A year-end wave of film festivals

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‘Alienasyon’ (QCinema)

‘Alienasyon’ (QCinema)

Even with bootleggers and torrents in full force, there is still no sapping the Filipino filmmaker’s passion for making moving pictures, as well as the industry’s hunger to learn more about the art, its expression and technology, be it from the past or from beyond these shores.

Proof of this unwavering dedication to the proliferation of cinema is the year-end wave of film festivals, which as of now even excludes the Metro Manila Film Festival in December.

Currently ongoing is the second QCinema International Film Festival, a young though ambitious endeavor spearheaded by actor/producer and QC City Mayor Herbert Bautista.

Despite concentrating on a career in public service for the last two decades, Bautista has always been vocal and active in his support for the Philippine Movie Industry, and albeit long overdue, has this film festival as the fulfillment of his promises.


In line with his government’s continuing efforts to establish Quezon City as the “City of the Stars,” what with the country’s major networks and film companies situated in the metropolis, Bautista’s 2014 QCinema International Film Festival boasts of 37 “top caliber” films, including major Oscar contenders in the lineup. Moreover, the grand scale outing also highlights the city’s ongoing Jubilee Year celebrations.

Currently on view at the Ayala Trinoma Mall until November 11, the most notable feature films in the festival are the production grantees, led by Arnel Mardoquio’s Alienasyon, which received a production grant of P2 million. The film is about a UP professor, who in the twilight of his noble career finds himself reminiscing the precious history of his homeland.

Receiving post-production grants of P150,000 each are: 1st Ko Si 3rd, a Cinemalaya 2014 New Breed finalist by Real Florido; Nick and Chai, a documentary about Typhoon Yolanda victims by Cha Escala and Wena Sanchez; Tigbao, a feature about the issue of desa-parecidos by M. Bonifacio; Cemetery Life, a documentary about a group of people living in society’s fringes by Barbara Politsch; and Tres, a trilogy of literary adaptations by veteran directors William Mayo, Edgardo “Boy” Vinarao, and Jose Carreon.

Five short films also received production grants worth P150,000 each, and these are: Tila by Rob Jara; Ang Nanay ni Justin Barber by Victor Villanueva; Senior by Jed Medrano; Bonifacio by Grace Simbulan; and Sa Ngalan ni Ultimate Warrior by Miko Livelo. These films comprise the QCX (Quezon City Experience) Anthology.

Meanwhile, among the foreign films featured are 52 Tuesdays from Australia by Sophie Hyde, which Best Director in World Cinema section of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival); Ida, Poland’s submission to the Foreign Language Category of the 2015 Academy Awards by Pawel Pawlikowski; and Jauja of Argentina by Lisandro Alonso, which won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

Overlapping for three days with the QCinema International Film Festival is the annual cinema event of Filipino movies cable channel Cinema One, which is a subsidiary of network giant ABS-CBN Corporation. The festival will run from November 9 to 18 in four venues: Fairview Terraces, Glorietta, Trinoma, and Greenhills Dolby Atmos theaters.

Launched on Tuesday at the network’s headquarters in Mother Ignacia Quezon City, Cinema One channel head Ronald Arguelles excitedly announced a leaner yet meaner lineup to comprise the independent film festival’s milestone 10th year.

“We’ve significantly trimmed down the usual 20 full-length film entries to 10 this year and we’re also doing away with the festival’s two previous categories [‘Cinema One Plus’ and ‘Cinema Cinema One Currents,’ formerly given P2 million and P1 million grants respectively], which only means we’ve raised the bar even more for quality productions,” Arguelles told The Manila Times. “Every entry received a P2 million peso grant this year, and I believe what we have this year is definitely bigger, bolder and better. That’s why we are describing this year’s festival as ‘intense’.”

The 10 new films chosen from countless script submissions for Cinema One 2014 are: Di Sila Tatanda by Malay Javier, Seoul Mates by Nash Ang, Red by Jay Abello, Violator by Eduardo Dayao, Soap Opera by Remton Slega Zuasola, Lorna by Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, Bitukang Manok by Alec Figuracion, Esprit de Corps by Kanakan Balintagos, That Thing Called Tadhana by Antoinette Jadaone, and The Babysitters by Paolo O’Hara.

“Today’s biggest stars have willingly shared their time and talent to star in these Cinema One Originals films, among them are Jericho Rosales, Angelica Panga-niban, JM de Guzman, Angel Aquino, Lovi Poe and Rocco Nacino,” Arguelles continued as a number of them joined him in the panel press conference.

Alongside the full-length digital movies, the film festival will also feature innovative short films, restored Filipino classics, and new works by globally renowned masters. Most notable of these is reclusive and revered filmmaker Mike de Leon’s Hindi Nahahati ang Langit, a melodrama based on Nerissa Cabral’s komiks starring Christo-pher de Leon and Lorna Tolentino.

In closing, Arguelles effectively boosted the spirit of the Filipino filmmaker when he said, “We aim to constantly rejuvenate the Filipino movie industry by supporting works of independent filmmakers and by offering the audience world-class films.”

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