In its 8th year, I finally had an opportunity to check out the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival. Cinemalaya is a "film competition and festival that aims to encourage the creation of new cinematic works by Filipino filmmakers." The event has three categories: Director's Showcase, New Breed (Full Length), and Short Feature. This year's festival ran from 20th to 29th July with screenings held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and Greenbelt Cinemas.
On July 28, I went to CCP with my friends, Ana and Christine, with the latter's sister, Charise and their common friend, Len. We were supposed to watch either "Bwakaw" or "Ang Nawawala," but tickets to both films had already been sold out by the time we reached CCP.
|Bwakaw and Ang Nawawala movie posters|
I suggested we catch the Short Films instead. There was a 9:00 p.m. screening featuring five short films: Ang Paghihintay sa Bulong, Manenaya, Ruweda, Sarong Adlaw, and Ulian. Ana works for Abante , which means she has a media pass that gave her all access to the event. Ana though was generous enough to buy our tickets, which went for Php 150 per person. Now that I mentioned it, I wish Cinemalaya people would consider holding a contest, to be joined by bloggers like me, for a chance to win free passes in their future festivals.
|Ana's media pass, movie tickets, Ulian's post card, and the 3D swan origami that I made for Christine|
While killing time, we went around the CCP, checked out the art galleries and photo exhibits, and watched Ang Nawawala's star, Felix Rocco got mobbed by the fans.
|Felix Rocco tries to make his way through the crowd to get to the theater|
A little before 9:00 p.m. we were allowed to enter the Nicanor Abelardo theater. All seats at the orchestra had been occupied in no time so we ended up at the balcony area. Before the show started, the filmmakers, actors, and their crew graced the stage to introduce and share tidbits about their respective movies.
Finally, the lights were dimmed and anticipation filled the atmosphere. For an hour or so we were treated to five different stories, each one not lasting more than 15 minutes. How did I find the movies? I will make a review about them. For now let me just say that I enjoyed myself in this event.
Majority of the crowd is composed of young people, students whose enthusiasms were infectious. It was refreshing to spot local celebrities like Senator Pia Cayetano, Eric Quizon, Laurice Guillen, Felix Rocco, JM De Guzman, and Sandwich's frontman, Raimund Marasigan.
I also loved the exhibits of each movie displayed below their respective posters. My favorite would be the old lamp from the film, "Diablo."
|The lamp used for the exhibit of the movie, Diablo|
Cinemalaya is a fine vehicle for Filipino movie makers who offer a fresh take on contemporary and independent filmmaking. I fervently hope Cinemalaya festival will be given the same support that the Metro Manila Film Festival gets from local cinemas and the public. I think it would be great if they could extend the screening period, to a month instead of just a week, so that more people will have a chance to see and appreciate these movies. We all deserve to see decent films and Cinemalaya offers just that, so why not give it the support that it deserves?
The festival's awarding ceremony was held on 29th July. For the New Breed category, Diablo bagged the Best Film, Best Director (Mes de Guzman), and Best Actress (Ama Quiambao) awards. Eddie Garcia won Best Actor for his role in Bwakaw. Under the Director's Showcase category, Posas was named Best Film. For Audience Choice Awards, the winners were Bwakaw (Director's Showcase), Ang Nawawala (New Breed Full Length), and Ruweda (Short Feature).