Oscars 2022 entry ‘Memoria’ to open QCinema fest tomorrow
Organizing the film fest now is like a booster shot, especially since we were gone for almost two years, said filmmaker Ed Lejano, festival director of QCinema International Film Festival, which begins its 10-day run tomorrow with in-person screenings at Gateway Cinema 10.
“We have our modest steps in jumpstarting the theatrical experience after a long wait, although, last year, we attempted a hybrid experience,” Lejano told reporters during a virtual meet. “QCinema is like a thirst trap for film fest followers all these years, so we tried to come up with a program that has both online and theatrical components.”
Aside from the screenings in Gateway, QCinema films will also be streaming on KTX. Tickets are priced the same way, P150. “This was because we gave equal importance to both platforms,” Lejano explained.
Measuring festival success
Asked what he thought would be the measure of the festival’s success this year, Lejano said: “It is how happy the people are with the festival in terms of programming. Success is also how prepared we are with the procedures for ticketing and the promotions, as well as how clear our screening schedules are, and how we do not have any major glitches. We don’t need a tenfold success like the newly released ‘James Bond’ movie. We don’t consider ourselves in that level.”
The 10-day festival opens with Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Memoria,” Cannes Festival 2021 Jury Prize winner, and Colombian entry to the 94th Academy Awards. The film, which stars Tilda Swinton, is the acclaimed director’s first English language film.
“Memoria” will be screened at Gateway Cineplex 10 with other much-acclaimed films.
The films under Screen International, which is one of QCinema’s most awaited sections, are “The Worst Person in the World,” “The Box,” “Happening,” “Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash,” “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” and “Drive My Car.”
On how difficult it was to secure the rights to these award-winning and critically acclaimed international films, Quezon City Film Foundation president Manet Dayrit recalled: “Before the pandemic, we would really go to festivals like the one in Cannes to watch as many films as we can and hobnob with all the producers just so we can get the rights to have these films screened here.
“We’re so thankful to the Quezon City government and to mayor Joy Belmonte for the budget to bring in all these films, because it’s definitely not cheap to put up a festival like this with the caliber of films that we have,” Dayrit continued. “We also have some consultants to tell us what films are out there, what films are doing well in the cinemas and in the festival routes.”
She further explained: “It takes one whole year to come up with this lineup and a lot of discussions with the distributors, so hats off also to Ed, who does most of the programming for QCinema.”
Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World” premiered in competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, with Renate Reinsve winning the award for Best Actress. It was selected as the Norwegian entry to the 94th Academy Awards. This film is copresented by the Film Development Council of the Philippines.
Lorenzo Vigas, who megged “The Box,’’ is the first Latin American to win the Venice Film Festival’s top award (the Leoncino d’Oro Agiscuola Award) with his searing debut “From Afar.”
Venice Film Festival 2021 Golden Lion winner “Happening” by Audrey Diwan is having its Asian premiere at QCinema 2021. This film is copresented by the Embassy of France.
Indonesian auteur Edwin’s “Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash” won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival 2021.QCinema earlier announced that it is also hosting the Southeast Asian premiere of Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s 2021 films, in partnership with The Japan Foundation. “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” premiered at Berlinale 2021 and won the Silver Bear, while “Drive My Car” played in competition in Cannes Film Festival 2021 and brought home the Best Screenplay trophy. Recognition night changes
This year’s Recognition Night will be different in the sense that, Lejano said, they will be recognizing their grantees, or the six filmmaker recipients of QCinema’s P600,000 film grant for the #QCShorts category. “The grant was increased many times over because of the protocols and the realities of lock-in shoots. Being able to make a film in this pandemic situation is achievement enough,” declared Lejano.
#QCShorts include Chuck Escasa’s “Skylab,” Maria Estela Paiso’s “Ampangabagat Nin Talakba Ha Likol,” Trishtan Perez’s “i get so sad sometimes,” Miko Livelo and Mihk Vergara’s “MIGHTY ROBO V,” Kaj Palanca’s “Henry” and Xeph Suarez’s “City of Flowers.”
At the media gathering, Belmonte was asked whether the popularity of the city-based film festival, not only nationwide but also abroad, has surprised her. To this the mayor replied: “I’m enthralled, ecstatic and happy, but I’m not surprised. Quezon City is the largest city in terms of population in the whole country. It has always been the center for entertainment since the good old days. It’s but natural that when we mount something, like a film fest, mediocre is not acceptable to us. It has to be outstanding and excellent.”
“I’m not surprised at all. This is really what we want. Our vision is to make the city comparable to all the big cities in the world. We want to put Quezon City on the world map, and QCinema is just one way to do that. We’re extremely happy because our goals are being met,” Belmonte declared.
More details about the festival at qcinema.ph.
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