The 37th Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) Luna Awards is an award-giving body like no other in the country. It is a standout in the industry because it is by the peers and for the peers. Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño explained, “It’s really actresses voting for Best Actress, editors voting for the nominees for Best Editing, cinematographers voting for Best Cinematography. It is the counterpart of the Oscars in the U.S.”
What makes the voting process of the 2019 FAP Luna Awards more special is that its Voters are all past nominees and winners of the FAP Luna Awards and other distinguished award-giving bodies. Its Electoral College is composed of active film workers in the industry with Citers, Nominators, and Voters comprising the entire body. FDCP and FAP have engaged such film workers to vote for and recognize this year’s esteemed nominees. Because of this reputable peer voting process, receiving a nomination from the FAP Luna Awards is truly an honor already. Hence, the FAP Luna Awards Nominees’ Night was held to celebrate the excellent work of the nominees for this year.
Nominees, guests, and members of the press flocked to Delgado.112 restaurant in the Tomas Morato area of Quezon City for the November 20 gathering. Diño and FAP Director-General Vivian Velez warmly welcomed the FAP Luna Awards Nominees such as Chito Roño (Signal Rock), Kip Oebanda (Liway), and Dwein Baltazar (Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus) for Best Director; Nicco Manalo (Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus) for Best Actor and Glaiza de Castro (Liway) for Best Actress; Soliman Cruz (Liway), Epy Quizon (Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral), and Mon Confiado (Signal Rock) for Best Supporting Actor; and Nova Villa (Miss Granny) and Max Collins (Citizen Jake) for Best Supporting Actress.
Other nominees in attendance were Emerzon Texon (Meet Me in St. Gallen and Ang Babaeng Allergic sa WiFi) for Best Musical Score; Chuck Gutierrez (Liway) and Edlyn Tallada-Abuel (Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes, with Maynard Pattaui) for Best Editing; Axel Fernandez (Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus) for Best Sound; Aped Santos (Liway) and Michael Español (Buy Bust, with Roma Regala) for Best Production Design; and Rodolfo Vera, represented by actress Elora Españo, (Signal Rock and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, with Jerrold Tarog) for Best Screenplay. TBA Studios President Vincent “Ting” Nebrida also graced the event as “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” of TBA and Globe Studios was nominated for Best Picture. Roño’s CSR Productions was also nominated for Best Picture for “Signal Rock.”
During the FAP Luna Awards Nominees’ Night, Diño marveled at how the event was well-attended, noting, “Gusto ko pong magpasalamat sa inyong lahat kasi nagdatingan po kayong lahat dito. Salamat po. Grabe!” A professional chef herself, Diño even prepared pork adobo and Cajun shrimp for all attendees of the Nominees’ Night. Velez, for her part, stated: “We want to thank the nominees that are here. And sana sa November 30, sana naman ‘yung mga nominees will support us kasi ‘yun po ang gusto namin na masuportahan po sana ‘yung activities ng FDCP at FAP.” The 37th FAP Luna Awards Night will take place on November 30, Saturday, at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City.
The FDCP Chair turned emotional as she recalled the low turnout of nominees in various awarding events in recent years. “We’re celebrating our One Hundred Years of Philippine Cinema. At hindi po natitinag ang lahat ng award-giving bodies natin para bigyan ng suporta at recognition ang lahat, from the people behind the camera to the people in front of the camera. Let’s support these events because we mount these events not for ourselves. We mount these events for you. And I hope that on November 30, all our 60 nominees can make it to the 37th FAP Luna Awards,” Diño stated.
The nominees were then formally presented to the members of the press. Veteran actress Villa reacted, “Eto na naman ako, pang ilang nomination na ng Miss Granny. Bakit ang tagal, bakit ang dami? Talaga sigurong napakaganda nung pelikula na ‘yun. At salamat. Thank you, Lord. And probably, itong mga nominations na ito, I could have done probably really good. I hope marami pang awards.” Villa, whose bubbly personality gleamed at the Nominees’ Night, is not just a nominee this year. She is also among the Special Awardees who will receive the Manuel de Leon Award for Exemplary Achievement on November 30. When Diño asked for her reaction to her Special Award, Villa jested: “May edad na. Isipin ninyo naabutan ko pa si Pugo at Togo, and Patsy at Chichay?” She shared that she starred in the first movie of LEA Productions titled “Manananggal vs. Mangkukulam” where Patsy and Pugo were her parents. “So, ano, ilang taon na ako ngayon? Pero labanan ko pa kayo sa takbuhan,” she joked.
Meanwhile, the Best Director Nominees expressed their sentiments as well. Roño of nine-time Luna nominee “Signal Rock” uttered, “Maraming salamat sa recognition ng FAP at FDCP. I’m glad to be here,” while Baltazar of “Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus” remarked, “Sobrang excited po ako every time napapasali kami sa ganito.” Kip Oebanda, who is also nominated for Best Screenplay together with Zig Dulay for “Liway,” shared how flattered and honored he is to be nominated. “It’s the hundredth year of Philippine Cinema, and we’re just very proud to be part of this industry. We’re proud to be filmmakers, directors, and writers. We dedicate this to all the people who have worked behind the scenes. At napakahirap gumawa ng pelikula. It’s a miracle that any film gets completed. So to be recognized for that is such a blessing,” Oebanda added.
Best Actor Nominee Manalo also expressed his gratitude and confirmed his Awards Night attendance when he said, “Magkita-kita po tayo sa Luna Awards.” Best Actress Nominee Glaiza de Castro, who came with boyfriend David Rainey, thanked FDCP and FAP for the recognition. She also shared how happy and surprised she was when “Liway” bagged nine nominations. “Masaya akong makita ulit ‘yung mga nakatrabaho ko sa ‘Liway.’ Masaya akong ma-nominate kasama ang mahuhusay na aktor, kasama ang kaibigan kong si Angelica Panganiban.” As for Best Supporting Actress Nominee Max Collins, she noted, “On behalf of Direk Mike de Leon and Citizen Jake, I’m just very proud to be here, and I’m honored.” Collins attended the event with husband, actor Pancho Magno.
FDCP and FAP are co-organizers of the 37th FAP Luna Awards. The strictly invitational Awards Night on November 30 will be shown via livestream on the Facebook page of FDCP with the username Film Development Council of the Philippines.