Mulat (Awaken), a new film by dynamic young director Diane Ventura, won two of the top awards at the recently concluded International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM) 2014 held in New York City.
Ventura was named Best Director for a Global Feature while lead actor Jake Cuenca was recognized as Best Actor in a Feature.
“It took me completely by surprise,” revealed the director when asked if she expected such sterling reception for her work. “I knew I had very talented people on the cast and crew, and we had given this movie the best of ourselves, but you don’t do these things for the accolade.”
“I didn’t even realize they had called my name,” she recalled. “I managed to get out of my seat, pero hindi pa ako nakakarating sa stage nagpapasalamat na ako. I was so overwhelmed.”
Ventura considers herself a sort of renegade disciple of filmmaking. She has nurtured a longstanding love affair with the art form since her days in the Art Studies program of University of the Philippines Diliman. Over the years, she has dabbled in songwriting, directing and producing music videos, and executive-producing shows around the world, until she finally decided to pursue her first love and enroll in the film program in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
In 2012, Ventura came out with the mind-bending short film The Rapist, which was cited as one of the Most Popular Films and Best Short Films in IFFM, and was shortlisted among the Best Short Films in Asia in the Singapore-based indie film portal Viddsee.
Mulat is Ventura’s first full-length feature film, which tells the story of a woman named Sam, played by newcomer Loren Burgos. Sam is caught between the promise of a future with her fiancé Vincent (Ryan Eigenmann) and the less certain but perhaps more fulfilling search for a life apart from him. She meets Jake (Jake Cuenca) but begins experiencing mysterious hallucinations, causing her to question what she perceives as reality.
Mulat is set to open in Philippine theaters this December as part of the Official Selection of the Metro Manila Film Festival’s New Wave category. It will be screened in Glorieta 4 and SM Megamall theaters from December 17 to 24 as part of the celebration of the annual film event.