• 9th Cinemalaya showcases ‘new blood’ – Laurice Guillen

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    A potent mix of second generation and veteran directors, as well as undiscovered talents and mainstream movie actors will grace the 9th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival when it opens on July 26 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in Pasay City.

    The line-up for the country’s highly acclaimed indie film festival was announced at a press briefing on Thursday.

    A total of 25 new indie films will be shown until August 4 under the categories New Breed, Directors Showcase and Short Feature.

    Cinemalaya competition chairman Laurice Guillen, said the continuous recognition of Filipino film artists, especially those from the mainstream industry, only proves that Cinemalaya is growing.

    “It is a sign that Cinemalaya is achieving its goals of infusing new blood to the industry in terms of new directors, new stories, new approaches to filmmaking. And you see, it’s not just the mainstream stars who are coming in. Our Cinemalaya films are also being exhibited by mainstream distributors. Medyo maganda na ang palitan,” Guillen told The Manila Times.

    Vilma Santos stars in Ekstra. Directed by Jeffrey Jeturian, the film portrays the veteran actress as a TV and film “extra” dreaming to have her share of fortune and fame.

    Gretchen Barretto returns to the big screen in The Diplomat Hotel directed by Christopher Ad. Castillo.

    Cinemalaya regulars Eugene Domingo and Alessandra de Rossi are once again in the fray for Best Actress, with the former starring in Leo Abaya’s Instant Mommy and the later in Gil Portes’ Liars.

    Anita Linda, the favorite muse of indie film directors, is in Nuwebe by Joseph Israel Laban and David F by Emmanuel Palo.

    Young actors Jake Cuenca (Nuwebe) and Paulo Avelino (Sana Dati and Debosyon) star in separate films.

    TV darling Jasmine Curtis Smith will have her first indie starrer, Transit.

    Guillen said that as filmmaking technology continues to advance, it is more important for Cinemalaya to encourage young filmmakers.

    “Even a cellphone camera can be used. So the youth is already familiar with the medium,” she said.

    The veteran actress and director noted that today’s filmmakers “are getting younger and younger.”

    The youngest director in the New Breed category, Mikhail Red, is only 21.  The son of award-winning director Raymond Red directs Rekorder.

    Red is also joined by other second-generation breed of directors including Christopher Ad. Castillo, son of the late Celso Ad. Castillo, and Paolo O’Hara, nephew of late Mario O’Hara.

    Guillen noted that Cinemalaya also guides the new breed of directors in filmmaking. She said, “It’s always a challenge to be able to mentor, select and monitor new filmmakers to finish their films up to the Cinemalaya standards.”

    EUDEN VALDEZ

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