Award-winning Asian independent films will be showcased in this year’s 12th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2016. Running from August 5 to 14, Visions of Asia will feature 10 films all released in 2015, across nine countries.
“STRANGER” by Yermek Tursunov is set in 1930s Kazakhstan, during a time of famine and terror, and follows the life of an orphan who escapes to the mountains, taking up with a pack of wolves, and grows up struggling with the changes wrought by modernity.
Cinemalaya 2016 hopes to inspire Asian filmmakers with its showcase of Philippine films this year, but also seeks to establish the country as the cinematic center of creativity and free artistic expression. A project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc., the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Ayala Malls Cinemas, Cinemalaya was established in 2005 and is an all-digital film festival and competition that aims to discover, encourage, and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers.
This year, Cinemalaya gives Filipino audiences the opportunity to watch Asian independent films that made a mark in different Asian film festivals in 2015. This is a treasure trove of films from a region that the Philippines is inextricably bound to, and finds affinity with, a part of this year’s Cinemalaya that should not be missed.
“MOTOR BICYCLE” by Shameera Rangana Naotunna is about a musician who lives in the slums of Sri Lanka, and fights for mobility via a motorbike, the acquisition of which brings to the fore conversations about what remains stagnant: questions, the lack of answers, the unforeseeable future. “
“UNTIL I LOSE MY BREATH” by Emine Emel Balci is about a teenage girl who is unhappy working long hours at a sweatshop in Istanbul, and hoping to move into one home with an indifferent father.
“MINA WALKING” by Yosef Baraki delves into the state of Afghan women, who might have been freed from the Taliban, but are still bound to poverty and lack of education. Mina is a child forced into the responsibility of supporting family, who balances her reality with the dream of learning.
“UNDER HEAVEN” by Dalmira Tilepbergenova is a modern day reworking of the biblical tale of Cain and Abel set in a remote mountain village in Kyrgyzstan, where the difference between two brothers are brought to the fore by their interwoven lives, despite distance, given conceit.
“AUGUST IN TOKYO” by Ryutaro Nakagawa presents the parallel stories of a man and woman living in a suburb of Tokyo, working in one corner of the city, and attempting to reunite with their individual families, but unable to completely bridge the distance.
“KEN AND KAZU” by Hiroshi Shoji is about the underworld of drug dealings, how it values the fact of indebtedness, the unbreakable connections it creates, the questionable future, too.
“THE KIDS” by Sunny Yu is set in Taiwan and follows the life of teenage parents Bao-Li and Jia-Jia, and how love is transformed by real life conditions of need and discontent, difficulty and crisis.