The Quezon City International Film Festival (QCinema) 2017 continues to expand its sphere of influence as it presents a new slate of fresh titles from independent Filipino filmmakers.
In QCinema’s Circle Competition, eight filmmakers will individually receive P1 million worth of production grant. The directors will retain their rights to the films they created.
The lineup features stories of war, romance, cultural traditions, mystery, and the relationships that show the complexity of humankind.
The new titles that made the cut this year are Dapol Tan Payawar Na Tayug 1931 (The Ashes and Ghosts of Tayug 1931) by Christopher Gozum; Dormitoryo by Emerson Reyes; Gugu by Khavn; Hubog ng Langit by Lawrence Fajardo; Medusae by Pam Miras; Neomanila by Mikhail Red; The Chanters by James Robin Mayo; and The Write Moment by Dominic Lim.
Christopher Gozum’s Dapol Tan Payawar Na Tayug 1931 (The Ashes and Ghosts of Tayug 1931) retells the story of rebel leader Pedro Calosa and the infamous Tayug Colorum Uprising in Pangasinan from three diverse angles: A silent film dramatizing his return to his hometown; as an aging supremo as he searches for a sacred cave accompanied by historians; and a filmmaker doing interviews about the 1931 uprising to prepare for a film about Calosa.
Dormitoryo, Emerson Reyes’ second film, focuses on the lives of eight individuals who spend the evening tucked away in personal galaxies, talking about collective experiences, and sharing a similar fate.
Indie filmmaker and scriptwriter Khavn worked with writers Jerry Gracio and Achinette Villamor to create the film, Gugu. Set in Balangiga in 1901, Gugu follows the life of the 11-year-old Kulas who flees town with his grandfather and their carabao to escape General Smith’s “Kill and Burn” order. Through a twist of fate, Kulas finds a toddler amid a sea of corpses. Together, the two boys struggle to survive the American occupation.
Filmmaker Lawrence Fajardo teamed up with writer Lilit Reyes for Hubog ng Langit. An idealistic priest attempts to shape the morals of a town and tries to transform a chaste but warped fanatic carving icons whose sensuality is awakened with her craft. Surrounding them are the council members with their respective worldly ways while claiming to serve the parish.
Pam Miras spun a playful narrative in Medusae for her second feature as writer and director. A documentarist’s son goes missing when she films a story on the disappearances of the firstborns in a remote island. Her search reveals the presence of a cult and an abductor who looks like her, whom her son claims to be his real mother.
Mikhail Red’s second film, Neomanila, provides a closer look on the violent war on drugs waged in present day Manila. Toto, a teenage orphan, is recruited by a notorious death squad. Irma, the group’s leader, soon becomes a maternal figure to the young boy. As the two form a familial bond, their loyalties will be put to the test when one of their targets turns out to be a familiar face.
Director James Robin Mayo collaborated with Andrian Legaspi and Ana Puod for his first feature, The Chanters. In a remote tribe, the dying tradition of chanting is kept alive by an old chanter and his son. When the father, one of the last chanters, passed away, the tradition is threatened to be forgotten.
Another first time helmer, Dominic Lim, wrote and directed The Write Moment where he sheds the spotlight on a heartbroken scriptwriter. When the main character fails to get back with an old flame through his “romantic-hugotscript”, he finds himself living in the scenes he wrote. He is forced to follow everything verbatim—or else face being stuck in an endless loop of scenes repeating over and over again.
QCinema 2017 is scheduled to take place from October 19 to 28. For more information, visit QCinema’s official Facebook page.