Did you know: 9 a lucky number for Filipino films in Busan
At press time, at least nine Filipino movies have been invited to this year’s Busan (South Korea) International Film Festival, to be held October 6 to 14.
It’s virtually a miniretrospective of Filipino indie filmmakers in one of the most high-profile cinema events in the region.
On top of the country’s Busan lineup is Loy Arcenas’ “Niño,” which will compete in the New Currents section.
“I got the official letter the other day,” Arcenas told Inquirer Entertainment on Wednesday. “It feels great. I’m thrilled.”
A New York-based theater director, Arcenas made his film debut with “Niño,” an entry in the seventh Cinemalaya indie film fest held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) last month.
Arcenas said it felt like “graduation day” for him.
“I graduated by premiering the film at the CCP,” he explained. “I was cum laude when I won the special jury prize and then a magna cum laude with the Busan invitation.”
Said Robbie Tan, head of Cinemalaya’s production and monitoring committee: “We are elated for Loy who is one of the more promising filmmakers in the new breed.”
Competition chair Laurice Guillen agreed: “We are proud and happy for new directors like Loy. Other Cinemalaya films have been invited to Busan: Lawrence Fajardo’s ‘Amok,’ Adolfo Alix Jr.’s ‘Isda’ and Marlon Rivera’s ‘Ang Babae sa Septic Tank.’”
Suzette Ranillo, coproducer of “Amok,” said that the film is in the exhibition section of Busan, now on its 16th year.
Joji Alonso, coproducer of “Septic,” confirmed that the Cinemalaya Best Picture winner had been invited to Busan as well.
Along with “Isda,” Guillen’s first indie film, “Maskara,” was invited to Busan’s Windows on Asia section.
Apart from the new indie films, two vintage movies directed by National Artist Fernando Poe Jr. will be shown in the program on Asian Western Cinema.
FPJ directed the two films, “San Bernardo” and “Baril sa Aking Kamay,” under his pseudonym D’Lanor in 1966.
Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, FPJ’s daughter, told the Inquirer: “We thank the CCP and Busan for acknowledging and promoting the cultural and entertainment value of FPJ’s movies, which chronicle the daily struggles, aspirations and sentiments of Filipinos.”
She expressed the hope that, “through FPJ’s movies, foreigners will have a deeper understanding and appreciation of our culture and history and realize the evolution and achievements of Philippine cinema.”
Two local projects, currently under development, have been included in Busan’s Asian Cinema Fund (ACF): Jose Lorenzo “Pepe” Diokno’s “Above the Clouds” and Sheron Dayoc’s “Satra.”
“Satra” is the same script that earned Dayoc a spot in the Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab.
“It’s a wonderful feeling because it tells us that our project is moving forward. The ACF is a big help to us,” Dayoc said.
“I’ve been working on this story for a long time,” said Diokno, a Venice winner for his debut “Engkwentro” in 2009. “ACF is among the first (groups) that I showed the story to, too. I was surprised and honored to get a little vote of confidence from Busan.”
ACF is Busan’s funding initiative that “aims to encourage creative, talented Asian filmmakers and help them to complete their projects.”
A Screen Daily report said that this year’s ACF sought to focus on the Philippines and Thailand, “two of the many countries in Asia with burgeoning and active communities of independent film producers and productions.”