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Pitch perfect, indie way

/ 12:40 AM August 15, 2017

Participants at the Cinemalaya-DGPI Pitching Forum —GRAZEL GUECO

In this speed-dating experience, almost everyone comes home a winner, both the searchee and the searcher.

Now on its sixth year, the annual Cinemalaya-DGPI Pitching Forum has consistently served as a propitious launching pad for both the filmmakers and their proposed projects.

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The Independent Filmmakers’ Cooperative (IFC) initiated this event in 2011, with the support of Cinemalaya and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Last year, the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) took over the reins.

“The forum aims to help directors have a successful career by making their material market-ready,” said Rica Arevalo, DGPI board director and the event’s co-forum director with Roni Bertubin. “It gives filmmakers the chance to have exclusive, one-on-one meetings with producers and financiers, round-robin style.”

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Asserted DGPI president Mike Sandejas: “The pitching event is a venue to help bring new film projects to fruition. It’s also a great way to expand connections and renew old industry ties.”

Arevalo quipped: “Successful partnerships and relevant films were produced in the last seven years because of this ‘speed-dating’ meet.”

Formerly known as  Manila Film Financing Forum, the gathering’s previous editions yielded such indie movies as Hannah Espia’s “Transit,” Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s “Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita,” Baby Ruth Villarama’s “Jazz in Love,” Loy Arcenas’ “REquieme!,” Gino M. Santos’ “The Animals,” Real Florido’s” “1st Ko si 3rd” and Kip Oebanda’s “Tumbang Preso.”

Cinemalaya 2017 entries like Alberto Monteras II’s “Respeto,” Nerissa Picadizo’s “Requited” and Thop Nazareno’s “Kiko Boksingero” joined last year’s forum.

“Respeto,” which was the toast of this year’s Cinemalaya, bagged two awards last year: the DGPI Prize and the CMB Prize. “‘Respeto’ benefited from the CMB Prize because the director won free equipment use,” Arevalo related.

Held at the CCP last Aug. 5, this year’s edition attracted representatives from the Film Development Council of the Philippines and major companies, like Star Cinema, APT Entertainment, TBA Studios, Solar Entertainment, Fox Channels, iFlix, Black Maria Pictures, Central Digital Lab, RS Video, CMB Film Services, Cinema One, Hubo and Unitel.

Each firm gave an award to its chosen projects.

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The APT Entertainment Award, which came with P25,000, was won by Pabelle Manikan and Wena Sanchez’s “Blondie.” Star Cinema’s Choice (P20,000 each) went to Dexter Hemedez and Allan Michael Ibañez’s “Pilot” and Ely Buendia’s “Kontrata.” “Pilot” also won the Unitel Prize (P25,000), while “Kontrata” also clinched the Central Digital Lab Award (Color Correction Package) and the Solar Entertainment Prize (P500,000 worth of TV advertising spots).

Marc Stanley Mozo’s “Si Wacky” scored the TBA Prize (P25,000). Hubo’s Gender Sensitive Award (P5,000 each) was shared by Martika Ramirez Escobar’s “Ang Pagbabalik ng Kuwago” and Rae Red’s “Babae at Baril.”

The CMB Prize (free crew and film equipment rental) was given to three entries: Dennis Marasigan’s “Ampalaya Monologues,” Carlo Enciso Catu’s “Kung Paano Hinihintay ang Dapithapon” and Escobar’s “Ang Pagbabalik ng Kuwago.”

Catu’s “Dapithapon” scored the DGPI’s Choice honor, too.

The Best Film Pitch was bagged by Rolin Migyuel Obina’s “Pag-Uulyanin ni Olivia Mendoza.” Among the top winner’s prizes are P15,000, a free trip to the 2018 Cannes Film Festival (where the director can pitch the film), one-year iFlix subscription, and a DCP Package from Black Maria Pictures.

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