‘Taklub’ opens Cinemalaya next month
“We have already achieved our goals for the first 10 years. This year, we want to go beyond the Philippines and expand to other regions,” said actress-director Laurice Guillen as she explained why the 11th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival carried the theme “Broadening Horizons.”
Guillen, who is also Cinemalaya Foundation president, added: “But since we’re conservative, we opted to start working on this goal by inviting foreign films to participate in our festival. Our indie scene, compared to other parts of the Asian region, enjoys the most creative freedom. Filmmakers who have difficulty getting their movies shown in their own country are very much welcome here. Starting this year, we will have an Asian showcase.”
The festival will run from Aug. 7 to 15 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City.
According to Guillen, the section called The Independents: Festival Premieres of Asian Films will open with Zhang Yimou’s acclaimed “Coming Home,” featuring Gong Li.
This section will also showcase award-winning films of Netpac (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) such as Shi Wei’s “The Ferry,” Reis Celik’s “The Night of Silence,” JuAnqi’s ‘“Poet on a Business Trip,” Hiroshi Toda’s “Summer Kyoto,” Sanalkumar Sashidaran’s “Six Feet High,” Marat Sarulu’s “The Move,” The Maw Naing’s “The Monk,” Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s “The Owners,” Sotho Kulikar’s “The Last Reel,” and Isao Takahata’s “The Tale of Princess Kaguya.”
Since 2005, Cinemalaya has featured films by young directors under its New Breed category; and since 2010, works of veteran filmmakers. For its 2015 edition, however, the competition will only be for short films.
The 10 competing shorts are Ryanne Murcia’s “Apasol,” Glenmark Doromal and Eero Yves Francisco’s “Gatilyo ng Baril,” Arvin Belarmino’s “Kyel,” Petersen Vargas’ “Lisyun Qng Geografia,” Annemikami Pablo’s “Mater,” Milo Tolentino’s “Nenok,” Darwin Novicio’s “Papetir,” Martika Ramirez Escobar’s “Pusong Bato,” Kenneth Dagatan’s ‘“Sanctissima,” and Angelie Mae Macalanda’s “Wawa.” The winner will receive P150,000 cash prize.
The competition process for the full-length feature category is ongoing and the screening of the films will be held in August 2016, said Guillen. “By the end of the month, we will finalize our list of 10 full-length finalists, which will be revealed during the fest’s closing night,” she added. “We’ve decided to adjust our timetable. A yearlong preparation will give them enough time to look for counterpart financiers and to shoot their films.”
In addition to the competition, Cinemalaya will offer the following sections: Indie Nation, which will feature local films that are premiering at the Cinemalaya; Cinemalaya Retrospective or the best Cinemalaya films from 2005 to 2014; the Cinemalaya Documentaries will offer titles such as Cecilia Asuncion’s “Sayaw” and Jethro Patalinghug’s “My Revolutionary Mother,” among others.
The Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, which is considered the longest-running independent film competition of its kind in the Asean region, will be an added feature, according to CCP Artistic Director Chris Millado, who is also Cinemalaya festival director.
“This has become the launch pad of many independent filmmakers,” Millado said. The event will be held on Aug. 8, 9 and 11, also at the CCP.
Millado said there would also be screenings of digitally restored and remastered films, as well as some Cinemalaya films that won the Audience Choice award in previous years.
He added that the section called Cinemalaya Campus would feature workshops to be attended by students and academicians. Its aim is to “gather honest criticism of indie films from different sectors.” It will be held on Aug. 11 and 12 at the CCP Little Theater.
While it has sought to nurture Filipino filmmakers through yearly competitions, Cinemalaya aims to inspire Asian filmmakers by showcasing the Philippines as the cinematic center of creativity and free artistic expression and to professionalize film practitioners in various aspects of film production, said Millado in a statement.
Launched this year is the Cinemalaya Institute, which offers a three-semester program of intensive training in writing, directing and producing; cinematography, editing, sound and production design, music score and acting.
The institute opened with the first cluster of courses in writing, directing and producing in June at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, the Cinemalaya Foundation’s partner for this project.
Guillen reported that the first batch of students, taught by professors from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts in Singapore, had already finished the first module of classes in directing. “We are going to show some of the projects from the directing class during the festival.”
She added: “As these young directors prepare for their films, they can enroll in courses that will help them refine their ideas for their first full-length competition.”
Cinemalaya films will also be screened at the Greenbelt Mall in Makati City. This year’s opening film is Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s “Taklub,” which features award-winning actress Nora Aunor.