IdeaFirst marks 10th year with 3-day ‘EnlighTen’ film fest

IdeaFirst marks 10th year with 3-day ‘EnlighTen’ film fest

/ 12:00 AM April 03, 2024

IdeaFirst marks 10th year with 3-day ‘EnlighTen’ film fest

Miggy Jimenez (left), Sue Prado and Kokoy de Santos —THE IDEAFIRST COMPANY

We sometimes use sex to obtain power,” declared award-winning filmmaker Jun Robles Lana as a way to explain the premise of his latest dramatic piece, “Your Mother’s Son,” the opening film of “EnlighTen: The IdeaFirst Film Festival.”

Lana said the film, which had its world premiere at the 2023 Toronto Film Festival in September, had to be reedited to fit the R-18 rating of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. “The one we will see here is a different cut. There are also some scenes that are not included in the Director’s Cut that I needed to insert here as a way to explain the scenes that we needed to trim,” Lana told reporters during a special screening of the film that features Sue Prado, Kokoy de Santos, Elora Españo and Miggy Jimenez.


“It’s a really good edit. In a way, it’s like a different movie, but it’s not a compromise. It would be interesting for the local audience to take a look at the other version, as well,” he said of the film that will be screened on April 12 at the Gateway Cineplex in Quezon City.


No compromises

“When it comes to sex, we don’t want to talk about it, but it’s so much a part of our lives. We use it for power sometimes. For me, the audience just needs to be more liberated. We’re just telling a story here. Even if people have a problem with that, we will still tell it without compromising our voice and integrity,” he declared.

The festival, which runs until April 14, marks the 10th anniversary of the production outfit, IdeaFirst Company, which Lana co-owns with fellow filmmaker Perci Intalan. “First and foremost, we just want to celebrate making movies and content production. Up to now, it’s still a gig industry for artists and directors, so for you to be able to spend 10 years doing this is cause for celebration,” he explained.

“It’s also to remind us of the reason we are doing this. Yes, box-office results are important, but from the name itself, IdeaFirst, we are holding this festival also because we want to keep telling stories that matter to us, to keep shining light on stories that would otherwise be kept in the dark.”

IdeaFirst marks 10th year with 3-day ‘EnlighTen’ film fest

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Jun Robles Lana, Elora Españo, and Perci Intalan | PHOTOS: Marinel Cruz and The IdeaFirst Company

Giving back

For Lana, the event is also a way of giving back, since the event also offers Q&A portions with filmmakers. “Whether you’re a student interested in making films, the filmmakers will be there to share their thoughts, to help encourage other storytellers not to feel afraid and to just keep telling stories,” he said.

Meanwhile, Intalan said he still couldn’t believe that IdeaFirst is now 10 and has already done a total of 35 films. “We’re very thankful to our partner producers, those that we produced for at the start and later became our coproducers. We’re happy that they trusted us and did materials they normally wouldn’t do. Looking back, we realized this is what we stand for all along. Everybody can tell stories, and do it their own way. For IdeaFirst, these are the stories we want to tell and this is how we tell them. Our 10 years is proof that we’re doing something right.”

“Your Mother’s Son” tells the relationship between a teacher and her son and how it is challenged when she invites one of her students to their home. The movie was also screened at the 27th Talinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia and the 60th Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival in Taiwan.


Lana started working on the screenplay in 2021 with cowriter Elmer Gatchalian, who has been his collaborator since they were college students. “We’ve completed a number of stories, and this is something that we would often go back to. We’ve been talking about this since first-year college … the things we saw that were happening around us. Sadly, the situation hasn’t changed up to now,” he recalled.

Film lineup

The following films will be screened starting April 13 at Cinemas 17 and 18 of Gateway Cineplex: “Die Beautiful,” “Anino sa Likod ng Buwan,” “Untrue,” “Gameboys the Movie,” “Mahal Kita Beksman,” “Manananggal sa Unit 23B,” “Distance,” “I America,” “Sleepless” and “Dementia.”

Lana’s “Bwakaw” and “Barber’s Tales” predate the other films since it was still produced under OctoberTrain. Nonnarrative projects, like game shows and commercials, are now part of the brand Imagine If Entertainment, reported Intalan. “Barangay Singko Panalo,” a game show on TV5 that is cohosted by Jerald Napoles and Kyla Rivera, is its first project.

Meanwhile, Idea First Live, its live entertainment arm, will be mounting the stage adaptation of Lana’s movie “Anino sa Likod ng Buwan.”

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Apart from the screenings, there will also be a series of talks. Lana will facilitate a two-hour masterclass from April 13 to April 14, at 5 p.m. This will be followed by a Writers Roundtable, on April 13, at 7 p.m. featuring National Artist for Film Ricky Lee, Jose Javier Reyes, Rody Vera, Jerry Gracio, Mel Mendoza-del Rosario, Moira Lang, Jen Chuaunsu and Lana. The Directors’ Roundtable on April 14, at 7 p.m., will feature Lana, Intalan, Erik Matti, Mae Cruz-Alviar, Pepe Diokno, Sigrid Bernardo, Joel Lamangan and Zig Dulay. INQ

TAGS: film festival, Jun Lana

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