Singer-actress and West-End star Joanna Ampil, on Wednesday, December 27 at the Kia Theater in Cubao, Quezon City; received her most wonderful Christmas gift when she won the annual Metro Manila Film Festival’s Best Actress Award for her role as Candida in ‘Ang Larawan’.
It was a sweet victory for her at this year’s ‘Gabi ng Parangal’ as it serves as a validation to the three years or so of hard work she invested in this film, which is based from Nick Joaquin’s stage play ‘A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino’.
Her co-star as her sister Paula in the film and also the executive producer, Rachel Alejandro; also a nominee for the Best Supporting Actress category stressed that the recognition for Joanna is long overdue, “Joanna Ampil is a gem and in my opinion, one of our very best actresses of all time.”
Ampil, who is currently part of the UK/international tour cast of the musical ‘Cats’ as Grizabella, the Glamour Cat came home to the country just in time for the awards night. In the film, from being a bewitching feline, she turns into a manipulative, spinster; the elder sister of Paula.
According to Joanna in a separate interview, playing the role of Candida was quite an ordeal but rewarding at the same time. It took a while for her to understand her character, but in the end, it was essential to know the character’s struggles to make her interpretation and portrayal convincingly real.
In the story, she opposes the selling of the portrait in order to support them and their sick father, Don Lorenzo Marasigan. But as Joanna, she described herself as: “I would like to think I am more practical and sensible, therefore I would have sold the painting to survive.”
During the awards night, Ampil made special mention of three important people—the Filipino musician Ryan Cayabyab as her ‘ray of sunshine’, who composed the music to go with Rolando Tinio’s libretto; acting coach Jake Macapagal for mentoring her throughout the filming; and co-star Alejandro for being an ‘encouragement’.
She said in her speech, “Thank you to the Metro Manila Film Festival; this means a lot to me. Thank you to (producer) Culturtain for a chance to play a beautiful role… to (director) Loy Arcenas who challenged me in so many ways and for stretching me as an artist and as a actress… To the people behind the scenes and my co-actors, I share this award with you.”
Apart from the Best Picture and Best Actress awards, the film also earned Best Musical Score (Ryan Cayabyab), Best Production Design (Gino Gonzales), the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award, and the Special Jury Prize (Nick Joaquin).
The film is still running until Sunday, January 7. For more information about the ‘Ang Larawan’, log on to its official website.