For this year’s Film Ambassadors’ Night, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has chosen film director Cathy Garcia-Molina, film historian Nick Deocampo, and scriptwriter Ricky Lee as the three ‘Camera Obscura’ awardees.
Presented during FDCP’s annual Film Ambassadors’ Night, the ‘Camera Obscura’ award recognizes outstanding representatives of the film industry whose works brought further recognition and appreciation for Philippine cinema, particularly in the international arena, and have inspired the national film industry into reaching greater heights. The award is presented at the final section of the event and concludes Film Ambassadors’ Night. Winners receive a 50,000 peso cash prize alongside their trophy from FDCP for their honors.
Cathy Garcia-Molina with Hello, Love, Goodbye stars Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards
Cathy Garcia-Molina will receive a ‘Camera Obscura’ award to recognize her outstanding achievements and breakthroughs in Philippine Cinema as the highest grossing Filipino film director. Garcia Molina’s directing work has proven to be among the most successful in Filipino cinema. Since her directorial debut in Bcuz of U (2004), Garcia-Molina has directed massive blockbuster hits that have made their mark in Philippine cinema. In 2018, Garcia-Molina’s The Hows of Us grossed over 800 Million Pesos to become the highest-grossing Filipino film of all time. This honor was then exceeded the following year by Garcia-Molina herself following the release of Hello, Love, Goodbye (2019) which grossed over 880 Million pesos. Other noteworthy films she directed include A Very Special Love (2008), One More Chance (2007) and its sequel A Second Chance (2015). She has been nominated for numerous awards throughout her career and received the “Movie Director of the Year” award from Star Cinema in 2007.
Film historian and scholar Nick Deocampo will receive the ‘Camera Obscura’ award for his remarkable accomplishments and breakthroughs in Philippine cinema as a vanguard of Philippine film history and education. Throughout his illustrious academic career, Deocampo has fostered the development of scholarly and historical film criticism on our national cinema. During his decades-long academic career, Deocampo has published various works in different journals around the globe with a focus on Philippine cinema. He has taught in numerous universities internationally, among them as a scholar-in-residence at New York University (NYU), the “Chancellor’s Most Distinguished Lecturer” in the University of California, Irvine (UCI), and as an “international fellow” at the University of Iowa and the Japan Foundation. He currently teaches as an Associate Professor for the University of the Philippines Film Institute College of Mass Communication at U.P. Diliman. His oeuvre has been recognized through multiple National Book Awards as well as the FAMAS Lifetime Achievement award.
Award-winning scriptwriter and mentor Ricky Lee, will receive the ‘Camera Obscura’ award for his exemplary accomplishments in Philippine cinema as a screenwriter and dedicated mentor to the next generation of scriptwriters. Throughout his career, Lee has proven to be the standard for Filipino screenwriting. Since the beginning of his screenwriting career in 1973, Lee has worked on screenplays for over 150 films including classics such as Ishmael Bernal’s 1982 film Himala and Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Moral. He has also published numerous books including the classic scriptwriting manual Trip to Quiapo and the romantic novel Para Kay B. In 2003 he received the Gawad Urian Lifetime Achievement Award for his celebrated body of work. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment, however, is through the influence he has developed in building the film industry through a renowned series of free scriptwriting workshops. Through the workshop, Lee has mentored hundreds of writers who have gone on to work in mainstream and independent cinema
“The ‘Camera Obscura’ award recognizes the significant impact each particular awardee has made on our national cinema. Through their works, they have bolstered their respective fields and uplifted the industry as a whole, and by bringing their works into global awareness they have inspired their fellow Filipino filmmakers and artists. The three ‘Camera Obscura’ awardees represent the universal potential of Philippine cinema and uphold the excellence and unique creativity of the Filipino spirit.” FDCP Chairperson Liza Dino said with regards to the award.
Scene from The Hows of Us
Last year’s ‘Camera Obscura’ awardees were filmmaker and national artist Kidlat Tahimik, film producer Bianca Balbuena and the highest-grossing Filipino film of 2018, The Hows of Us. Other past winners include Lav Diaz and Jaclyn Jose, as well as the films Saving Sally (dir. Avid Liongoren) for its recognition as an original full-length animation film and Kita Kita (dir. Sigrid Andrea Bernardo) for setting a new box office record as the highest-grossing, independently produced Filipino film.
As the sole award presented in FDCP’s Film Ambassadors’ Night, the ‘Camera Obscura’ epitomizes the event’s purpose of recognizing the figures of Philippine cinema whose respective works brought international attention to Philippine cinema and inspired the industry in positive ways.