Award Citation

Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya is one of the leading filmmakers in the Philippines today. She is attracting international attention as one of Asia's most important filmmakers. In particular, in recent years, her activities have gained further recognition and popularity receiving broad support by citizens of Fukuoka through her annual participation in the Focus on Asia - Fukuoka International Film Festival.

Born in Quezon City in 1955, Ms. Diaz-Abaya attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and studied film at the London International Film School. Since releasing her first picture in 1980, she has been among the foremost directors in Filipino cinema.

Her early films included "Brutal", "Of the Flesh", and "Baby Tsina", sharp condemnations of the oppressive social system of the Marcos era. These and the works of a master Lino Brocka brought Philippine cinema to worldwide attention.

The Marcos regime fell in 1986 and was replaced by the government of Corazon Aquino. Ms. Diaz-Abaya left filmmaking for several years and produced television programs dealing with social and political problems to achieve social reform. Since launching her career as a film director, she has consistently worked for the establishment of democracy in the Philippines.

With the release of "Redeem Her Honor" in 1995, she returned to the cinema in a burst of activity. In the films that followed, including "Madonna and Child", "In the Navel of the Sea", "Jose Rizal", and "Reef Hunters", she has consistently maintained an uncompromising stance in her examination of difficult social problems. At the same time, her work became richer, suffused with affection for the people of the underclass, women, and children, who struggle to survive in harsh conditions. As films, Ms. Diaz-Abaya's work contained an even greater generosity of spirit and human warmth.

The filmmaker's masterpiece, "Jose Rizal", has been hailed as a brilliant work of art that depicts with originality and exceptional expressiveness a national hero from an entirely new perspective as an artist and human being. The film became a great success in the Philippines, where films with a high degree of entertainment content are very popular and this success is expected to usher in a new era in Philippine film.

Ms. Diaz-Abaya's body of work harmoniously blends entertainment, social consciousness, and ethnic awareness. It has won acclaim both in the Philippines and abroad for its high level of artistic achievement. It is an ideal manifestation of the artistic culture of Asia, and so is most deserving of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.