“The fastest way to know more about a country’s culture is to see its films,” said film and TV director Laurice Guillen, also chair of the Cinemalaya Foundation.
Guillen also said that the 2017 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, which runs from Aug. 4 to 13, does not only take pride in producing Filipino indies, but also in featuring some of the best films in the region through its Asian Showcase category.
“Through the years, Filipinos have managed to successfully develop their taste in food. We have Thai restaurants all over. We also have Malaysian, Japanese and Korean food. It’s now time to also develop our taste for Asian films,” said Cinemalaya festival director Chris Millado.
To be screened at the Cultural Center of the Philippines this year are: “Poolside Man” (Japan), “Reflections” (Philippines, Japan, Cambodia), “Above It All” (Laos), “Singing in Graveyards (Malaysia, Philippines) and “A Gift” (Thailand).
“This is what Cinemalaya offers. You experience different cultures,” Guillen said at Thursday’s media presentation of this year’s nine full-length and 12 short film finalists. The weeklong festival carries the theme, “See the Big Picture.”
“Not all of us get to travel, and we don’t normally get to see these [Asian] films because, usually, only American films are being shown in local theaters,” Guillen observed.
Millado also presented what he called Cinemalaya festival mainstays: Panoptika, the documentary section; Festivals’ Best, which showcases the best movies from different local festivals, and Indie Nation, a special section on independently produced films.
There will also be an “Outdoor Screening” (formerly called Green Carpet Screening), as well as the best of animation in Animahenasyon and the Cinemalaya Institute Showcase. Another highlight is the film and exhibit retrospective on actress Lolita Rodriguez, and a tribute to filmmaker Gil Portes.
Introduced at the media event were the following full-length features: Perry Escaño’s “Ang Guro Kong ’Di Marunong Magbasa,” Mes de Guzman’s “Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha,” Joseph Israel Laban’s “Baconaua,” Zig Dulay’s “Bagahe,” Sonny Calvento’s “Nabubulok,” Thop Nazareno’s “Kiko Boksingero,” Nerissa Picadizo’s “Requited,” Treb Monteras II’s “Respeto” and Iar Lionel Benjamin Arondaing’s “Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig.”
Competing in the short film category are: “Aliens Ata” by Karl Glenn Barit, “Bawod” by TM Malones, “Fatima Marie Torres and the Invasion of Space Shuttle Pinas 25” by Carlo Francisco Manatad, “Hilom” by P.R. Patindol, “Islabodan” by Juan Carlo Tarobal, “Juana and the Sacred Shores” by Antonne Santiago, “Lola Loleng” by Jean Cheryl Tagyamon, “Manong ng Pa-aling” by E. del Mundo, “Maria” by Jaime Habac Jr., “Nakauwi Na” by Marvin Cabangunay and Jaynus Olaivar, “Nakaw” by Arvin Belarmino and Noel Escondo, and “Sorry for the Inconvenience” by Carl Adrian Chavez.
The Cinemalaya Awards Night is slated on Aug. 13 at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.
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