Gamora and Uhura in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Trek franchises, respectively, Zoe Saldana now portrays the exotic Graciela in Warner Bros. Pictures’ new gangster film Live by Night.

Directed by Ben Affleck, Live by Night tells the story of Joe Coughlin (Affleck), a WWI vet who’s a self-proclaimed anti-establishment outlaw, despite being the son of the Boston Police Deputy Superintendent. Joe’s not all bad, though; in fact, he’s not really bad enough for the life he’s chosen. Unlike the gangsters he refuses to work for, he has a sense of justice and an open heart, and both work against him, leaving him vulnerable time and again—in business and in love.

Joe signs on with the Italian mob and is dispatched to Tampa, Florida where he almost immediately encounters Graciela. He is instantly intrigued, even more so when he learns that she and her brother control something integral to the success of the rum business: molasses.

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Saldana’s Graciela is a Cuban living in Ybor, a multi-ethnic, multi-racial community of hardworking immigrants, known for the production of cigars. “Joe’s been working with barbaric, violent criminals his whole life, so there’s an integrity to the people, Graciela’s people, that Joe finds appealing,” she suggests. “And Graciela is unlike other women he’s known. She’s educated, she’s traveled and studied music and art. She’s very cultured and also very smart when it comes to her family’s business.”

Perhaps what sets Graciela apart from the women in Joe’s past is what she really wants out of life. “I don’t think Graciela woke up in Cuba and said to herself, ‘I want to date gangsters, I want to live on the dark side,’” Saldana adds. “I think she wants a full life with a good man, a home, children. The more time she spends with Joe, the more she realizes that she could have all that with this man. She sees who he really is, who he could be, if he could wash away all the bad that he does at night by doing good during the day. She sees his redemption.”

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Affleck states, “Zoe was amazing. She was able to convey all the strength and confidence and elusiveness of the character that draw Joe in, but it’s Graciela’s expectations of him that give him something to strive for, which Zoe played so quietly yet powerfully.”

Producer Jennifer Todd concurs, “We were lucky to get Zoe because she has all these beautiful qualities, a lightness and grace, that suit Graciela so well, and she already speaks Spanish, but she applied an exquisite Cuban accent to her dialogue.”

Opening across the Philippines on January 18, 2017, Live By Night is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.