Cinema One Originals has made a name for itself as the film festival that breaks new ground and opens eyes to new modes of cinema, new forms of narrative, and new perspectives of storytelling. Consequently on its 12th year, the festival adopts a new tagline in “Anong Tingin Mo?”
Literally translated as “What do you think?”, the question in many ways encapsulates how any one film can be many different things to many different people but also exemplifies the multi-layered diversity that has been the hallmark of Cinema One Originals. This year will be all about different ways of looking at the same thing.
For the first time, Cinema One Originals gave grants to three original feature documentaries. Teng Mangansakan’s Forbidden Memory lifts the veil on the events of September 1974 as it talks to the survivors of a gruesome mass murder that has been kept under wraps for decades. Paolo Picones and Gym Lumbera’s Piding traces the history of Oliver Carlos, a grieving ornithologist reeling from tragedy who comes back to his hometown. John Torres’ dreamlike, mysterious People Power Bombshell unearths a lost film by Celso Ad Castillo and probes its circumstances and implications.
Seven original narrative features were also given grants, three to Cinema One Originals alumni: Lily, about a woman who is rumored to be a half-monster, is Keith Deligero’s first foray into horror and myth. The quirky love story Every Room Is A Planet resumes Malay Javier’s fondness for juxtaposing science-fiction with youth culture. And Borgy Torre’s basketball crime film Tisay transposes his noir inflections onto a unique milieu.
Four first-time filmmakers will also make their debuts this year; Petersen Vargas’ dark high school comedy 2 Cool 2Be 4gotten, Samantha Lee’s millennial love story Baka Bukas, Jose Abdel Langit’s ethnographic mystery Malinak Ya Labi and Jules Katanyag’s geriatric action film Si Magdalola At Ang Mga Gago.
This year’s festival will also screen a slew of acclaimed foreign films including some of this year’s world cinema highlights like Ashdar Fajardi’s The Salesman, Bruno Dumont’s Slack Bay, Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only The End of the World, Ciro Guerrera’s Embrace of the Serpent, Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinart’s Swiss Army Man and Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, critically-acclaimed documentaries such as Gianfranco Rossi’s Fuocuoammare, Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s De Palma and Pierre Film’s Close Encounters with Vilmos Szigmond; as well as a slate of the best horror films of the year: Na Hong-Jin’s The Wailing, Veronica Franz & Severin Fiala’s Goodnight Mommy, Robert Eggers’ The Witch and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Creepy.
Among the restored classics to be showcased this year are Mario O’Hara’s Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Danny Zialcita’s Nagalit Ang Buwan Sa Haba Ng Gabi, Lino Brocka’s Cain At Abel, and Ishmael Bernal’s Pagdating sa Dulo. There will also be special screenings of Lav Diaz’s Golden Lion-winning Ang Babaeng Humayo and Sherad Sanchez’s found footage horror Salvage.
At the finalists’ announcement on October 25, Cinema One head Leo Katigbak proudly announced that the festival now has the distinction of giving the biggest grant to participating filmmakers at P2-million pesos each.
Cinema One Originals will run from November 14 to 22. Screenings will be held at Trinoma, Glorietta, Gateway, Greenhills and Cinematheque.