MANILA, Philippines—Five independent filmmakers will each get a cash grant of P2 million from the organizers of the annual Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival, according to festival director Ronald Arguelles.
Directors Borgy Torre, Mes de Guzman, Miko Livelo, Adolfo Alix Jr. and Keith Sicat would be competing under the Cinema One Plus category, while 10 others, who each got a P1-million grant, would be featured under the Cinema One Currents, Arguelles told the Inquirer.
Torre’s entry, titled “Kabisera,” is set in Bacolod City. It tells of one’s transformation from a naïve, innocent man to a ruthless father, friend, and eventually, a drug dealer.
De Guzman’s psychological drama “Sitio” is about a family that returns from the city to the province in search of a simpler life. “They find more problems and setbacks instead,” Argulles shared. It is set in Nueva Vizcaya, where the director is currently based.
“Blu Bustamante,” by Livelo, tells of the plight of an overseas Filipino worker in Japan who suddenly finds himself jobless. A friend introduces him to a sentai (squadron) director, who convinces him to double for Blue Force, a super hero character in an upcoming Japanese super hero show.
Alix directs the drama film “Ang Alamat ng China Doll,” which was written by Lav Diaz. It tells of Helen, 25, who is about to graduate from high school and start a new life. “Things take a drastic turn when a journalist publishes an article about ‘China Doll,’ Arguelles reported.
Sicat’s science fiction “Woman of the Ruins” tells of the strange experiences of the people on a storm-ravaged island when a person long assumed dead reappears. The incident ignites a frenzy of reactions, ranging from ecstatic religious fervor to fear.
“An innovation this year is the formation of two sets of jurors for the two categories. Also, there are a lot of first-time directors that made it this year. The lineup has a younger vibe compared to other festivals. The concepts are more thought-provoking,” Arguelles shared.
Included in the Currents category is Kristian Cordero’s period film “Angustia.” It is set in 19th Century Bicolandia, when a Spanish friar falls in love with a woman of indigenous origins. Conflict arises and paranoia drives the Spanish friar to murder.
Timmy Harn directs the film “Ang Pagbabalat ng Ahas,” which tells of the experiences of the members of a lower middle-class family that moves in to an upper middle-class village, where a mad scientist is keeping a snake-man.
Whammy Alcazaren works on “Islands,” an experimental/science fiction flick. “A spacecraft lands through the geographies of the fictional film, ‘Islands’ and the reality in which it is being filmed as a movie,” described Arguelles.
“Bukas na lang Sapagkat Gabi na,” by Jet Leyco, is a four-part narrative of three related occurrences caused by a tragic accident of a Filipino-Spanish priest. Meanwhile, Keith Deligero’s “Iskalawags” is an aching tale of friendship, youth, and a journey toward self-discovery. It features the breath-taking view of the Camotes Island in Cebu.
Joseph Laban’s horror flick has this for a working title: “The Suffocating Eternity of an Imagined Purgatory.” It tells of disappearing children living on an island in Marinduque. They are believed to be “kidnapped” by the spirits of the sea.
“A Philippino Story,” by B. Garcia Chicote, is a cautionary tale about the dangers of male prostitution. The “Shift,” by Siege Ledesma, tells of a unique romantic story. When an idealistic, tomboyish, call center slacker is mentored by a pragmatic, gay senior agent, an unconventional relationship blossoms that would challenge their most personal convictions.
“Bendor, “ by Ralston Jover, is set 40 days before the annual Good Friday procession of the miraculous 400-year-old Black Nazarene statue at the Quiapo church in Manila. “An early morning Mass is disrupted when a candle vendor finds a blood-soaked box with a dead fetus inside,” said Arguelles.
Arnel Mardoquio’s “Riddels of my Homecoming,” tells of the Lumads and Moros of Mindanao and their traditional belief that when a person dies his soul goes back to his homeland.
Entries to the Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival will be shown in cinemas in Makati, Mandaluyong and Quezon City. The festival is scheduled in November.