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Cinemalaya X Final Recap   6 comments

After eight days of going back and forth from CCP, I’ve finally finished all 15 films of the New Breed and Directors Showcase categories as well as the 10 short films that comprise the 10th Cinemalaya Indepedent Film Festival. Here’s my final rankings of the films (with my corresponding thoughts on it by clicking the link):

Ranking of the 10 New Breed Entries:
1. Sundalong Kanin (Janice O’Hara) – 4.5/5
2. Dagitab (Gian Abrahan) – 4.5/5
3. #Y (Gino Santos) – 4/5
4. Mariquina (Milo Sogueco) – 4/5
5. Children’s Show (Derick Cabrido) – 3.5/5
6. 1st ko si 3rd (Real Florido) – 3.5/5
7. Bwaya (Francis Pasion) – 3/5
8. K’Na, the Dreamweaver (Ida Anita del Mundo) – 2.5/5
9. Ronda (Nick Olanka)- 2/5
10. Separados (GB Sampedro) – 1/5

Ranking of the 5 Directors Showcase Entries:
1. Hari ng Tondo (Carlos Siguon Reyna) – 3.5/5
2. The Janitor (Mike Tuviera) – 3/5
3. Kasal (Joselito Altarejos) – 3/5
4. Hustisya (Joel Lamangan) – 2/5
5. Asintado (Louie Ignacio) – 1.5/5

Ranking of the 10 Short Film Entries:
1. Asan si Lolo Me? (Sari Estrada) – 5/5
2. Nakabibinging Kadiliman (Paolo O’Hara) – 4.5/5
3. Mga Ligaw na Paruparo (JE Tiglao) – 4/5
4. Lola (Kevin Ang) – 3.5/5
5. The Ordinary Things We Do (David Corpuz) – 3/5
6. Padulong sa Pinuy-anan (Even Villarba) – 2.5/5
7. Indayog ng Nayatamak (Joris Fernandez) – 2.5/5
8. Eyeball (Thop Nazareno) – 2/5
9. Ina-tay (Chloe Veloso)- 2/5
10. Tiya Bening (Ralph Quijano) – 2/5

NEW BREED CATEGORY PREDICTIONS:

1. Best Sound
Will Win: “Children’s Show”
Could Win: “Bwaya”, “K’Na, the Dreamweaver”
Personal Pick: “Children’s Show”

2. Best Original Music Score
Will Win: “K’Na, the Dreamweaver”
Could Win: “Children’s Show”, “Sundalong Kanin”
Personal Pick: “Mariquina”

3. Best Editing
Will Win: “Children’s Show”
Could Win: “Sundalong Kanin”, “Bwaya”
Personal Pick: “#Y”

4. Best Production Design
Will Win: “K’Na, the Dreamweaver”
Could Win: “Bwaya”, “Mariquina”
Personal Pick: “K’Na, the Dreamweaver”

5. Best Cinematography
Will Win: “Bwaya”
Could Win: “Children’s Show”, “Dagitab”
Personal Pick: “Ronda”

6. Best Screenplay
Will Win: Janice O’Hara, Denise O’Hara, “Sundalong Kanin”
Could Win: Jerrold Tarog, “Mariquina″, Real Florido, “1st Ko si 3rd”
Personal Pick: Gian Abrahan, “Dagitab”

7. Best Performance of a Supporting Actor
Will Win: Ricky Davao, “Separados” or “Mariquina” (if placed here)
Could Win: Dante Rivero, “1st Ko si 3rd”, Miggs Cuaderno, “Children’s Show”
Personal Pick: Ricky Davao, “Mariquina”

8. Best Performance of a Supporting Actress
Will Win: Barbie Forteza, “Mariquina”
Could Win: Gloria Sevilla, “Children’s Show”, Ruby Ruiz, “1st Ko si 3rd”
Personal Pick: Coleen Garcia, “#Y”

9. Best Direction
Will Win: Janice O’Hara, “Sundalong Kanin”
Could Win: Roderick Cabrido, “Children’s Show”, Francis Pasion, “Bwaya”
Personal Pick: Janice O’Hara, “Sundalong Kanin”

10. Best Performance of an Actor
Will Win: Nonie Buencamino, “Dagitab”
Could Win: Buboy Villar, “Children’s Show”, ensemble of Separados (God forbid)
Personal Pick: Nonie Buencamino, “Dagitab”

11. Best Performance of an Actress
Will Win: Angeli Bayani, “Bwaya”
Could Win: Aiai delas Alas, “Ronda”, Nova Villa, “1st Ko si 3rd”
Personal Pick: Eula Valdez, “Dagitab”

12. Special Jury Prize
Will Win: “Children’s Show″
Could Win: “Sundalong Kanin”
Personal Pick: “Dagitab”

13. Best Film
Will Win: “Sundalong Kanin”
Could Win: “Children’s Show″
Personal Pick: “Sundalong Kanin”

DIRECTORS SHOWCASE CATEGORY PREDICTIONS

1. Best Sound
Will Win: “The Janitor”
Could Win: “Asintado”, “Hari ng Tondo”
Personal Pick: “The Janitor”

2. Best Original Music Score
Will Win: “Hari ng Tondo”
Could Win: “Kasal”, “The Janitor”
Personal Pick: “The Janitor”

3. Best Editing
Will Win: “The Janitor”
Could Win: “Hari ng Tondo”
Personal Pick: “The Janitor”

4. Best Production Design
Will Win: “The Janitor”
Could Win: “Asintado”
Personal Pick: “Hari ng Tondo”

5. Best Cinematography
Will Win: “Asintado”
Could Win: “The Janitor”
Personal Pick: “Kasal”

6. Best Screenplay
Will Win: Bibeth Orteza, “Hari ng Tondo”
Could Win: Aloy Adlawan, Michael Tuviera, “The Janitor”, Ricky Lee, “Hustisya”
Personal Pick: Joselito Altarejos, Zig Dulay, “Kasal”

7. Best Performance of a Supporting Actor
Will Win: Rez Cortez, “Hari ng Tondo”
Could Win: Rocco Nacino, “Hustisya”, Dante Rivero, “The Janitor”
Personal Pick: Miggs Cuaderno, “Asintado”

8. Best Performance of a Supporting Actress
Will Win: Liza Lorena, “Hari ng Tondo”
Could Win: Rosanna Roces, “Hustisya”, Sunshine Dizon, “Hustisya”
Personal Pick: Sunshine Garcia, “The Janitor”

9. Best Direction
Will Win: Michael Tuviera, “The Janitor”
Could Win: Carlos Siguion Reyna, “Hari ng Tondo”, Joel Lamangan, “Hustisya”
Personal Pick: Michael Tuviera, “The Janitor”

10. Best Performance of an Actor
Will Win: Arnold Reyes and Oliver Aquino, “Kasal”
Could Win: Dennis Trillo, “The Janitor”, Robert Arevalo, “Hari ng Tondo”
Personal Pick: Arnold Reyes, “Kasal”

11. Best Performance of an Actress
Will Win: Nora Aunor, “Hustisya”
Could Win: Aiko Melendez, “Asintado”
Personal Pick: Nora Aunor, “Hustisya”

12. Special Jury Prize
Will Win: “Hari ng Tondo”
Could Win:  “Kasal”, “Hustisya”
Personal Pick: “The Janitor”

13. Best Film
Will Win: “The Janitor”
Could Win: “Hari ng Tondo”
Personal Pick: “Hari ng Tondo”

You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

10th Cinemalaya Film Festival Review: Part 4   7 comments

You’re still reading Tit for Tat’s Cinemalaya X coverage, and we’re now on the fourth of our short review capsules. As a reminder, you can check the my three previous posts with  Part 1 covering Real Florido’s “1st Ko si 3rd“, Giancarlo Abrahan’s “Dagitab“, and Milo Sogueco’s “Mariquina”, Part 2 Francis Pasion’s “Bwaya“, Gino M. Santos’ “#Y“, and GB Sampedro’s “S6parados”, and Part 3 which has Ida Anita del Mundo’s “K’na the Dreamweaver“, Joselito Altarejos’ “Kasal“, and Louie Ignacio’s “Asintado.” Now let’s add three more films in the list.

Hustisya

HUSTISYA
Director: Joel Lamangan
Cast: Nora Aunor, Rocco Nacino, Sunshine Dizon, Rosanna Roces
Competition: Directors Showcase

Biring (Nora Aunor) has worked for a long time now as Vivian’s (Rosanna Roces) right-hand assistant. The former usually takes care of delivering messages and money that they earn from their human trafficking business. But after an incident in which Vivian frames up Biring, they’re all by themselves at that point.

Hustisya starts strong in which we follow a day in the life of Biring as she does her usual businesses. She switches and delivers money to church officials, politicians, other businessman, and in the middle of it, throws money in the air on top of the Manila City Hall Clock Tower. But it is the supposed game-changing incident of frame up when the film just rolled downhill. At this point, it’s now a parade of the usual Lamangan schtick which probably is his vision of a political statement. He doesn’t dip so much into these so called issues but instead, stays content with just enumerating them. And that’s what he has been doing for the past few years with his foray into such. I don’t doubt that Lamangan can pull off these political statement films (I’m a big fan of 2001’s Hubog as for starters), but Hustisya falls into this lazy OMG-important angle which was the same template as in Dukot… and Sigwa… and Patikul… and Lihis… and even Burgos. The thing that makes Hustisya further down the drain is that there’s a scene in the near end where Biring is walking and hallucinating into a random Manila alley seeing all these “things wrong with out society” and by that time, the last thing we needed is another in your face reminder of such. Nora Aunor is always dependable though, and she knows how to make fun of this role. You can see her totally committed but has a grasp of when to make things light as the situation calls for such. It doesn’t hold a candle to any of the previous Lamangan/Aunor collaborations, and it’s probably her weakest since her 2012 comeback. That said, the less said about the film overall, the better.

2/5

The Janitor

THE JANITOR
Director: Michael Tuviera
Cast: Dennis Trillo, Richard Gomez, Ricky Davao, Derek Ramsay
Competition: Directors Showcase

The Janitor is based from the infamous 2008 RCBC bank robbery that happened in Cabuyao, Laguna which claimed the lives of 10 victims. In the film, Crisanto (Dennis Trillo) was a suspended policeman tasked to be a hitman and eliminate the people responsible for the said bank incident.

For the most part, The Janitor is really entertaining as its approach to the retelling of the incident is straight to the point. But then again, straight to the point can be too straight to the point that it now borders on formulaic. And that’s how the first 3/4 of the film ended up. The format goes something like “torture the lookout”, “let him speak another name”, “hitman goes for that name.” Lather, rinse, repeat. It is undeniably entertaining but can easily get tiring. In between, we witness Crisanto’s domestic problems with his pregnant wife, his non-believer father, and his disabled mother. Once again, lather, rinse, repeat. The film tried to pull off a shift in its storytelling by the last act, and while it indeed changed the monotonous approach of the film, it wasn’t really successful as well in achieving the same impact. There were clearly some notice-able goofs between the film’s concept of day and night with two scenes suddenly changing time frame in a snap, and  that can be really bothering. Other than that, Dennis Trillo is a hoot in this role and made me remember how versatile he is as an actor. It’s probably his best Cinemalaya effort yet among his three films in this festival’s history (2009’s Astig and 2012’s Ang Katiwala). I would have love to see more of his interaction with Derek Ramsay, as I felt their moments were too abrupt given how much they play off each other’s strengths. While one can’t help but wish that the film’s approach wasn’t totally by the numbers, it’s hard to deny that the film itself is really entertaining, and the potential for thrilling action films to come back is really present.

3/5

Children's Show

CHILDREN’S SHOW
Director: Derick Cabrido
Cast: Buboy Villar, Miggs Cuaderno, Gloria Sevilla, Allen Dizon, Nathan Lopez
Competition: New Breed

Inspired by true events, the film focused on brothers Jun (Buboy Villar) and Al (Miggs Cuaderno) who in between pedicab driving earn money by participating in an underground wrestling for teenagers ran by a syndicate. The film focused on how they both try to survive with their grandmother a midst the harsh realities of their poverty stricken life.

As early as the breakthrough of independent film by the mid-aughts, poverty porn is one of those recurring themes. And I know that most of you are gonna go like “WHY. POVERTY.PORN. AGAIN. UGH”, but Children’s Show isn’t really all that. If anything, it flips the usual schtick and injects with it something optimistic and new. The film itself tends to overdo the drama with the situations these brothers are dealing, but it doesn’t forget to counter the despair with the comedic elements (both intentional and otherwise). The movie gives a feel of “the little movie that could”, and it indeed does. The way the film goes back and forth to hopeful and depressing is mostly smooth, and its intensity really crosses the brink and just a little bit beyond. There’s a certain amount of rawness with the two lead actors’ deliveries that make it more affecting than expected, and it just pulls you in. The rest of the ensemble is great as well, and the cinematography is top notch here. I really like the color palette used in the film specifically the underground boxing place and the whole squatters area which reeked of dirty and gritty (and reminded me of Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty music video (I know it’s terrible and I’m sorry but I can’t help insert this. Lol)). If anything, I’m a bit half baked on the slow mo too polished fight scenes. On one hand, it’s really a cool moment for the film, but on the other, I really don’t think its needed anymore. Six days in the fest, and I’m really waiting for a surprise from this year’s batch that’s devoid the hype, and this is certainly one of those.

3.5/5

Last three films (finally whew!) to be posted on Saturday morning before malls open so you’d have a complete guide on what to watch and what to skip if you’re running low on time and/or budget. 😉

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

Cinemalaya X Complete Guide   10 comments

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Now that August is fast approaching, it’s time for the country’s biggest independent film festival as Cinemalaya celebrates its first decade this year. Running from August 1-10, this year’s festival, dubbed as “Cinemalaya X: A Decade of Connecting Dimensions”, will once again showcase the power of independent films in providing quality cinema in the country. This year’s 10 New Breed films, 10 short films, and 4 Directors Showcase that are in competition this year are:

(descriptions taken from the press kit available online)

DIRECTORS SHOWCASE:

1. ASINTADO (Between the Eyes)
Director: 
Louie Ignacio
Cast: Aiko Melendez, Gabby Eigenmann, Jake Vargas, Miggs Cuaderno, Rochelle Pangilinan
Plot: In the middle of the preparation for TaongPutik Festival, a young man penniless and in love, takes on a drug courier job that goes terribly wrong.  To save him, his mother now makes the most difficult decision of her life.

2. HARI NG TONDO
Director: Carlos Siguion-Reyna
Cast: Robert Arevalo, Cris Villonco, Rez Cortez, Liza Lorena, Rafa Siguion-Reyna
Plot: A grandfather on the brink of bankruptcy and brings his grandchildren back to the community that made and shaped him, only to find out the place is no longer the same.

3. HUSTISYA
Director: 
Joel Lamangan
Cast: Nora Aunor, Rocco Nacino, Rosanna Roces, Sunshine Dizon
Plot: A foul-mouthed woman fights for her soul in the belly of the city.  Working for a human trafficking agency controlled by a powerful syndicate, she sees no evil, hears no evil.  In a society like ours, you have only two choices – to be a victim, or a victimizer. She makes her choice.

4. THE JANITOR
Director:
Michael Tuviera
Cast:
Dennis Trillo, Derek Ramsay, Dante Rivero, Irma Adlawan
Plot: 
Crisanto Espina, a cop on suspension and under investigation, is tasked to eliminate the suspects involved in a bank robbery/massacre that shocked the whole nation.

5. KASAL
Director: Joselito Altarejos
Cast: Arnold Reyes, Oliver Aquino, Rita Avila, Maureen Mauricio
Plot: Kasal is a slice of life drama of a gay couple whose resolve to stay together is challenged as they attend a wedding.  It also is an examination on how a gay couple navigates through the different institutions in Philippine society.

NEW BREED:

1. #Y
Director: Gino M. Santos
Cast: Elmo Magalona, Coleen Garcia, Slater Young, Kit Thompson, Sophie Albert
Plot: “#Y” (“Hashtag Y”) chronicles the adventures of the members of a generation made universal by the realms of social media, the internet, sex, drugs and alcohol, and the occasional YOLO.

2. 1st KO SI 3rd
Director: Real Florido
Cast: Nova Villa, Dante Rivero, Freddie Webb
Plot: Matapos ang mahigit apat na dekada ay muling makikita ni Cory ang kanyang 1st love na si Third na siyang magbibigay kulay at gugulo sa kanyang buhay bilang may asawa at retiree.

3. BWAYA
Director: 
Francis Xavier Pasion
Cast: Angeli Bayani, RS Francisco, Karl Medina, Jolina Salvado
Plot: Divina is preparing for her daughter Rowena’s 13th birthday when she hears shocking news:  her daughter has been attacked by a crocodile, her body still missing.  As Divina searches for the body of her daughter in the marshlands of Agusan del Sur, she learns a lesson more tragic than her fate:  not all predators are underwater. The film is based on actual events.

4. CHILDREN’S SHOW
Director: 
Derick Cabrido
Cast: Allen Dizon, Gloria Sevilla, Nathan Lopez, Suzette Rannillo
Plot: Children’s Show is a full-length film based on a real life story of children ages 10-15 years old being used by a syndicate for an underground wrestling match.

5. DAGITAB (SPARKS)
Director: 
Giancarlo Abrahan V
Cast: Eula Valdez, Nonie Buencamino, Martin del Rosario
Plot: While the marriage of two professors is on the verge of falling apart, the woman is dragged into a scandal involving a young student.  On the other hand, the man falls in love with his research — a deity (supernatural being) that appears to him as the ghost of an old flame.

6. K’NA, THE DREAMWEAVER
Director: 
Ida Q. Anita del Mundo
Cast: Mara Lopez, RK Bagatsin, Alex Medina, Nonie Buencamino
Plot: When Kana, a young T’boli woman, becomes a dreamweaver, she has the chance to weave together her village’s warring clans.  But, will she give up true love to do so?

7. MARIQUINA
Director: 
Milo Sogueco
Cast: Mylene Dizon, Ricky Davao, Bing Pimentel, Che Ramos
Plot: Unlike the former Philippine First Lady, Imelda is indifferent towards shoes. To her, they are fraught with the bittersweet nostalgia of childhood, one that was marred by a difficult relationship with her shoe-maker father, Romeo.  Growing up, all of hers were handmade by him. Now a mature woman, she takes a pivotal call from the morgue, spurring her search for the perfect pair of shoes for her dead father.  The deeper she searches for the perfect shoes, the more she finds herself.

8. RONDA
Director: 
Nick Olanka
Cast: Aiai delas Alas, Carlo Aquino, Carlos Morales, Angeli Bayani
Plot: A policewoman roams the city of Manila to fulfill her duties as a police patrol and to look for her lost son.

9. SEPARADOS
Director: 
Gb Sampedro
Cast: Victor Neri, Ricky Davao, Anjo Yllana, Jason Abalos, Erik Santos, Alfred Vargas
Plot: Separados is a mostly bittersweet, partly comic, partly tragic saga of six men who have separated from their wives. Based on true stories, their parallel and overlapping tales are framed by a church wedding to a second wife by one of them, who grabs another chance at matrimonial bliss.

10. SUNDALONG KANIN
Director: 
Janice O’Hara
Cast: Nathaniel Brit, Ian de Leon, Marc Abaya, Gardo Verzosa
Plot: Set during the Japanese Occupation, four friends (Nitoy, Benny, Carding, and Badong) aspire nothing more than to become soldiers fighting the Japanese… until they are confronted by the realities of war that threaten to destroy their families and their friendship.

SHORT FILMS A:

1. ASAN SI LOLO ME? (Sari Estrada)
A mother tells her young son that his grandfather has turned into a goat in order to cover up the grandfather’s death.

2. TIYA BENING (Ralph Quijano)
Left by her daughter to a caregiver, an old lady with Alzheimer’s suffers as her bedroom burns during the night.

3. MGA LIGAW NA PARUPARO (J.E. Tiglao)
Miriam is up for a surprise from her husband after a rift caused by the flirty text message of someone named Alex.

4. THE ORDINARY THINGS WE DO (David R. Corpuz)
When everything material and immaterial is stripped off, what remain are souls united by and in love.

5. PADULONG SA PINUY-ANAN (Eden Villarba)
A man attempts to find himself and the meaning of home while lost in another country.

SHORT FILMS B:

1. INDAYOG NG NAYATAMAK (Joris Fernandez)
A struggle between a painter and his work.

2. LOLA (Kevin Ang Tan)
It’s Christmas time, and a grandmother spends a quiet afternoon tending to the family chores. But the arrival of an unexpected visitor brings with her some deadly consequences.

3. NAKABIBINGING KADILIMAN (Paolo O’Hara)
Nakabibinging Kadiliman is about two physically challenged sisters trying to find a way to live a normal life.

4. INA-TAY (Chloe Veloso)
A beautician named Elvis (also known as Elvira) finds out one day that he has fathered a bouncing baby boy and is left with the challenge of single parenthood.

5. EYEBALL (Thop Nazareno)
A vain man is out to meet a woman he met on Facebook for the first time. While waiting for her, he comes upon a naive guy whom he teaches his ways on attracting women. But the vain may need to learn some more.

Aside from that, the out of competition films ranged from Sineng Pambansa entries such as Maryo J. delos Reyes‘ Bamboo Flowers and Peque Gallaga’s Sonata to local premiere of  Ronnie Lazaro’s Edna. There’s also repeat screenings of last year’s top films via Lav Diaz critically acclaimed Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan, and Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo. Since Cinemalaya is celebratings its tenth year, a look back of some of the festival’s earlier films will also be in the schedule this year including Mike Sandejas’ Tulad ng Dati, Clodualdo del Mundo Jr.’s Pepot Artista, and Jerrold Tarog’s Sana Dati to name a few.

In order to help you fix your schedule this year, I’ve uploaded a table of the CCP schedule for this year arranged per day. Hope this helps!

August 2

August 3

August 4

August 5

August 6

August 7

August 8

 

August 9

As for the Ayala malls schedule:

Aug 2

Aug 3

Aug 4

Aug 5

Aug 6

Aug 7

Aug 8

Aug 9

Aug 10

You can also check the official Cinemalaya X Facebook fan page for more details.

See you everyone at the CCP next month! 🙂

You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl