Four Filipino films will be screened at the 13th Osaka Asian Film Festival, to be held in Japan from March 9 to 18.
Competing in the fest’s main tilt are Giancarlo Abrahan’s “Paki,” Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s “Mr. and Mrs. Cruz” and Mikhail Red’s “Neomanila.”
Included in the Special Program called “New Action! Southeast Asia” is the Star Cinema romantic-comedy, Antoinette Jadaone’s “Love You to the Stars and Back,” which topbills Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia.
All four films are part of the special section, “Sandaan: 100 Years of Philippine Cinema.”
Red told the Inquirer that he was excited to return to Osaka, where he presented “Birdshot” last year. “But it is my first time to compete there,” he explained. “It’s a great city and great festival that focuses on Asian cinema and genre movies.”
Jadaone is similarly excited to screen her movie in Osaka. “So happy and overwhelmed. This film is special to me and the opportunity to share it with more people is a welcome surprise.”
Jadaone recalled that she had previously joined Osaka with the rom-coms “That Thing Called Tadhana” (as director) and Dan Villegas’ “#WalangForever” (as creative producer). “We love the Japanese audience’s reception of our films. I hope they embrace ‘Love You to the Stars and Back,’ too.”
Another Osaka regular is Bernardo. “It’s my third time to be invited. The first was in 2013 for my debut feature film, ‘Ang Huling Chacha ni Anita,’” Bernardo recalled. “The second time was last year for ‘Kita Kita.’”
She asserted: “Osaka has a special place in my heart because it was the first international film festival that invited me. It is always a pleasure and honor to be chosen among hundreds of entries from different countries.”
Lastly, Abrahan, who is joining Osaka for the first time, related: “We are really glad that just two days after the film’s international premiere in Amsterdam’s Cinemasia fest, it’ll be competing again in Osaka.”
He feels “honored to be in the same festival as this crop of young Filipino filmmakers who are among the brightest—Antoinette Jadaone, Mikhail Red and Sigrid Andrea Bernardo. They are filmmakers I would definitely want to collaborate with in the future.”
He expressed a cherished wish, though: “As we share our film with Japanese viewers, it is still our hope that a wider Filipino audience would get to see it.”
The fest aims to promote Osaka “as a gateway city for excellent Asian films, engaging many people from the fields of culture, art, education, tourism and business.”
It hopes to “serve as an open platform to contribute to the development of Osaka and cinema.”
The fest gathers “a large number of viewers from all over Japan and other countries, as well as from the local Kansai area.”
It showcases diverse films and strives to make Osaka a “hub of film culture.”