Six fabulous females of local filmdom received special awards during the celebratory Opening Night that launched the week-long Feminist Centennial Film Festival from November 23-29, 2005 at the Shang Cineplex.
The six awardees were Marilou Diaz-Abaya for Outstanding Achievement in Film Direction; Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos for Film Acting; Lualhati Bautista for Screenplay Writing; and “Mother” Lily Monteverde and Charo Santos-Concio for Film Production.
Each awardee received a trophy designed and created by the mother-daughter team of Julie Lluch and Aba Dalena. The Opening Night also saw the unveiling of the special photo exhibit chronicling the “herstory” of Pinay Feminism and Women in Cinema. The Filmfest, the Awards Night, the Photo Exhibit, the symposia and provincial tour are all part of the project organized by the Communication Foundation for Asia for the Feminist Centennial Year.
In her article “Women In Cinema”, Rina Jimenez-David, member of the Filmfest Advisory Committee, explains: “Few of these women may have thought of themselves as feminists or even as advocates of women’s equality with men. But if one of the cornerstones of feminism and gender fairness is freeing both women and men from the ‘boxes’ in which social expectations have imprisoned and categorized them, then these women are feminists in spirit and in their work. Indeed they are sisters in the struggle.”
All six women gave inspirational responses as they accepted their trophies.
Charo Santos-Concio spoke about womanhood: “In any role I play in life, I would like to think that only I can define myself. I have to be a whole person first and foremost before I could be a mother, a daughter or a wife. I am happy that I have come full circle. Now, I have come to completion as a person regardless of sex…The triumph of feminism is when it ceases to exist as an agenda.”
Lily Monteverde talked about her dream: “This is a dream. All the tears, pains in my life as a woman, as a producer…I am very proud to have this award. I will always continue to move on because I love movies and this is my passion. ”
Marilou Diaz-Abaya spoke of her vision: “I thank you very much for giving value to film as a very important medium of storytelling. I just hope that we, as women filmmakers, can help raise the next generation of filmmakers who will see the world not through one eyepiece but with two eyes.”
Lualhati Bautista wrote of women’s struggle: “Each woman’s story is a love story after all, and from the challenges at home had emerged the struggles that we brought into the streets and in the halls of congress, and in cinema…I have learned to write what I believe in, learned to speak my mind and my heart through my writings. That made homage to my mother and her mother, my sisters and my brothers, my friends and strangers alike.”
Vilma Santos relayed her message of gratitude for women’s contributions: “I would like to share this award with those women who dare transform the screen characters, stories and issues about women, thus, raising the consciousness of our women, helping them gain a deeper understanding of their lives and situations, and acquire – to borrow the phrase of a filmmaker – the ability to control their lives and make choices of their own…Who else could best empower our women, except women themselves?”
Nora Aunor sent a message of appreciation and solidarity: “Ipinararating ni Nora Aunor ang pakikiisa sa pagdiriwang na ito ng Feminist Centennial Movement, ibinabalik niya ang pagkikilala sa lahat ng kababaihan sa iba’t ibang panahon na namulat sa pagsulong ng progresibong kamalayan ng kababaihan.”