Berlin film festival says yes to ‘Nono’
Apart from Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s “Captive” in the main section, there’s another Filipino indie film at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.
Rommel Tolentino’s “Nono” has made it to the Generation Kplus competition to be held during the A-list German fest, which runs from February 9 to 19, 2012.
“We are pretty excited and privileged to be part of the Berlinale,” Tolentino told the Inquirer, “but even more ecstatic and overwhelmed that this invitation will bring so much joy to my team and the staff of the Asian Cinema Fund.”
He explained that the Asian Cinema Fund of the Busan International Film Festival had believed in the project from day one. “The ACF funded our script in 2008.”
Going to Berlin is an affirmation. “It means that a Filipino film is worthy to compete with some of the best in the world,” he noted. “It warms my heart to know that a small independent film can represent the country in one of the biggest and most prestigious festivals there is.”
Like its titular character, “Nono” was an underdog, the little film that could and did, in many ways.
(“Nono” tells the story of an 8-year-old kid with a cleft palate who wants to join a declamation contest.)
“There was very little money available to produce our film,” he recalled. “We managed to get it done through a lot of hard work and a great deal of heart. It’s a little story that the whole team believed was worth telling. It’s a small film that we all believed was worth making.”
“Nono” will be vying for top honors in the same section, Generation Kplus, where Maryo J. de los Reyes’ “Magnifico” and Auraeus Solito’s “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” won prizes.
“The Berlinale’s Generation section caters to children and young adults,” he pointed out. “It’s a perfect fit for our film. It’s important for us to know that we are part of a competition that shares our passion and drive in reaching out to the youth.”
He hopes to touch more viewers, young and old alike, when the film debuts in Germany next year.
“From Berlin, we wish that more people would want to screen our movie elsewhere,” he remarked. He describes it as “a movie that people, regardless of nationality, should see just for the simple fact that it may put a smile on their faces. Perhaps it may also give them a fresh perspective on what a Filipino child is, what he is capable of and what he is made of.”
But first there’s the huge challenge of actually getting to Europe.
“We hope to get enough financial support to bring us, including our young cast, to Berlin,” he said. “It would be priceless to have the children of ‘Nono’ walk with us on the red carpet at the film’s European premiere. It’s a hurdle that we have to overcome.” Just like other obstacles before it, no doubt.
In the meantime, “Nono” runs until today at the Eight Colors of Asian Cinema showcase in Seoul.
“The screening was made possible by the Korean Film Council and the Asian Cinema Fund of the Busan fest,” said Tolentino. “It’s the only Filipino film among eight in the lineup. The rest are from Thailand (four films) and Malaysia (three).”
Next stop for Tolentino is a coproduction project with Japan that combines animation and live action.
“It’s currently in preproduction.”
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