MMFF best picture 'Ang Larawan' may be back in more theaters

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 28) —  Theater owners did not want to keep showing it, but things could soon change for "Ang Larawan."

The film won best picture in the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) and now, some cinemas are trying to get it back on their big screen.

MMFF 2017 Best Actress Joanna Ampil, who played Candida in the art film,  is "ecstatic."

"Now that we've won several awards, I hope that it will remain and it will hopefully stay there for a long time and more people will get to see it," she told  CNN Philippines' New Day on Thursday.

Ampil said "Ang Larawan," which tells the struggle of the two daughters of a high-profile painter who must decide to keep or sell his last self-portrait to get out of debt, is a must-see for those who have high regard for production value.

"I know mediocrity was not in the vocabulary when this movie was made. It's really on its tip-top form and everyone just put their heart and soul into it, and there's love for the arts, more than anything," she pointed out.

The 42-year-old stage actress has played lead roles in hit musicals such as Les Miserables and Miss Saigon in London's West End.

READ: What 'Ang Larawan' tells us about the Filipino identity

Before the awards night on Wednesday, "Ang Larawan" was dropped from at least 26 cinemas nationwide just two days after it opened on Christmas Day.

READ: 'Ang Larawan' dropped in over 20 theaters in Metro Manila

But the film redeemed itself when it also bagged the awards for best actress, best musical score, best production design, and the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award.

National artist Nick Joaquin, who authored the three-act screenplay "A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino" where the musical film was based, also won the Special Jury Prize.

READ: 'Ang Larawan,' 'Siargao' lead winners of MMFF 2017 Gabi ng Parangal

The film's stellar cast, mostly with a theater background, also features Rachel Alejandro, Paulo Avelino, Sandino Martin, Cris Villonco, Aicelle Santos, Nonie Buencamino, Menchu Lauchengco, Robert Arevalo, Celeste Legaspi, Cara Manglapus, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Rayver Cruz, Ogie Alcasid, Jojit Lorenzo, Dulce, Nanette Inventor, Jaime Fabregas, Bernardo Bernardo, and Noel Trinidad.

Rolando Tinio, also a national artist, translated Joaquin's play from English to Filipino and wrote the libretto. Award-winning director Loy Arcenas was at the helm of the musical film.

"Ang Larawan" made its world premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October.

READ: Spokesperson: MMFF challenges mainstream producers to improve