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7 Filipino films in Busan Fest

/ 12:07 AM September 18, 2017

Sid Lucero in “Smaller and Smaller Circles”

Seven Filipino movies are in the lineup of the 22nd Busan International Film Festival, to be held in South Korea from Oct. 12 to 21.

Included in the exhibition section, “A Window on Asian Cinema,” are Raya Martin’s “Smaller and Smaller Circles,” Gerardo Calagui’s “Mga Gabing Kasinghaba ng Hair Ko,” Sonny Calvento’s “Nabubulok” and Joseph Israel Laban’s “Baconaua.”

Martin’s film, which is an adaptation of an acclaimed Filipino crime novel, is making its world premiere in Busan, along with Calagui’s entry, which is “loosely inspired” by the real stories of three transgender women.

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Meanwhile, “Baconaua” and “Nabubulok,” entries in this year’s Cinemalaya, are holding their international premieres in Busan.

Interestingly, most of these Filipino films tackle gritty crime stories: Martin’s film centers on the hunt for a serial killer; Calagui’s and Laban’s entries touch on the drug menace; and Calvento’s movie focuses on a murder case.

The Busan website describes Calvento’s film as “part thriller and part social critique…[which] asks if the rot is in the house, the marriage, the town, or in Philippine society.”

The films of Martin and Calagui are in the running for the Kim Jiseok Award—the jury of which includes London-based critic Tony Rayns.

Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz is part of the New Currents jury, which is headed by Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, whose “Platoon” will be shown in Busan, too. A Vietnam war movie, “Platoon” was shot in the Philippines in 1986.

Also in competition is Carlo Fajarda’s short film “Suerte,” which tells the story of student filmmakers who get embroiled in the drug scene while shooting a documentary.

Also vying for honors is Jewel Maranan’s “In the Claws of a Century Wanting,” a documentary feature on the struggles of Tondo residents, who are to be relocated to the outskirts of the city by the housing authority. The Busan website calls Maranan’s docu a “filmic symphony.”

In exhibition is Carlo Francisco Manatad’s short film “Jodilerks dela Cruz, Employee of the Month,” which premiered in the International Critics’ Week section of Cannes last May.

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Filipinos also made it to the Asian Film Academy (AFA) this year. Cinematographer Theo Lozada is an AFA fellow, along with director Rina B. Tsou, who is Filipino-Taiwanese.

Two Filipino projects were also chosen as part of the Asian Film Market: Loy Arcenas’ “Sa Lilim” (Shade), written by Rody Vera and produced by Alemberg Ang, is included in the market, along with Sheron Dayoc’s latest film, “Gospel of the Beast,” written by Honee Alipio and produced by TBA.

Founded in 2006, the Asian Film Market “serves as a total film market that covers all stages of filmmaking—from preproduction to film sales.”

A total of 298 films from 75 countries will be shown in Busan this year—129 of which are world and international premieres.

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TAGS: 22nd Busan International Film Festival, A Window on Asian Cinema, Baconaua, Busan Fest, Filipino films, Gerardo Calagui, Joseph Israel Laban, Mga Gabing Kasinghaba ng Hair Ko, Nabubulok, Raya Martin, Smaller and Smaller Circles, Sonny Calvento
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