EVM Awards International 2018 holds North America debut

Northwest California “The Journal” wins Best Script at the EVM Awards International 2018/Jay Vee Baltazar/EBC San Francisco Bureau/Eagle News Service/

LOS ANGELES, California (Eagle News) — Many come to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a filmmaker or a successful actor or actress. The story of those growing up in small towns across the nation and making it big after being discovered in the city known for producing superstars have inspired more than a few to pursue their hopes of stardom.

Recently, filmmakers, producers, script writers, directors, actors and actresses from not only North America but also from Asia, Europe and Australia made the trip to L.A. They are not  Hollywood stars nor their films blockbuster hits, yet, but it did not really matter to them as they walked across the red carpet at the Microsoft Theater (the same venue that a few weeks ago hosted the Emmy Awards) for the Excellence in Visual Media (EVM) Awards International 2018.

The purpose was not money nor fame but to unite with the goal of the EVM Awards to recognize efforts of members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in producing short films.

The Church organized the event that awards winners of the INCinema competitions held annually throughout the world. INCinema is a project envisioned by Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the Executive Minister of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, that promotes Christian values through visual media and to hone talents in the performing arts, such as acting, directing, and script writing.

“The main purpose why the Administration allows theses EVM Awards is for us to show and the brethren to prompt Christian values,” said Brother Eduardo Javier, the Church’s Supervising Minister of the Ecclesiastical District of Southwest California. “Members of the Church of Christ, through films, may convey to people how we value, how we follow the commandments of the Lord our God.”

The promotion of these values drove Adara Pineda in directing the short film submitted by the Hawaii representatives.

“What’s really great about INCinema and the EVM Awards is that it gives us an outlet to share our faith. INCinema is such a really powerful platform in promoting whatever you want to promote and for us in the Church of Christ promoting Christian values is something we want to get out there because that’s not something you see nowadays,” Pineda said.

Although EVM Awards were held in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2016, those awards were for a regional competition. The awards held in L.A. October 29 was the first EVM Awards International held in the United States. The international level is the competition between EVM regional winners. This year,  EVM Awards International had over 100 entries with the final nominees coming from Qatar, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, U.S.A. and the Philippines.

The event was live-streamed to an audience in Quezon City, Philippines, where winners from the Philippine entries accepted their awards at the Tabernacle located at the Iglesia Ni Cristo Central Compound.

/Jay Rosquites/EBC Florida Bureau/Eagle News Service/

Like most award shows, the EVM Awards International was filled with entertainment. Daniel Glen Saculles performed as a soloist for the song “Blessed to Follow Him”.

“This is an indescribable feeling right now,” Saculles said. “I’ve been on different stages before for different reasons, for different events and you always get the jitters or the butterflies right before an event but here it’s completely different. Here you just trust and it’s really different when you trust and have faith. And you just go out there and everything comes out perfect. Just perfect.”  

Although the performances drew much applause, the spotlight for the night was still focused on the filmmakers and their films.

Emmanuel Ornedo, winner of Best Director for Southwest California’s entry “It’s Not A Date” spoke about the film that also bagged the Best FIlm Abroad award.

“The inspiration came from life itself,” Ornedo said . “Life throws a lot of curveballs at you. There’s a lot of things that go wrong in life and a lot of time we don’t know what to do, how to handle certain situations so through our film we wanted to portray what we felt would be either the best way or good way to go about when you come across a situation like that, when you’re put into  different situations where you could either do the easy thing or the right thing.”

Ornedo also commented about the theme of the competition.

“So the theme of this year’s INCinema was being a proud to be a Member of the Church of Christ. Being a proud member of the Church of Christ isn’t always about just declaring it … but it’s also about in the way that you live and in the decisions that you make in your everyday life,” Ornedo said. “It’s so easy to veer off the right path that part of being proud of your membership is that staying on that right path and always doing what is right even though it’s not always the easiest thing to do.”

Winning the top prize in an international film competition is not easy. Christian Benzs Escario, winner of Best Editing for Southwest California’s “It’s Not a Date” spoke of the difficult process in completing a film.

“If it was one to ten, one being easy and ten being super hard, it would break the scale,” Escario said. “We faced so many challenges, but because of those challenges, they’re what make us who we are now. We are able to learn from those problems and situations that we faced. But to be honest, I’d like to say that despite all those challenges we always prayed. That’s the key thing, prayer.”

/Celeste Rodriguez/EBC Los Angeles Bureau/Eagle News Service/

Winners of the EVM Awards International 2018

Best Film – Manila, Philippines “Unsafe”

Best Film Abroad – Southwest California “It’s Not a Date”

Best Film 2nd Place – Northern Midwest, “Sons and Brothers”

Best Film 3rd Place – Canada 2 “I Am Joseph”

Best Lead Actor – Paul Arevalo, Canada 2 “I Am Joseph”

Best Actress – Cassie Sgorbini, Australia East “I Am Not Ready”

Best Supporting Actor – Martin Zerrudo, Canada 2 “I Am Joseph”

Best Supporting Actress – Maritess Herreria, Southwest California “It’s Not a Date”

Best in Promoting Christian Values (Philippines) – Davao West “Tankikala Ng Pangarap”

Best in Promoting Christian Values (USA) – Northern Midwest “Sons and Brothers”

Best promotional poster – United Kingdom “Signs”

Best trailer – Mid-Atlantic “Strive”

Best Makeup & Costume Design – Canada 2 “I Am Joseph”

Best Production Design – Canada 2 “I Am Joseph”

Best Editing – Southwest California “It’s Not a Date”

Best Musical Score – Southeast California “Life is Sweet”

Best Sound Design – Southeast California “Life is Sweet”

Best Editing – Southwest California “It’s Not a Date”

Best Child Performer – Sean Nera, Northern Midwest “Sons and Brothers”

Best Writer/Script – Northwest California “The Journal”

Best in Cinematography – Qatar “Forever”

Best Binhi Performer – Gail Ysobelle Landico, United Arab Emirates North “Shine”

Best KADIWA Performer – Govanni Andrea Jamora, Southern Europe, “Le Scelte”

Best Director (Philippines) – Norman Abergas, Cavite “Pitik”

Best Director (USA) Emmanuel Ornedo, Southwest California, “It’s Not a Date”

(Eagle News Service)