Cinemalaya 2014 is just around the corner. Starting this Saturday (Aug. 2), moviegoers and film enthusiasts will once again flock to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (and some Ayala Cinemas) to catch some of this year’s best in the Philippine film industry. The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival is both a competition and a showcasing of cinematic works by Filipino filmmakers. Since 2005, the Cinemalaya Foundation has been granting independent filmmakers a seed grant to help them create their dream works into reality. Some of the most memorable films from the festival are Auraeus Solito’s Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros – 2005), Adolfo Alix Jr.’s Donsol (2006), Chris Martinez’s 100 (2008), Marlon Rivera’s Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank (The Woman in the Septic Tank – 2011), Jeffrey Jeturian’s Ekstra (The Bit Player – 2013), and last year’s Best Film for the New Breed category, Hannah Espia’s Transit. Now on its 10th year, Cinemalaya is set to entertain moviegoers and film enthusiasts with its lineup of movies in three different categories: the Directors Showcase, the New Breed category, and the Short Feature category. Along with the competing films are exhibitions that include “Cinemalaya Retrospective” showcasing past winning films, “Pinoy Pride” – a collection of Philippine documentaries, “Kapampangan Cinema Movement” – a collection of new short films from Pampanga filmmakers, “Cinemalaya Kids’ Treats,” and others. Another highlight of the festival is its “Film Congress.” This year, they are calling the congress “Cinemalaya 10 Forum Series” – a series of conferences that look at all aspects of independent filmmaking and distribution. Out of all the films competing in this year’s festival, here are the ones that I am most excited about:
My 10 top picks for Cinemalaya’s 10th year:
Hari ng Tondo
“A grandfather on the brink of bankruptcy brings his grandchildren back to the community that made and shaped him, only to find out the place is no longer the same.”
Director: Carlos Siguion-Reyna Cast: Robert Arevalo, Rez Cortez, Cris Villonco, Rafa Siguion-Reyna, Lorenz Martinez, Liza Lorena, Lui Manansala, Aiza Seguerra, Carlos Canlas, Mark Tayag, Ciara Sotto, Gian Magdangal, Eric Quizon, Ali Sotto, Audie Gemora, Hans Eckstein, Raul Montesa, Jelson Bay, Gino Ramirez, Menggie Cobarrubias Why I’m interested: Its plot is intriguing and its cast includes some of the most talented theater actors in the Philippines – I’m in!
“A foul-mouthed woman fights for her soul in the belly of the city. Working for a human trafficking agency controlled by a powerful syndicate, she sees no evil, hears no evil. In a society like ours, you have only two choices – to be a victim, or a victimizer – she makes her choice.”
Director: Joel C. Lamangan Cast: Nora Aunor, Rocco Nacino, Rosanna Roces, Sunshine Dizon, Gardo Versoza, Chynna Ortaleza, Jeric Gonzales, Romnick Sarmenta, Jaime Pebanco, Tony Mabesa, Miles Kanapi, Sue Prado, John Rendez, Chanel Latorre, Angela Ruiz, Menggie Cobarrubias Why I’m interested: I’d like to see if the “Superstar” still has her shine. 😉
“Crisanto Espina, a cop on suspension and under investigation, is tasked to eliminate the suspects involved in a bank robbery/massacre that shocked the whole nation.”
Director: Michael Tuviera Cast: Dennis Trillo, Richard Gomez ,Ricky Davao, Dante Rivero, Irma Adlawan, Lj Reyes, Derek Ramsay, Raymond Bagatsing, Alex Medina, Jerald Napoles, Nicco Manalo Why I’m interested: Interesting lineup of actors. Also, Irma Adlawan.
The two other films included in the Directors Showcase are Joselito Altarejos’ “Kasal” and Luisito L. Ignacio’s “Asintado.”
New Breed Category:
1st Ko Si 3rd
“Matapos ang mahigit apat na dekada ay muling makikita ni Cory ang kanyang 1st love na si Third na siyang magbibigay kulay at gugulo sa kanyang buhay bilang may asawa at retiree.”
Director: Real Florido Cast: Nova Villa, Dante Rivero, Freddie Webb, Ruby Ruiz, Lara Morena, RJ Agustin, Denise Barbacena, Coleen Borgonia, Ken Chan Why I’m interested: I think the plot is cute.
“Inspired by a tv documentary made by the same director, Children’s Show tells the story of children ages 13-15 being exploited by a powerful syndicate managing a betting game involving underground fighting.”
Director: Roderick Cabrido Cast: Allen Dizon, Gloria Sevilla, Suzette Ranillo, Nathan Lopez, Jacob Clayton, Divine Grace Aucina, Buboy Villar, Miggs Cuaderno Why I’m interested: The plot, dude.
“While the marriage of two professors is on the verge of falling apart, the woman is dragged into a scandal involving a young student. On the other hand, the man falls in love with his research — a deity (supernatural being) that appears to him as the ghost of an old flame.”
Director: Giancarlo Abrahan V Cast: Eula Valdez, Nonie Buencamino, Martin del Rosario, Sandino Martin, Max Eigenmann, Ronnie Lazaro, Frances Makil, Rolando Inocencio Why I’m interested: The plot is certainly interesting. Also, Eula Valdez.
“Unlike the former Philippine First Lady, Imelda is indifferent towards shoes. To her, they are fraught with the bittersweet nostalgia of childhood, one that was marred by a difficult relationship with her shoe-maker father, Romeo. Growing up, all of hers were handmade by him. Now a mature woman, she takes a pivotal call from the morgue, spurring her search for the perfect pair of shoes for her dead father. The deeper she searches for the perfect shoes, the more she finds herself.”
Director: Milo Sogueco Cast: Mylene Dizon, Ricky Davao, Bing Pimentel, Che Ramos, Barbie Forteza, Dennis Padilla, Mel Kimura Why I’m interested: Mylene Dizon.
“A policewoman roams the city of Manila to fulfill her duties as a police patrol and to look for her lost son.”
Director: Nick Olanka Cast: Ai-ai delas Alas, Perla Bautista, Bernardo Bernardo, Menggie Cobarrubias, Carlo Aquino, Carlos Morales, Cogie Domingo, Moi Bien, DM Sevilla and Julian Trono, with special participation of Cesar Montano and Angeli Bayani Why I’m interested: The lineup of actors is interesting. The plot seems exciting.
The five other films competing in the New Breed Category are Gino M. Santos’s “#Y,” Francis Xavier Pasion’s “Bwaya,” Ida Anita Q. Del Mundo’s “K’na, The Dreamweaver,” GB Sampedro’s “Separados,” and Janice O’Hara’s “Sundalong Kanin.”
Short Feature Category
Asan si Lolo Mê?
“A mother tells her young son that his grandfather has turned into a goat in order to cover up the grandfather’s death.”
Director: Sari Estrada Cast: Sheenly Gener, Rob Sy, Joseph Dela Cruz, Zachary Ezekiel Diaz, Goosey, Amante Pulido, Andre De Guzman Montejo, Jan Michael Jamisola Why I’m interested: I think this one’s gonna hit close to home.
There are eight other short films in the competition: J.E. Tiglao’s “Mga Ligaw na Paruparo,” Eden Villarba’s “Padulong sa Pinuy-anan,” David R. Corpuz’ “The Ordinary Things We Do,” Ralph Quijano’s “Tiya Bening,” Thop Nazareno’s “Eyeball,” Chloe Veloso’s “Ina-Tay,” Joris Fernandez’ “Indayog ng Nayatamak,” and Kevin Ang’s “Lola.”
The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival is set to run from August 1-10 in the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 3, and Fairview Terraces. For a detailed list of screenings and other information, visit their official website: Cinemalaya and their official Facebook Page: Cinemalaya 2014 – Year 10. Para sa isang dekada ng makabuluhang pelikulang Filipino, mabuhay ang Cinemalaya!