The 11th Cinema One Originals independent film festival is down to its last five days of showing at select theaters across Metro Manila. Attracting a good turn out at the Trinoma, Glorietta, Resorts World and SM Megamall cinemas since opening on November 8, its organizers have proved that the Filipino independent film maker has indeed “leveled up.”
As exemplified by its new tagline “Kakaiba Ka Ba?” the festival continues to uphold diversity and uniqueness in Philippine Cinema, an exhortation and an affirmation for both filmmakers and filmgoers.
Below are the nine selected originals for this year’s run. The movies will be on view until November 17.
Sari Dalena’s ‘Dahling Nick.’
Fact and fiction; documentary and narrative; valentine and biography. The lines between all these blur in Dahling Nick, which explores, commemorates and imagines—and in some instances, re-imagines—the inner world of National Artist for Literature, Nick Joaquin. Raymond Bagatsing plays the well-known writer who was unjustly incarcerated.
Ara Chawdhury’s ‘Miss Bulalacao.’
Welcome to Punta Bulalacao. On the eve of its fiesta, a teenage drag queen joins a beauty pageant and is asked what the essence of being a woman is. His answer: “Motherhood” An ominous answer, it turns out, as a strange encounter in the jungle changes his life in unexpected ways. Performance artist Russ Ligtas plays the title role with Nanette Inventor, Tessie Tomas (left) and Mon Confiado.
Bor Ocampo’s ‘Dayang Asu.’
There’s money in the quarry business. Obscene amounts of money. And where there’s that much money, there’s corruption. Tonton is the son of a quarry master, a newbie thrust into a world he can’t quite fathom nor navigate, which eventually sucks him in like a vortex and forces him to make a decision that would change his life forever. Ricky Davao and Junjun Quintana play the father and son at the dark heart of this film.
Carl Joseph Papa’s ‘Manang Biring.’
The eponymous character is a terminally ill mother given a few months to live and resigned to her fate. But when she receives a letter from her estranged daughter, she finds a new reason to live. But it is too late? Theater actress Erlinda Villalobos plays Manang Biring and is ably supported by Mailes Kanapi, Alchris Gatura, Lance Raymundo, and Cherrie Pie Picache.
Ivan Andrew Payawal’s ‘The Comeback.’
The world was Angela Velasco’s oyster. She had it all: fame, fortune, haute couture, true love, fandom, friends, a mansion. Her eventual downfall was long and hard and crushing. And then everything changes. Kaye Abad plays Angela Velasco, with Valeen Montenegro, Matt Evans, Bea Galvez, Julia Enriquez, and Sheena Ramos.
Joel Ferrer’s ‘Baka Siguro Yata.’
This romantic screwball comedy follows three generations of couples as they grapple with the question in an attempt to understand it, to oftentimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking results. It stars Dino Pastrana, Ricky Davao, Cherie Gil, and Trina Legaspi.
Ralston Jover’s ‘Hamog.’
The end of innocence and the beginning of life. Hamog is the story of four street children, nicknamed “batang hamogs”. The film stars Zaijan Jaranilla, Teri Malvar, Sam Quintana, Bor Lentejas and Kyline Alcantara with Lou Veloso and Anna Luna.
Raymond Red’s ‘Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso.’
In the aftermath of People Power Revolution of 1986, a group of young dreamers embarks on a journey, both inward and outward as they spark a second revolution in the rubble of another: an independent and alternative cinema. The movie features Felix Roco, Epi Quizon, Nicco Manalo and Earl Ignacio.
Sheron Dayoc’s ‘Bukod Kang Pinagpala.’
Filmed mostly in Baguio, Bukod Kang Pinagpala is a creepy, atmospheric gothic-horror that toes this thin line, tapping into the hysteria and dementia of religion when pushed to its extremes. It stars real life mother and daughter Bing Pimentel and Maxine Eigenmann who are caught in the grip of forces that seem not of this world.