Over the past years, Manila has experienced a growing number of foreign films festivals, many of which are staged by embassies, to the delight of Filipino film lovers.
While there are new film festivals trying to thrive in its early editions and hopefully, last for more years to come, there are two that have already garnered a solid following in the local cinema scene—the French Film Festival and the Israeli Film Festival.
21st French Film Festival honors ‘Ma’Rosa’ cast
For 21 years, the French Film Festival in the Philippines has been offering an alternative venue for Filipinos to discover and appreciate a different kind of cinema, culture and language.
While a loyal audience of cineastes and Francophiles has been following the festival annually, more and more casual moviegoers have been attending the festival, with over 15,000 recorded viewers in Manila and Cebu last year.
This year’s edition presents a line-up of 17 French films, released between 2014 and 2016, to be publicly screened in Manila from June 8 to 14 at the Greenbelt 3 Cinemas and the Bonifacio High Street Cinemas.
To formally open the festival in Manila, the red carpet will be rolled out on June 8 in honor of the cast and crew of Ma’Rosa, a film by director Brillante Mendoza, which was selected in the Cannes Film Festival’s Official Competition.
French Ambassador Thierry Mathou said that “the Philippines has made its mark in Cannes” through the active presence of Filipinos in the prestigious festival, particularly with the screening of Brillante Mendoza’sMa’Rosa in the Official Competition and Raymund Gutierrez’ Imago in the short film category.
He added that “by giving the Best Performance by an Actress Award to Jaclyn Jose for her role in Ma’Rosa, the jury showed the wealth of film creation in the Philippines.”
A special screening of French director Maïwenn’s film, Mon Roi, will end the evening. For her role in the film, French actress Emmanuelle Bercot was given the Best Actress Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
On Independence Day on June 12, the festival renews its tradition of putting the spotlight on Filipino films through the screening of two local films that have been featured at international film festivals in France: Lawrence Fajardo’s Imbisibol and Carl Joseph Papa’s animated film, Manang Biring.
The Cinematheque Center Manila of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) will also screen a selection of French films throughout the week.
From there, the festival travels to Ayala Center Cebu and Abreeza Mall in Davao at the end of the month. For the screening schedule, visit www.frenchfilmfest.com.
Similar to last year, tickets for both cinemas are priced at P100 to cover the operational costs of the theaters and may be purchased at the cinema lobby or online through www.sureseats.com.
The French Film Festival is presented by the Embassy of France to the Philippines, the Alliance Française de Manille and Cebu, the Institut Français, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, in cooperation with the Ayala Malls Cinemas, SSI Group Inc., and Central Square.