‘Firefly’ and ‘GomBurZa’ Take Top Awards at the Inaugural Manila International Film Festival

(l-r) Joy Marcelo, Angeli Atienza, Ysabel Ortega and Atty. Annette Gozon-Valdes represents the “Firefly” team at the Manila International Film Festival Closing Night Awards Gala held at the Directors Guild Of America. ©Katie Ortiz.


Front Row Features

HOLLYWOOD-It was a successful film festival run as the Manila International Film Festival held its inaugural week long fest at the TCL Chinese Theater in partnership with the Metro Manila Film Festival as the films “Firefly” and “GomBurza” won top prizes during the closing night gala awards show . As part of its mission to showcase Filipino films on the world stage in Hollywood, the top ten films at the 49th Annual Metro Manila Film Festival were presented at the festival.

The various talent and crew from the films flew out to the festival to support their films with question and answer session after the film screenings. For the history based film “GomBurZa,” film director Pepe Diokno was joined with cinematographer Carlo Mendoza and cast members Enchong Dee, Piolo Pascual and Cedrick Juan during the sold out screening of the film. While film director Pepe Diokno said it the last three years of the Metro Manila Film Festival  has been challenging but has now rebounded and with the exportation of the “GomBurZa” at the Manila International Film Festival, it’s a breath of fresh air to share the film with audiences in a movie theater. Diokno added, “I hope that while we’re here, we get to connect through audiences here.”

Aside from the screenings, MIFF held varius panels including SAG Panel Mixer sponsored by FilAm Arts, “How To Award Season Your. Film/TV” panel hosted by Winston Emano, Mayors Mixer featuring various mayors from the Philippines discussing the state of producing films/tv in various location in the Philippines and FDCP roundtable on encouraging producers/director to shoot their next project in the Philippines.

The film festival ended the week with an awards gala held at the Directors Guild of America with awards presented in the following categories: Best Picture, Special Jury Prize, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Cinematography, Audience Award, Best Screenplay, The Monty Manibog Lifetime Achievement Award and the Trailblazer Award.

Best Picture went to “Firefly” while the 2nd Best Picture went to “GomBurza.” GomBurZa also won the audience award and best cinematography.  “Firefly” also took home the award for best screenplay (Angeli Atienza) best director (Zig Dulay), best actor (Dingdong Dantes) and best supporting actress (Alessandra De Rossi).

Veteran actress Hilda Coronel received the Monty Manibog Lifetime Achievement Award. Hilda Coronel said it was an honor to receive the award. Hilda added, “I started when I was twelve years old and now I’m almost seventy so to get this award is so fantastic and very humbling.”

(l-r) Piolo Pascual of “Mallari” and Dingdong Dantes of “Firefly” both win Best Actor (tie) during the Manila International Film Festival Closing Night Awards Gala held at the Directors Guild Of America on Friday, February 2, 2024. ©Katie Ortiz.

The full list of winners are:

Best Picture – “Firefly”

2nd Best Picture – “GomBurZa”

Audience Award – “GomBurZa”

Best Director – Zig Dulay, “Firefly”

Best Screenplay – Anjeli Atienza, “Firefly”

Best Actor – Piolo Pascual for “Mallari” and Dingdong Dantes for “Rewind” (tie)

Best Actress – Vilma Santos, “When I Met You In Tokyo”

Best Supporting Actor – Pepe Herrera, “Rewind”