These are the winners of the QCinema International Film Festival which took place from November 17 – 26, 2022 in Quezon City, Philippines.
Asian Next Wave
A charismatic retired military general returns to his hometown to run for an election. Rikib, a young man, succeeds in his father’s career assisting the retired general. The veteran treats Rikab as if he were his own son, giving life lessons earned by experiences. That is all about the cold and cruel reality of the world by the law of the jungle and the fear of power. One day, he finds an election poster with his face damaged, and gets furious. Rikib tries to find the offender, but this leads to an irreversible catastrophe. Director Makbul Mubarak was born in Indonesia and graduated from Korea National University of Arts. An alumnus of BIFF Asian Film Academy and Torino Film Lab, Mubarak has made a stunning debut feature. Autobiography is skillfully directed by the young director, and the two main actors give flawless performances. Although it is the Post-Suharto era in Indonesia today, the hanging echoes of violence in the absurd society and the chains of personal ironies are still entangled giving a long lingering impression and thoughts. (BOO Kyunghwan)
Jury remarks: For a remarkable feature debut commandeered by two riveting lead performances, offering a very intense, haunting cinematic experience. It’s a deliberately paced, slow-burn drama with serious socio-political implications that shows a director who’s hitting the ground running with a film that unanimously impressed the jury.”
NETPAC Jury Award
On an impulse to reconnect with her origins, 25-year-old Freddie returns to South Korea for the first time, where she was born before being adopted and raised in France. The headstrong young woman starts looking for her biological parents in a country she knows so little about, taking her life in new and unexpected directions. (TGHFF 2022)
Jury Remarks: For a remarkable feature debut commandeered by two riveting lead performances, offering a very intense, haunting cinematic experience. It’s a deliberately paced, slow-burn drama with serious socio-political implications that shows a director who’s hitting the ground running with a film that unanimously impressed the jury.”
Best Lead Performance
When Japan’s population of citizens over seventy-five grows to unprecedented numbers, the government implements “Plan 75,” which encourages people over age 75 to seek euthanasia. This policy is based on the perception that the elderly’s contribution to the economy is insufficient to cover the rising healthcare and social welfare expenditures for the elderly. On television people testify that they are happy to be able to choose euthanasia. The government announces that it will fund final trips and funerals for those who opt for euthanasia. While The Ballad of Narayama (1983) tells a story set in the past about an old woman who chooses death to ensure the community’s sustenance, Plan 75 is set in the near future when the government urges the elderly to die. The film became a social issue upon its release in Japan, and it also sends a heavy message to Korean society. (NAM Dong-chul)
Artistic Contribution Award
Jury Remarks: For its controlled yet engaging design of an imagined near future where life or death becomes a choice and existence is diminished to muted tones of sadness and resignation. For the intelligent re-creation of dystopia pegged on reality and never bordering the fantastic.
Inspired by the director’s mother, Ajoomma is the story of a middle-aged, Korean-drama obsessed widow from Singapore, who travels out of the country for the first time to Seoul in South Korea and ends up getting lost. Her journey becomes an unexpected road of self-discovery, as she comes to terms with the life that she truly wants to have for herself. (TGHFF 2022)
Best Short Film
Trapped at home with his talking cat, BOLD seeks refuge in the strong arms of strange men as together they venture deep down into the nether regions of the Internet in search of true happiness. Caught in the tangle of technology and social media, he wonders to his cat about his place in the world. If he spreads his wings, can he fly? (QCinema 2022)
Jury Remarks: For stitching a visual vernacular of today’s technological tools, articulating a timely and queer political critique that captures anger, loneliness, frustration, boredom and alienation amidst the pandemic.
NETPAC Jury Prize
Luzonensis is a prehistoric hominid who is about to leave overseas to be a migrant worker. Hours before departing, he discovers that his passport is missing. Together with his father, they retrace their path to find it. Luzonensis ponders on who he is and his place in this country as their backs ache along the way. (QCinema 2022)
Jury Remarks: For its absurdist depiction of an internal dilemma and irony that the first discovered Filipino must also become a regular overseas contract worker.
Audience Choice Award
Gender Sensitivity Award
Along a river that undergoes a major change, Baby, a middle-aged transwoman, shuttles between her job as a companion-for-hire for strangers and her duty to her father. As the people around Baby start to disappear, she realizes that she has been left behind in a stagnating city. (QCinema 2022)
Jury Remarks: For its measured vivid and heartbreaking portrayal of a transwoman and a city in their meandering routines of neglect, survival and melancholia.