Raya returns to South Korea | Inquirer Entertainment

Raya returns to South Korea

/ 12:05 AM October 24, 2017

Nonie Buencamino (left) and Sid Lucero in “Smaller and Smaller Circles”

For Filipino filmmaker Raya Martin, this year’s Busan International Film Festival marks a momentous homecoming of sorts.

His latest film, “Smaller and Smaller Circles,” was part of the Window on Asian Cinema section and vied for the Kim Ji-seok Award at the Busan fest, which wrapped up on Oct. 21 in South Korea.


“Personally, I was excited to show my film here,” Martin told the Inquirer via e-mail. “Especially since the Korean audience has been very supportive of my cinema since the early stage of my career. It felt special to show this movie to them since it points to a new direction in my filmmaking.”


Martin’s 2009 film “Independencia” was shown in Busan, but it was his first time to attend the festival this year. Producer Ria Limjap recounted that Martin had joined other Korean fests, though. “Jeonju screened ‘The Great Cinema Party.’”

Also, for the first time, the young director, who is primarily known for experimental works, ventured into a genre movie, a crime thriller based on a novel by FH Batacan. Martin’s film follows the investigation into the gruesome deaths of young boys at the hands of a serial killer.

Raya Martin in Busan

“Considering that the story is set in 1997, it remains timely—not only with what’s happening in our country, but also the rest of the world,” Martin explained. “I believe all of this is interconnected and that the Filipino story is also a global story. It’s a human story.”

He pointed out that the film raises “a lot of questions about our society—our politics, our relationship with authority. On an existential level, it also questions our faith.”

He hopes foreign audiences will connect with the film’s message. “There are lots of facets in the movie that speaks about the unique Filipino-ness. But one of the things that struck me was that, despite our obvious extroverted character, Filipinos are essentially ruminative.”

The indie filmmaker hopes to reach a wider audience in Busan.


“We hope to be able to sell the film to different territories,” he said.

Back to the home front, there was talk of fielding the movie in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival.

The slaughter of innocents might be too dark for the annual film fiesta, but Martin related that its producers, TBA, still chose a December playdate.

“It will open on Dec. 6 in the Philippines, and that’s the most important thing for me as a director. It’s a film that I made largely with the Filipino audience in mind,” Martin asserted.

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In any case, the film’s highlight has the Simbang Gabi as backdrop!

TAGS: Busan International Film Festival, Raya Martin

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