‘SURREAL!’ SAID DIREK PERCI INTALAN ON WINNING TWO MAJOR AWARDS IN SAINT-TROPEZ FILM FEST IN FRANCE
by Pablo A. Tariman
The morning after Direk Perci Intalan’s Dementia won the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress (for Nora Aunor) in a Foreign Language Film, he was still in state of disbelief still wondering if all the good news were true.
He told Philippine Star: “It is simply overwhelming! You can imagine how surreal it is for me because it’s my first film and I can’t help but have doubts about my first output. Then I woke up today and had to ask myself if it all really happened last night! I went to the awards night trying not to expect anything. Of course, I will admit that I was hoping that we will win something. But when I saw all the other filmmakers there and how they have come from all around the world, I thought to myself that I should really be happy that Dementia was even included in an international festival like this at all.”
Intalan didn’t get to see the other films as the Philippine delegation arrived only on the eve of the screening of Dementia.
It felt like a whirlwind trip for him but then when he saw the nomination reels, he began to realize this festival was being patronized by quality filmmakers from around the world.
“To be sure, the nominated films as introduced in the awards night film clips were indeed amazing. China’s Song of the Phoenix seemed visually stunning. There was another good film from India called Hopscotch and it won an award earlier that night. So I thought the film would end up best foreign film. Of the other nominees, of course, apart from Dementia I was rooting for The Coffinmaker of Jason Paul Laxamana which has been winning international awards wherever it was screened. I am happy that in this festival they brought home yet another trophy: the Best Supporting Actor in a Foreign Language Film award for Emilio Garcia.”
In the awards night film reels, the Filipino director saw amazing performances by actresses around the world and opined that all were worthy of the best actress award. “But of course, I had strong confidence in our Nora Aunor. I even admitted in my acceptance speech that she is like the Meryl Streep of the Philippines! There were these two women who watched our screening who kept coming up to me to say how much they liked the film. And every time I was with them I was so thrilled!”
Even the actress who won Best Actress in a Short Film, Katarina Kikta (of the film Salome) told him that based on what she saw in the nomination reel, she’d like to see the entire film.
Added Intalan: “It felt really good to hear that kind of appreciation for your work — and of course, that’s strongly driven by the performance of Ms. Nora Aunor! What’s special about the St Tropez film fest is the feeling of camaraderie among filmmakers. Everyone I spoke to has been interested in our film and genuinely happy when we won. People I pass in the
other tables (it’s an awards dinner, Golden Globe-style) kept stopping to shake my hand and expressing their support. This festival is like a trade and industry festival where filmmakers met each other and met with distributors. I wish I was able to stay longer and got to meet more of them. It’s invigorating!”
Thus far, Dementia had the distinction of being invited to four international festivals namely the Fantasporto in Portugal, Worldfest in Houston and now the Soho International Film Festival in NYC where his film will close the festival on May 20.
The film received a Gold Remi Award in Houston which was the film’s first international recognition. “It is wonderful to see this kind of support and recognition for something that you and your team worked so tirelessly on! It is a much needed pat on the back, and I understand now how filmmakers — whether veterans or newbies — need that in order to be inspired to do more and do better.”