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Long time coming for PH shorts in Cannes

Young filmmakers hope to get noticed in world’s biggest fest, too

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CARLO Manatad’s “Oasis Redux” stars Katherine Luna.

Like their compatriots in the feature-length section, Filipino short filmmakers hope to stand out at the 66th Cannes International Film Festival, set on May 15 to 26.

Accepted into the Short Film Corner are Aiess Alonso’s “Katapusang Labok,” Carlo Manatad’s “Oasis Redux” and Roderick Cabrido’s “Mga Engkantong Laog sa Mahabang Dapithapon.”

The three Filipino full-length features in the annual French festival are:

Lav Diaz’s “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” and Adolfo Alix Jr.’s “Death March,” which are competing in the Un Certain Regard section; and Erik Matti’s “On the Job” in the Directors’ Fortnight.

The Cannes Short Film Corner began in 2004. In 2009, Aissa Peñafiel and Miguel Ocampo’s “Manong Maong” and Janice Y. Perez’s “Sabongero” were shown in this event.

Cabrido, a 28-year-old documentary producer for GMA 7, said he was attending the festival, with Alonso, 23, and Manatad, 25.

Start of journey

AIESS Alonso’s “Katapusang Labok,” with Nicolo Manreal (center)

Cabrido said he planned to join other foreign fests with his short film, and Cannes was a great way to start the journey. “While there,” he said, “I will also look for counter-financing for my next project.” He is producing Joseph Israel Laban’s “Nuwebe,” an entry in this year’s Cinemalaya fest.

The Short Film Corner was organized precisely as a venue for filmmakers to “present their work, meet and network with industry players, financiers and distributors.”

It is Alonso’s first time in Cannes. “I’ll make it a point to market our short films and learn more about other projects in the Film Market.”

Manatad, a film editor by profession, described “Oasis” to the Inquirer: “A surreal dark drama. A mood film … not plot-driven nor character-based.” It’s about a young mother who moves to a faraway province as she comes to terms with a personal loss.

“It was shot two years ago,” he told the Inquirer. “Screening in Cannes is the best way to give back to the people who made it possible.”

Cabrido tackles the trading of human organs in his short, “Mga Engkantong Laog sa Mahabang Dapithapon” (or “The Nomadic Creatures of a Long Twilight”).

“The World Health Organization recently announced that the Philippines is one of the countries where the illegal trade is quite rampant,” Cabrido said.

RODERICK Cabrido with lead star Anita Linda on the set of “Mga Engkantong Laog sa Mahabang Dapithapon”

He feels that the problem is not given enough attention by government and mainstream media. “Film is a powerful medium for information.”

Alonso’s “Katapusang Labok” (or “Last Strike”) is a nostalgic homecoming for the young director.

 

Undergrad thesis

“It was my undergraduate thesis in UP Diliman,” she said. She grew up in Cebu and so intended  her film to “reflect the culture and language of my home province.”

She chronicles the “struggles of fisherfolk”—as they confront a changing environment brought about by man’s abuses.

She found shooting in the province arduous, with limited access to equipment and actors. “But this should inspire regional filmmakers to create films outside of urban centers,” she said.

(bayanisandiegojr@gmail.com)


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