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2018 Cinemalaya tackles travails of aging and horrors of martial law

14th edition of biggest indie film festival in Southeast Asia sees more women filmmakers
/ 05:03 AM July 09, 2018

14th Cinemalaya organizers and filmmakers at the Cultural Center of the Philippines main lobby

Old age and its wages and the horrors of martial law are some of the significant themes that are tackled in the movies in the main competition of the 2018 Cinemalaya on Aug. 3-12, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and elsewhere.

Veteran director Mel Chionglo, head of Cinemalaya’s monitoring committee, said that while the 14th edition of the annual festival would again see the screening of a “variety of exciting films,” quite notable would be be “at least two films about aging”:

Carlo Enciso Catu’s “Kung Paano Hinihintay ang Dapithapon (English title: “Waiting for Sunset”), and Denise O’Hara’s “Mamang,” a comedy which stars veteran singer Celeste Legaspi as an old woman struggling against dementia.

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Chionglo said the rest of the movies are “social and political commentaries” such as Benedicto Mique Jr’s “ML” (a stark tale about a young man whose school research leads him to uncover a retired military officer’s horrendous role during the military dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos); Kip Oebanda’s “Liway,” about a communist rebel mom in detention during the days leading to the 1986 revolution that ousted Marcos and how she tries to shield her child from the harsh reality of prison life; and Iar Lionel Arondaing’s “Musmos na Sumibol sa Gubat ng Digma” (“Unless the Water is Safer than the Land”), a coming-of-age story about two kids divided by “rido” (Muslim blood feud).

Directors of the movies in the 2018 Cinemalaya Main Competition –PHOTOS BY LESTER G. BABIERA

Ten movies are in the main competition. The others are Percival Intalan’s “Distance” (domestic drama); James Robin Mayo’s “Kuya Wes” (romantic comedy); Che Espiritu’s “Pan de Salawal” (magic realism); and Luisito Lagdameo Ignacio’s “School Service” and Afi Africa’s “The Lookout” (both about the criminal underworld).

Theme of the 2018 Cinemalaya is “Wings of Vision,” festival director and CCP artistic director Chris Millado said.

Chionglo noted the high presence of female filmmakers in this year’s festival, such as directors O’Hara, Espiritu and Fabella and “Distance” writer Keavy Eunice Vicente.

Cinemalaya Foundation president Laurice Guillen

“We are hoping that in the future, there will be more female filmmakers,” Chionglo said.

100 years of cinema

Veteran actor-director Laurice Guillen, president of Cinemalaya Foundation, said that the 14th installment of Cinemalaya, the biggest festival of independent movies in Southeast Asia, would kick off the centenary of film in the Philippines.
Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of cinema in the country, she noted.
Guillen noted the growth of the Philippine independent film industry in terms of the increasing number of new filmmakers whose movies “have had modest to huge success in the box office.”

Iar Lionel Arondaing’s “Musmos na Sumibol sa Gubat ng Digma”

Like Chionglo, she likewise recognized the growing list of female filmmakers who were setting new standards and trends.

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“These (female filmmakers) are the screenwriters, editors, cinematographers, actors and producers who started out as independents—many of them from Cinemalaya—and now in demand in the mainstream of the film industry,” Guillen said.

Some of the female filmmakers who were part of the previous Cinemalaya editions were Hannah Espia (2013 New Breed Category Best Director for “Transit”) and Sigrid Andrea Bernardo (2012 Short Film Best Screenplay for “Ang Paghihintay sa Bulong”).
Ten movies will compete in the short film category: “Babyon” by Keith Deligero; “Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee of the Month” by Carlo Francisco Manatad; “Kiko” by Jojo Driz; “Logro” by Kani Villaflor; “Nangungupahan” by Glenn Barit; “Sa Saiyang Isla” by Christian Candelaria; “Si Astrid Maka si Tambulah” by Xeph Suarez; “Siyudad sa Bulawan” by Jarell Serencio; “Yakap” by Mika Fabella and Rafael Froilan Jr.; and “You, Me and Mr. Wiggles” by Jay Velasco.

Benedicto Mique Jr’s “ML”

Aside from the competitions, the festival also features different programs such as the documentary section “Dokyu”; a showcase of best Asian films in “Visions of Asia,” curated by French film critic Max Tessier; Directing and Production Management Workshops under the Cinemalaya Institute; and the Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video.

The Cinemalaya Campus will also be held on Aug. 7-8.

Maryo J., Bernardo Bernardo

Cinemalaya will also pay homage to the late Maryo J. de los Reyes through a special run of his films “Bagets” and “Magnifico.”
National Artist Ishmael Bernal’s “Manila by Night” will be screened as a tribute to the late actor Bernardo Bernardo, who won the Gawad Urian Best Actor award in 1980 for the movie.

CCP artistic director Chris Millado

The Retrospective section will play Treb Monteras’ “Respeto” and Joseph Israel Laban’s “Baconaua,” Best Picture and Special Jury Prize winners in last year’s Cinemalaya.

Chionglo said that while the Cinemalaya competition entries would also be shown in Ayala Cinemas in Metro Manila and Legazpi City, Albay, he looked forward to meeting moviegoers at the CCP, the festival’s main site.

Denise O’Hara’s “Mamang”

“When you watch the films here (in CCP), there’s a certain kind of energy and excitement that affect all the filmgoers,” he said. “Kapag nakikita mo sila discussing the films and interacting, that is the festival atmosphere that you will never get to see if you see the films after the festival.” –CONTRIBUTED

Call CCP Media Arts at 8321125 local 1704 or 1712. Visit www.cinemalaya.org and Cinemalaya Facebook page.

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