2017 was truly the year of JoshLia, Iza Calzado, RS Francisco, and Direk Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s Kita Kita. The four were some of the recipients of the 34th Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) Star Awards most major awards given last night, February 18, at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila. 16 Years in the Making Iza was awarded the Best Actress trophy for her performance in Bliss, a psychological thriller by Heneral Luna director, Jerold Terog. The other nominees that Iza bested out were Kim Chiu, Sharon, Cuneta, Alessandra de Rossi, Agot Isidro, Bela Padilla, Maja Salvador, and Jodi Sta. Maria. The veteran actress turned emotional at her speech last night, after she said her wishes and prayers for 16 years have been answered. “16 years po ako naghintay para sa isang tropeyo para sa pelikula,” said Iza in her speech last night. Some of the highlights of her acceptance speech last night, included: “Salamat po at finally sinuwerte ako. Ako po ay nanalo sa ibang bansa para sa pelikulang ‘Bliss’ pero iba ang manalo para sa sarili mong bayan at pahalagahan ka ng kapwa mo Pilipino. Maraming, maraming salamat sa Diyos Ama na nagbigay sa akin ng talentong ito and I hope to use this platform to bring light to the world.” Related: PMPC Reveals 31st Star Awards For Television Nominees Bliss premiered last year at the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival where Iza won the coveted Yakushi Pearl Award for her performance as actress Jane Ciego in the film. The film tells of Jane’s story in the showbiz industry, how she grew up as a performer and is now a veteran actress, and wants to shoot her own film. An accident on-set immobilizes her, and she is stuck in her empty mansion with a cold husband and a sadistic nurse named Lilibeth. Creepy experiences happen in the mansion, as well as in Jane’s dreams. Ian Veneracion and TJ Trinidad also co-star with Iza in the film.
Iza also explained how much the Star Awards meant to her because of her parents who have passed away. “Star Awards mean a lot to me because I grew up watching this because my father would always be part of Star Awards. He was always backstage as the stage director. So it means so much to me that I’ve finally won, that you’ve finally trusted me with this award. And how I wish my parents were here tonight to see this. But since they are not, all I can hope is that I can continue to make them proud.” Movie Love Team of the Year wins against other giant love teams Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto or Joshlia also won Movie Love Team of the Year. Julia said in her speech that she was very grateful for the award since they were nominated alongside successful or more established love teams. “I think from now on, we will let this award serve as an inspiration to do better hopefully,” Julia said in her acceptance speech. Joshua also dedicated the award to Joshlia fans. Joshua and Julia had a full 2017, complete with two blockbuster movies by Star Cinema—one was Love You to The Stars and Back, where both played teens who went alien-hunting, and who wanted to run away from their problems; another is Unexpectedly Yours, where they play the child and nephew of Sharon Cuneta and Robin Padilla in the film, respectedly. The two are currently shooting their next project for 2018 which is another film for Star Cinema. They will also do a teleserye this year titled Nostalgia, which will also star Iza, Alice Dixson, and Jameson Blake, among others. Best Actor of the Year gets his time to shine in front of camera RS Francisco won Best Actor of the Year for the film Bhoy Intsik, which was directed by Joel Lamangan. It was also his first major role in a movie, as he used to play support to major love teams like Kathniel before. “Si Direk Joel Lamangan yung pumilit sa akin na gawin yung Bhoy Intsik kahit support lang ako kay Kim at Xian,” quipped RS during his acceptance speech. “[Support lang ako] sa mga Kathniel. Salamat Direk Joel for trusting my talent.” RS also dedicated the award to his fellow nominees in the category, and even said that he was dedicating it to fellow nominee, Joshua Garcia, who is also his crush! He even joked that they would soon have a love team, though Joshlia fans would get mad. “Soon magkakaroon ng JoshRS pero magagalit ang Joshlia,” he said laughingly during the speech. A message for film pirates by the most successful indie movie of all time The most successful indie movie of 2017 also won in the Movie of the Year category. Kita Kita, the film starring Empoy and Alessandra de Rossi and directed by Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, won Movie of the Year. The film was a massive blockbuster success last year and raked in more than PhP300M at the tills. Direk Sigrid also won Movie Director and Movie Screenwriter of the Year. “Maraming salamat kina Alex [de Rossi] at Empoy dahil sobra-sobra ang binigay niyo para sa Kita Kita; mas malaki pa ang binigay niyo kesa talent fee niyo,” said Joyce Bernal, one of the producers of the film, during the acceptance speech. She also had a message for film pirates, thanking moviegoers who went to theatres, paid, and gave their time to watch Kita Kita. “Sa lahat po ng nag-download sa YouTube at Facebook [ng Kita Kita], ‘wag niyo po sana ulitin mga Kabayan. Pakiusap po. Tulungan niyo po kaming mga independent producers.” Other notable winners included Changing Partners for Indie Movie of the Year; Dan Villegas for Indie Movie Director of the Year; McCoy de Leon and Matteo San Juan for New Movie Actor of the Year for Instalado and Magkadugo, respectively; Pia Wurtzbach and Joanna Ampil for New Movie Actress of the Year for Revenger Squad and Ang Larawan respectively. Words by Melissa G. Bagamasbad Read more: