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P20-M grant awaits 15 digital movies

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Fifteen “thought-provoking” stories are featured in this year’s Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival.

Five of the “most commercial projects” in the lineup will get a grant of P2 million each, according to festival director Ronald Arguelles.

The films of Borgy Torre, Mes de Guzman, Miko Livelo, Adolfo Alix Jr. and Keith Sicat will be competing under the Cinema One Plus category, while 10 others, which will each get a P1-million grant, will be featured under the Cinema One Currents, Arguelles tells the Inquirer.

 

Biggest so far

“We’re pleased with the number of films that will be featured this year—this is our biggest so far. We hope to give more young filmmakers the opportunity to tell their stories and showcase their talents,” adds Arguelles, who is also Cinema One channel head.

Torre’s entry, titled “Kabisera,” is set in Bacolod City. It tells of the transformation of a naïve, innocent man to a ruthless father, friend, and eventually, a drug dealer.

De Guzman’s psychological drama “Sitio” is about an urban family returning to the province in search of a simpler life. It is set in Nueva Vizcaya, where the director is currently based.

Livelo’s “Blu Bustamante” tells the plight of a 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 character in a Japanese superhero show.

Alix directs the drama “Ang Alamat ng China Doll,” written by Lav Diaz. The story is about 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.”

Sicat’s sci-fi “Woman of the Ruins” tells of the strange experiences of the people on a storm-ravaged island when a person long presumed dead reappears.

“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,” Arguelles says.

Included in the Currents category is Kristian Cordero’s period film “Angustia,” set in 19th-century Bicolandia, when a Spanish friar falls in love with an indigenous woman.

Timmy Harn directs the film “Ang Pagbabalat ng Ahas” about the experiences of the members of a lower middle-class family moving in to an upper middle-class village, where a mad scientist is keeping a “snake-man.”

Whammy Alcazaren’s “Islands” is an experimental/sci-fi flick. “Bukas na lang Sapagkat Gabi na” by Jet Leyco is a four-part narrative of three related occurrences caused by a tragic accident met by a Filipino-Spanish priest.

Keith Deligero’s “Iskalawags,” meanwhile, is a painful tale of friendship, youth and a journey toward self-discovery, and features the breath-taking view of the Camotes Island in Cebu.

Joseph Laban’s horror flick, “The Suffocating Eternity of an Imagined Purgatory,” tells of children living on an island in Marinduque who disappear and are believed “kidnapped” by the spirits of the sea.

Other entries

“A Philippino Story” by B. Garcia Chicote is a cautionary tale about the dangers of male prostitution. “Shift,” by Siege Ledesma, is an unconventional romantic story of an idealistic, tomboyish, call-center slacker mentored by a pragmatic, gay senior agent.

“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,” says Arguelles.

Arnel Mardoquio’s “Riddles of my Homecoming” depicts the Lumads and Moros of Mindanao and their 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.


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