As Cinemalaya enters its 13th year, the mother of all independent Filipino films festivals continues to stay the course as it showcases once more new and/or emerging film talents Aug. 4-13 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
This year’s theme, “See the Big Picture,” may very well be the challenge to both the government and theater owners to fully get behind the film festival, which has supported and promoted the production of 127 full-length independent films and 106 short films since it was launched in 2005.
Festival director and CCP artistic director Chris Millado said that while Cinemalaya received P15 million from the government, running the festival actually cost P40-45 million.
And yet, despite the meager budget, Cinemalaya can very well say it has been successful every year as its showcased films have gone on to win awards in both local and international competitions, Millado said.
Millado added that Cinemalaya has single-handedly changed the landscape of Philippine cinema not only here but also abroad as it practically showcases the best the industry has to offer.
“If that is a source of pride, what is P15 million?” he asked.
The nine full-length films and their directors in competition are: “Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa” (My Teacher Who Doesn’t Know How to Read) by Perry Escaño; “Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha” (The Family That Doesn’t Weep) by Mes de Guzman; “Baconaua” by Joseph Israel Laban; “Bagahe” (Baggage) by Zig Dulay; “Nabubulok” (Decaying) by Sonny Calvento; “Kiko Boksingero” by Thop Nazareno; “Requited” by Nerissa Picadizo; “Respeto” by Treb Monteras II; and “Sa Gabing Nananahimik ang Mga Kuliglig” (The Night When the Cicadas Are Quiet) by Iar Lionel Benjamin Arondaing.
The 2016-2017 selection committee was composed of directors Mel Chionglo, José Javier Reyes and Rodolfo “Jun” Lana; actress Ina Feleo; Inquirer Arts and Books editor Lito Zulueta.
The 12 short films are: “Aliens Ata” (Maybe Aliens) by Karl Glenn Barit; “Bawod” (Bent) by TM Malones; “Fatima Marie Torres and the Invasion of Space Shuttle Pinas 25” by Carlo Francisco Manatad; “Hilom” (Still) by P.R. Patindol; “Islabodan” (Free Men) by Juan Carlo Tarobal; “Juana and the Sacred Shores” by Antonne Santiago; “Lola Loleng” (Grandma Loleng) by Jean Cheryl Tagyamon; “Manong ng Pa-aling” (Man of Pa-Aling) by E del Mundo; “Maria” by Jaime Habac Jr.; “Nakauwi Na” by Marvin Cabungay and Jaynus Olaivar; “Nakaw” by Arvin Belarmino and Noel Escondol; and “Sorry for the Inconvenience” by Carl Adrian Chavez.
Cinemalaya Foundation chair Laurice Guillen praised the growing number of filmmakers, writers, cinematographers, sound and music designers, actors who are being introduced through the festival, thus giving the movie-
goers more alternative films.
Guillen said Cinemalaya had spurred the growth of “more independent film festivals in the country, enabling more and more Filipinos to have the freedom and the opportunity to create and share.”
When Cinemalaya began, it enjoyed a respectable number of 15,000 viewers, but in less than 10 years, it was able to reach as much as 100,000 viewers in one festival run, Millado said.
Will the festival be able to bounce back even stronger this year?
Millado hoped so, and he pointed out that despite the terrible road traffic or bad August weather, people still flocked to CCP for Cinemalaya.
“I’m not that superstitious pero tuwing Cinemalaya, may nangyayaring magic,” Millado said. “Ibig sabihin may talagang dahilan bakit kailangan suungin ang baha, harapin ang bagyo para mapanood lamang ang mga kwento ng ating mga new breed of filmmakers.”
Aside from its full-length and the short-film categories, Cinemalaya will once again have mainstay programs such Panoptika, the documentary section; Festivals’ Best, which showcases the best films from other local film festivals; Indie Nation, a special section featuring independent films; Asian Showcase, featuring award-winning Asian and Netpac films; “Outdoor Screeening”; the best of animation in Animahenasyon; and the Cinemalaya Institute showcase.
Films starring legendary actress Lolita Rodriguez will be screened, such as Lino Brocka’s “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” (1974), and “Ina, Kapatid, Anak” (1979); and Mel Chionglo’s “Lucia” (1992).
The festival will also pay tribute to acclaimed director Gil Portes by screening three of his best films: “Mulanay” (1996); “Mga Munting Tinig” (2002); and “Two Funerals” (2010).
Cinemalaya Campus, a major component of the festival, will take place at the CCP Little Theater. The Cinemalaya awards night is set for Aug. 13 at CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater).
Call 8323704, 8321125 loc. 1704-1705. Visit www.cinemalaya.org, www.culturalcenter.gov.ph.