MALAYA: Film on small-time crooks bags prize in Berlin fest

By ANTHONY IAN CRUZ
Malaya
February 20, 2008

Tirador,” a digital movie about the life and survival of small-time crooks, bagged the Caligari Film Prize at the 58th Berlinale International Film Festival held February 7 to 17.

“Tirador,” directed by Brillante “Dante” Mendoza, is the first Filipino film to be screened in the Berlin Forum where new or unconventional films come together and find an audience known for its enthusiasm and discerning cinematic eye.

The Caligari prize is conferred by the German Federal Association of Communal Film Work in cooperation with Filmdienst magazine. The winning film is awarded 4,000 Euros, half of which is given to the director, and the other half is granted to its German film distributor.

“Tirador” (international title is “Slingshot”) is an intimate glimpse into the lives of criminals who have to deal with police raids and other hardships on the gritty streets of Manila. The film premiered at the UP Film Institute on Dec. 3, 2007.

The cast of “Tirador” is composed of Coco Martin, Jiro Manio, Kristoffer King, and Nathan Lopez with the special participation of Jaclyn Jose, Simon Ibarra, and Julio Diaz. The independent film, shot in 10 days, was produced by Centerstage Productions.

The 2008 jury described “Tirador” as “a thematically innovative and stylistically creative film, which successfully exposes the audience to events, rather than aiming at identification and involving them emotionally.”

Co-director Anima Aguiluz received the Caligari award on behalf of Mendoza.

Another Filipino film cited in the 2008 Berlin film fest is the Filipino-Icelandic gay production “The Amazing Truth about Queen Raquela,” which won the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film.

The Teddy Awards are given to films that have a gay and/or lesbian context.

The Amazing Truth about Queen Raquela” is directed by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson and stars Raquela Rios and Stefan Schaefer.

Aside from “Tirador,” four other Filipino films shown in the Forum section were “Tribu” by Jim Libiran, “The Muzzled Horse of an Engineer in Search of Medical Saddles” by Khavn dela Cruz, “Balikbayan Box” by Mes de Guzman’s, and “Years When I Was a Child Outside” by John Torres.

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