The 13th Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) held on November 21 in Brisbane, Australia hailed Max Eigenmann as the Best Actress, yet she ultimately offered her international accolade to fellow Filipinos and even remembered to pay tribute to Philippine Cinema.
Eigenmann was awarded for Best Performance by an Actress in the Asia Pacific region for her portrayal in “Verdict” directed by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez, which is a Special Jury Prize winner in the Orizzonti (Horizons) section of the 76th Venice International Film Festival and the Philippine entry to the Academy Awards 2020.
The 32-year-old actress exclaimed as she closed her acceptance speech, “This is for you, Philippines. Mabuhay ang Pelikulang Pilipino!” She shared that she is extremely proud to have represented the country in APSA. In an Instagram post, she wrote, “I am so grateful and deeply humbled to have been given the chance to be among such amazing creatives from many countries. Words cannot express how surprised and overwhelmed I am to win the Best Performance by an Actress award. I am beaming with joy knowing that I have made you all proud and happy with this recognition.”
“Verdict” is about Joy (Eigenmann), a mother of a six-year-old daughter and a battered wife who goes up against her abusive alcoholic husband, played by the late Kristoffer King. However, Joy is faced with more struggles in her fight for justice via the legal process. It is produced by Brillante Ma Mendoza’s Center Stage Productions, in co-production with Films Boutique and Playtime and in association with Bord Cadre Films. Rene Durian and Jordhen Suan are also part of the cast. Eigenmann expressed her gratitude to the team behind “Verdict” led by Mendoza and Gutierrez. “I’d like to share this honor with the cast and crew, most especially my co-star Kristoffer King who played my husband in the movie and he passed away two months after we wrapped up the film. I really like to share this with him.”
In an interview with APSA, Eigenmann shared how grateful and honored she is to win the APSA on her first nomination. She also talked about her film’s theme. “Before I did the film, the topic about domestic violence is something that is easy to take a blind eye if you’re not experiencing it on your own. And it was only when I did the movie that I was exposed to and got a little bit educated about how much it was happening in my country and apparently, all over the world. I’m just really glad that films like this which is not really something easy to watch or it’s really not something that people will go out of their way to watch because of the subject matter, but now that it is showcased at APSA, I think that it is going to encourage people to watch it. I’m very, very thankful for that,” she added.
Eigenmann proudly accepted her award in front of more than 800 industry luminaries at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. She gushed, “Being here tonight has been truly one of the most momentous and exciting experiences of my life and receiving this is beyond anything that I expected or imagined.” The APSA prides itself with being the highest film accolade in the Asia Pacific region supported by the Brisbane City Council and endorsed by UNESCO and the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF). It invites Asia Pacific countries to submit their best films for competition on a yearly basis. The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) is the Official Submitting Member Organization of the country. According to APSA, they are looking for films that “clearly demonstrate a rich slate of diversity–each telling its own story, in its own way, from its country of origin.”
News of Eigenmann’s win delighted Filipinos, especially her colleagues in the entertainment industry. FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño excitedly greeted Eigenmann on social media, “Congratulations Max! So proud of you.” Veteran actress Dexter Doria commented, “Magaling naman talaga si Maxine” while Dionne Monsanto reacted, “Well-deserved! So happy for you.” Other well-wishers included Eula Valdes, Elwood Perez, Dindi Gallardo, Louise delos Reyes, Bianca Balbuena-Liew, Edz Espiritu, Jodi Garcia, Darlene Cathy Malimas, Maxene Magalona, Denise Laurel, Erich Gonzales, Regine Angeles, Mark Manicad, Ice Seguerra, Cherry Pie Picache, Alvin Anson, Allen Dizon, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Baron Geisler, and Jaime Fabregas.
Director and writer Jose Javier Reyes declared, “The unstoppable Eigenmanns,” pertaining to the showbiz clan which Max belongs to. The daughter of actors Bing Pimentel and the late Mark Gil paid tribute to her parents upon accepting her award. “My mom who always pushes me to be the best that I can be and most especially my dad who I know is looking down on me from heaven right now, extremely proud,” she said ardently. Gil’s siblings, Michael de Mesa and Cherie Gil, congratulated and cheered on their niece. Eigenmann also took the time to thank her manager, Ricky Gallardo, partner Anthony, and her two children. The APSA win has led to Eigenmann’s inclusion in the Indie Bravo! honorees’ list compiled annually by the Philippine Daily Inquirer Entertainment team. Indie Bravo! recognized 27 artists for their international film festival achievements and contributions to Philippine Cinema.