Tag Archives: philippine graphic fiction awards

It’s finally November, and I’ve seen the Deathly Hallows…

Thursday night, I rushed to SM Marikina to meet Den and watch “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I”. She invited me a few weeks ago to this advanced screening and I eagerly jumped at the opportunity. However, by some sneaky twist of Fate, local cinemas decided to show the movie a day early, ahead of the rest of the world. Considering that the Philippines is already ahead of the U.S. and other western countries, thus making our November 19 showing way ahead, they went and released it on November 18, making my advanced tickets just plain tickets. Oh well, it’s for a good cause… but it grates.

Still, it couldn’t dim the excitemet bubbling within me. I was babbling and very nearly dancing while we waited for the ushers to let us in. Once inside the theater, I made a mad rush for the topmost row, which afforded a great, non-nauseating view of the screen.

Since it was a special screening, we had the National Anthem before the previews were shown. Halfway through it, a representative from the St. Camillus College Seminary said a few words. Everyone seemed to know someone, so the atmosphere felt like a sort of school gathering of sorts.

Then, the dark clouds that seems to be a trademark of the more recent Harry Potter movies rolled on screen. I grabbed Den’s hand, and sat back for a long ride.

The Fast and the Furious
It’s always a big frustration for any reader when a book they so enjoyed is adapted on screen. I often feel that while anything is possible with film these days, they are also limited to the time a film is shown. As much as I love Harry Potter, I probably won’t be able to sit for anything more than three hours for a film. I suppose if they faithfully adapted the book, it would be “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, II, III, IV…” and so on until the story finishes.

The movie is wonderfully crafted, I’d say that. Technology has improved so much since the first Harry Potter that the special effects don’t seem so special anymore. Instead, the real actors merge seamlessly with the computer animation, making the scenes more believable and realistic.

Props to the cast as well. Hagrid sums it all up in his line at the start: “I brought you here sixteen years ago, it seems right that I take you away.” (Or something to that effect) What makes Harry Potter different from any movie that has gone for so long is that the cast from the start of the movie is the same cast at the end. Sure there were some changes, like Sir Michael Gambon taking over Dumbledore’s role due to the untimely demise of Richard Harris (from Hodgkin’s lymphoma), but everyone essentially grew up in this epic film series.

It is also interesting to note that the cast has, in a way, acted in every kind of film. Harry Potter is a film set in a fantasy world, but it has a wide range of elements that let the cast be funny, scared, dramatic in various scenes. I’ve seen people laugh, cry and be scared while watching Harry Potter movies, so if the casts’ acting chops haven’t been well polished by the end of the series, I don’t know what to call it.

I enjoyed myself, definitely. While I wouldn’t say that the movie was brilliant and would win awards (except maybe for the soundtrack), it was a culmination of so many things in the last ten or twelve years. It doesn’t remove the fact that there are, however, many little things I could nitpick on, and I’m positive that it would be a rather long list.

Be warned, spoilers ahead.

There’s the scene at the start where Dudley says he doesn’t think Harry is a “waste of space” and gives him tea as a sort of peace offering. How about Harry’s birthday? Where was the animosity between Harry and Scrimgeour? How about the fact that Voldemort’s name is jinxed and using it breaks all protective enchantments? Let’s not forget Kreacher’s back story, which for me is a rather crucial part in the book. Non-readers won’t really notice it, but we certainly did. One of the most captivating parts of the book is how J.K. Rowling made everyone human, no matter how powerful or different they seem.

I don’t know if the director and scriptwriters believe that 1) readers will take it for granted that “Oh, I already know that it happens” or 2) those who didn’t read won’t care and won’t wonder. Well, number one is definitely off the mark.

I did like the treatment of Hermionie’s parents leaving for Australia. It was clever and fast and very effective. I did wonder about the trio leaving and it seems that Lupin knew that they were planning something.

I teared up when Hedwig died. I very nearly bawled when Dobby died. I was amused by Ron, and at the same time found him very manly in some parts. The Harry-Hermionie kiss was hot, and seriously, if Ron and Hermionie’s kiss is anything less than that, I’d be really mad.

Best surprise of the entire movie? The telling of “The Tale of Three Brothers”. I didn’t expect them to show the story in it’s entirety, more like Hermionie or Ron just giving a quick run down. It’s a brilliantly done by Swedish director Ben Hibon.

There’s still so much I’d want to rant and rave about, which I’ll probably add later on. On the whole, the movie was a good watch. Like I said, it wasn’t spectacular, but similar to the last three Harry Potter movies, it is more of an accompaniment for the book. It will be able to stand on it’s own if the audience didn’t read the book, but it wasn’t as magical as the first few movies.

July is still so far away.

Neil Gaiman in Manila: Book signing

Yesterday was a good day. I managed to do some of my errands in the morning, even though I failed in finishing what I was supposed to do when I took the day off.

I headed off to Rockwell later that afternoon, hoping to get a chance to see Neil Gaiman again and get my books signed. Thankfully, I did! I got my number and boy, I knew I was in for a long wait.

From the third floor. The line to get a number was shorter now. People were just milling around, waiting for the event to start.

This is what Neil refers to as “Neil faces.”

I decided to walk around a bit and find a nice spot to sit in while waiting for my turn. I checked out the mini exhibit of the Revelations art contest finalists (you can read about the winners here, then I went to the cinemas on the 3rd floor and found an elderly couple checking out the movie schedules. They didn’t look like they normally went to watch movies, and it took them a while to decide but they finally did. I wanted to ask them what they were going to watch.

It was way past 4 PM when Neil arrived. I had a nice seat and I was really, really decided on staying put, but damn, that man’s pull is too strong. So I got up, snapped some pictures and went to find a different place to sit as I was expecting my chair to be occupied.

Someone loves me again because the seat was empty. So I went back there and decided to stay put because I knew that it was going to be a while.

It was an interesting spot. I had a clear view of Neil as he was signing, and watching his interactions with his fans was something I didn’t get tired of. He was always cheerful, even though clearly he was tired. He had something to say to everyone, even though probably a lot of the questions were ones he already answered in his blog or in interviews (then again, one can’t be expected to keep track of all of that, and there’s something really cool about hearing it directly from him, than just reading about it).

Almost every female, even some guys, asked for a hug. A lot gave him something to take home: books, drawings, cards, toys, food, drink, etc. In his recent blog entry, Neil says he’s got two boxes to be shipped home, but he took a few of the things along with him, including one box of chocnut, a package of dried mangoes, a book and a bottle of local rum (lambanog, given to him by a guy who looked like an expat himself. Hi, if you read this, I want to know your story ^_^).

He comes in, he waves and he starts signing

Some girls made this sign and was on the mall’s 2nd floor. They called Neil and for a few seconds he stopped signing and waved at them with both arms.

This guy can draw fast, and the likeness, even though it’s such a simple sketch, is evident.

I still have a long way to go

I’m about the 4th person from this girl

Watching him from the sidelines as I waited my turn, I couldn’t help but think about why people love him so much. His works are great, one I’ll admit even though I’m not a fan of all his works. I haven’t finished “Sandman” and I prefer the stories and books he wrote that was geared for kids (Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Odd and the Frost Giants, etc). But seeing how he interacts, how he takes time to connect with each person in that very long line (300 plus, with at least a thousand books), it isn’t any wonder why he’s so popular.

What’s funny is that while he was still gracious and polite and chatty, it’s the people around him who were not. I understand the pressure and the stress of organizing and handling such an event though, and how tiring it is to wait for your turn, but it’s the least we can do for a chance to talk to him, right? I just hope no one felt shortchanged. I don’t, even though I never got a hug (because I didn’t ask for one, boo to me, hehe).

When it was my turn, I had already lost some of my nervousness because whilst he was chatting with the girl ahead of me, he turned to include me in the conversation and looked at me straight in the eye. It was only for a few seconds and he won’t remember it, but I was so floored. The conversation flowed easily between them then on to me, like he was just talking to one person.

The girl said she was eighteen when the Sandman series first came out. Neil replied, “Well neither one of us is eighteen now,” then we laughed (yes, umeepal na ako sa point na to haha). He pointed at his hair and said that someone told him “You’ve got grey hair that wasn’t there five years ago,” and that was when he looked at me.

They talked for a bit and she went on. He slid my books near and said hi to me. I patiently stood beside him before I blurted out, “Have you ever considered learning to write with your left hand?”

Thanks to Erwin for taking these pictures. He and the other photographers were there as long as Neil was.

Neil replied, “I did, actually,” but he it looked so different, plus he mentioned that he injured that hand. “My signature is actually a series of muscle movements,” he said, and the injury made it hard to try it with his left. He moved the pen to his left hand and showed how he couldn’t bend the hand to write properly. “It wouldn’t really look the same,” he said. I quipped “No one would believe that you wrote it.” He replied, “Exactly.”

With that, he finished signing my books. I took them, smiled and him and said, “Thank you.” He replied, “Thank you for coming.”

Exit, stage left.

When I arrived home, the boys were playing a racing game with this new USB steering wheel they got. I see the electric bill rising again.

Here are my books.

Note: I shall edit the photos later on.

P.S. To my friend, Elise, soon it’ll be your autograph I will line up for.

Neil Gaiman and the 3rd Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards

I managed to make it to the 3rd Philippine Graphic/Fiction awards last night without much problems. I was hesitant to go because I’ve seen news of the massive traffic jam along Ortigas/C5, which would’ve been my route to Rockwell.

I decided to take a chance anyway, figuring that 1) I might get lucky and the trip won’t be too bad and 2) the event will start later than 7 anyway.

Someone loves me because I got both of them. My ride from Eastwood to Cubao took about twenty minutes. I walked from Puregold to the MRT station (even had time to sneak a quick peek at Booksale haha). I got my MRT ticket in 5 minutes and another 5 minutes for the train to arrive. When I got to Guadalupe, I made a small mistake of walking to the wrong stop, but I managed to get on a jeepney to Rockwell. I also got off the wrong stop so I walked a bit farther than I would’ve if I didn’t, but who cared? All in all, my trip took me an hour and thirty minutes, which wasn’t really bad at all!

Surprisingly, there wasn’t much people at the tent. At least, it was lesser than what I expected. About a hundred or so people were milling around outside, buying last minute stuff they hope to get signed and all. I signed up at the registration booth, hoping to win one of the 100 slots open for the autograph signing later in the event.

Waiting for the event to start

A little past 7PM, they let us in. It was an hour before the program started. Jelly of RX 93.1 hosted. I saw several people I was familiar with through blogs and various interactions in the past. I introduced myself to Gerry Alanguilan, and I was a total spaz (sorry po!).

Around 8, the program started. Jamie Daez introduced Neil Gaiman. Backstage, several people with Neil Gaiman masks stood and as the camera zooms on to them, they step aside. I was so busy turning and looking for him that I didn’t really get to catch this on video. People were screaming and yelling, you’d really think he was a rock star (makes me wonder now if it’s like this in other countries or just us, home of the now infamous “Wall of Sound”).

Neil went onstage, and said a few words. He said that it was “very strange” to see all those people with his face. He showed off the jacket he was wearing, saying it was the Kambriel made for him and the one he wore at the Oscars. Wow! I never thought I’d see it up close. The ones who got near him for the autograph signing were lucky. They actually got to see that amazing work up close. And it’s got buttons! I’m still loading the video of that.

Here Neil reads one of his poems.

He read “Locks” from his book Smoke and Mirrors, then he read a poem his just wrote recently. It was so new he hadn’t had time to publish or read it to a proper audience. It was so cool.

Here Neil reads a poem he recently wrote, one that he’s never read to a “proper audience” before.

Neil gives his feedback on the stories/comics/films that won.

For the winners in each category, Neil gave his thoughts and impressions. It was great to hear how favorable he found many entries, and how it encouraged people to send in entries for the next competitions. His favorite word for the night was “glorious,” as he used it several times as he talked. I find it rather apt.

Winners of the comics category. Manix Abrera should’ve won first place but his work got published during the duration of the contest, so he forfeited the award. 🙁

VIP ako haha.

I stood for three hours. Who cares?

The winners of the 3rd Philippine Graphic/Fiction awards. Neil was waving his hands.

Some of the names were familiar, namely Dean Alfar and Kenneth Yu, but it was nice to see some new people joining the winner’s ranks. I’ve been a fan of Dean Alfar for some time now, and I think he ought to be inducted to the awards’ hall of fame haha. Congratulations to the winners! You can view the entries here.

Various personalities read aloud passages from the winning entries. Nyko Maca (who read “Cherry Clubbing” so beautifully, I got chills), Quark Henares, Wawi Navarroza and Gabe Alipio were among them. Nyko Maca also performed.

Signing for 100 people (about 200 books) that night

People milling around outside the tent

I got home pretty late, because the bus parked in front of Galleria for about 30 minutes. Obviously, no one was going to ride, but the driver didn’t seem to care. Pfft.