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QCinema unveils over 40 films

/ 12:30 AM October 16, 2018

Pokwang (left) and Joonee Gamboa in “Oda sa Wala”

Even though there are a slew of film festivals happening in Manila all year round, QCinema, now on its sixth year, remains a bullish, bustling event for both filmmakers and film lovers.

Festival director Ed Lejano told the Inquirer that, apart from its three competition sections (Circle, RainbowQC, Asian New Wave), new exhibition programs have also been prepared for discerning cineastes: Screen International, Digitally Remastered Series: Dance, TF1 French Classics, Children’s Films from Denmark and Special Screenings.

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All in all, Lejano pointed out, “almost 50 films” will be presented in this year’s QCinema.

In an ever-changing media landscape, Lejano explained, theatrical screenings have become all the more vital and relevant. Sadly, today’s youth prefer video-streaming platforms online and most cineplexes only screen Hollywood blockbusters and escapist fare, he conceded.

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In such a challenging setup, film festivals play an indispensable cultural role.

“Billie & Emma”

Rare cinematic experience

“It is only through events like QCinema where important international titles can be shown locally,” Lejano asserted. “A well-selected and curated programming enables us to offer millennials the rare cinematic experience of watching internationally acclaimed films on the big screen.”

And cinema, as a collective experience, “is something that smartphones, tablets or computer screens can never replicate.”

This year’s fest boasts a powerhouse lineup of award winners, led by Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” which won the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes.

Other prize winners on this year’s roster are Yeo Siew Hua’s “A Land Imagined” (Golden Leopard, Locarno), Kamila Andini’s “The Seen and Unseen” (Grand Prize, Tokyo Filmex), Agnes Varda and JR’s “Faces Places” (Golden Eye, Cannes), Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War” (best director, Cannes), Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s “Manta Ray” (best film, Venice Horizons), and Gaspar Noé’s “Climax” (best film, Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight).

Not just foreign titles

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Apart from foreign titles, the QCinema fest also takes pride in its annual local tilt, which has produced such widely celebrated films as Sheron Dayoc’s “Women of the Weeping River” and Khavn de la Cruz’s “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness.”

This year, the Circle Competition is offering five films from emerging and established directors (who received a grant worth P1.5 million each): Samantha Lee’s LGBTQ romance “Billie & Emma,” Timmy Harn’s basketball youth flick “Dog Days: Pinoy Hoop Dreams,” Dan Villegas’ geriatric love story “Hintayan ng Langit,” Gutierrez Mangansakan II’s Mindanao family epic “Masla A Papanok,” and Dwein Baltazar’s Gothic dramedy “Oda sa Wala.”

“Masla A Papanok”

QCinema will also unveil two documentaries that received grants (P300,000) from organizers: Wena Sanchez’s “All Grown Up” (about autism) and Hiyas Baldemor Bagabaldo’s “Pag-ukit sa Paniniwala” (which focuses on the sculptors of Paete).

Optimistic

Lejano feels it’s imperative to continue the work of film festivals, which perform an educational function, as well—exposing the youth to the best of world and Philippine cinema.

“As we celebrate 100 years of Philippine cinema, Filipino indie films continue its momentum in gaining recognition abroad,” Lejano remarked.

Lejano waxes optimistic about the future of indie films.

Recent box-office “successes of (indie productions) show us how new spins to rom-com or action genres continue to attract local audiences and illustrate the need to inject fresh approaches to formula to maintain the film industry’s vitality.”

QCinema will be held from Oct. 21 to 30 at Gateway Mall, Robinsons Galleria, SM City North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Manila, SM Mall of Asia, TriNoma and UP Town Center.

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TAGS: “Billie & Emma”, “Masla A Papanok”, “Oda sa Wala”, Ed Lejano, films, QCinema
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