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‘Firefly’ leads Manila International Film Festival winners

by Joanna Deala

SEVERAL official entries for the 49th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) were once again recognized, this time, at the recently concluded Manila International Film Festival (MIFF). 

The film that won big at the MIFF was the Zig Dulay-helmed fantasy movie “Firefly.”

“Firefly” led the list of MIFF winners with its four awards: the Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Alessandra de Rossi, Best Screenplay for Angeli Atienza, and Best Director for Dulay. 

The MIFF, which aims to promote Filipino-made films in Hollywood and in other countries, was held on Saturday, February 3 (Manila time), in Los Angeles, California.

Produced by GMA Pictures and GMA Public Affairs, the fantasy movie follows the story of a young man named Tonton who eagerly embarks on a journey to find the “island of fireflies,” following his mother’s passing. Along the way, he meets three individuals who will help him reach the mystical island that his mother Elay claimed could grant wishes.

The young Tonton was portrayed by child actor Euwenn Mikaell Aleta, while the adult version was played by seasoned actor Dingdong Dantes.

Meanwhile, actress de Rossi gave life to the character of Elay.

Also part of the cast were Cherry Pie Picache, Yayo Aguila, Epy Quizon, Miguel Tanfelix, and Ysabel Ortega.

Dulay and de Rossi both shared their awards on their respective social media pages.

“OMG!!! Mga kapitbahay, BEST DIRECTOR tayo sa Manila International Film Festival. Umabot tayo sa hollywood!” the filmmaker said in an Instagram post.

De Rossi, on the other hand, thanked the award-giving body for recognizing her performance in “Firefly.”

“Firefly,” which was first screened in December 2023 along with nine other official MMFF entries, bagged three awards at the 49th MMFF Gabi ng Parangal: Best Child Performer (for Aleta), Best Screenplay (for Atienza), and Best Picture.

Other MIFF winners

Dantes and Piolo Pascual were both named Best Actors for their performance in “Rewind” and “Mallari,” respectively.

Photo courtesy: Screenshot from @dongdantes’ Instagram story

“Rewind,” directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar, recently set a new record for the highest Filipino film of all time, earning a total worldwide gross of P902 million, according to Star Cinema.

It surpassed the previous record set by Alden Richards and Kathryn Bernardo’s film “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” which raked P880 million in global gross sales.

“Star for All Seasons” Vilma Santos was named Best Actress for her role in “When I Met You In Tokyo.” Meanwhile, Pepe Herrera won the Best Supporting Actor award. Santos also took home the Best Actress award at the December 2023 Gabi ng Parangal.

The historical film GomBurZa—which follows the story of three martyr priests named Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora—won the second Best Picture, the Audience Choice Award, and Best Cinematography for Carlo Mendoza.

The comedy film “Becky and Badette” won the Special Jury Prize.

The Trailblazer Awards were given to Mark Dacascos, Romando Artes, and Rochelle Ona.

Hilda Koronel was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.



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