Contributor /Manila Standard Today
25 June 2008
“Anong kuwento mo? (What’s your story?)”
This question is the tagline of the advertising campaign created by Cinemalaya filmmakers to kick off this year’s Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition on July 11 until the 20th at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
From a total of 194 entries submitted by independent filmmakers, 20 features shot on digital video have been selected to compete in the festival now on its fourth year.
Ten features will compete in the full-length category. These are: 100 by Chris Martinez; Baby Angelo by Joel Ruiz and Abi Aquino; Boses by Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil; Brutus by Tara Illenberger; Concerto by Paul Alexander Morales; Huling Pasada by Paul Sta. Ana; Jay by Francis Xavier E. Pasion; My Fake American Accent by Onnah Valera; Namets by Emilio “Jay” Abello; and Ranchero by Michael Christian Cardoz.
The other 10 will compete in the short feature category, and they are: Andong by Rommel “Milo” Tolentino; Ang Ibang Mga Pamilya by Joel P. Ruiz; Angan-Angan (Dreams) by Sheron R. Dayoc; Diamante sa Langit by Vic Acedillo Jr.; God Only Knows by Mark V. Reyes; Huling Biktima by Vitaliano A. Rave; My Pet by Anna G. Bigornia, Panggaris by Dexter B. Cayanes; Trails of Water by Sheron R. Dayoc; and Tutos by L.A. Yamsuan.
These features on video will be shown at CCP’s Main, Little, and Dream theaters, Tanghalang Huseng Batute, Silangan Hall, and the MKP Hall.
This year’s festival will be highlighted by the screening of world premieres, director’s cuts and the most outstanding Filipino independent films on wide-ranging and controversial topics. Close to a hundred films will be on exhibition during the entire festival period including the finest and exceptional films from Cinemalaya 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Apart from the screening of the features in competition, the organizers of Cinemalaya are preparing for the Cinemalaya Film Congress on July 15 to 16 at the CCP Little Theater with the theme “Spreading the News: Promoting, Distributing and Exhibiting Indie Films.” On this two-day event, film artists, technicians and businessmen will discuss the following topics: Making Indie Films: Self Expression, Social Commitment, Compromise; Promoting Indie Films: Building Audiences for Indie Films; Distributing Indie Films: Systems Legal to Illegal; and Exhibiting Indie Films: From Cine Katipunan to Cannes.
This year, Cinemalaya introduces the children’s section which aims to encourage the development and production of culturally-relevant content for Filipino children. Nine films will be competing for the Rene O. Villanueva Prize, in honor of the late children’s book author. Presented in cooperation with the National Council for Children’s Television, the Cinemalaya Children’s Section will be dedicated to short narrative features made for viewing of children ages three to 13.
Also new this year in Cinemalaya is the tribute to Manuel Conde, a pioneer in Filipino independent filmmaking who produced, wrote, directed and acted in his films. Conde is credited with introducing Filipino films abroad, at the Venice Film Festival. Six Conde films will be shown during the festival, namely: Genghis Khan (1950), Ibong Adarna (1955), Verganza (1958), Señorito (1953), Cruz na Kawayan (1956) and El Robo (1957). The book The Cinema of Manuel Conde by Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson will be launched on July 16 during the festival.
New awards at stake
As festival finalists, the 10 full-length films received an initial seed investment of P500,000 from Econolink Investments Inc. The final winning entry, which will be announced in an awarding ceremony at the CCP on July 20, will be given an additional grant of P200,000 plus the Cinemalaya trophy. While the winner for the short film category will walk home with a P100,000 grant plus a trophy.
Aside from the usual acting and technical awards that Cinemalaya has been giving out, this year, in partnership with the CCP, Film Development Council of the Philippines and Econolink Investments Inc., awards for Best Music, Best Supporting Actor and Actress will be given for the first time.