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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

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10th Cinemalaya Film Festival Review: Part 5   2 comments

And we’ve finally reached the end. After almost a week of being in CCP, I’ve finally managed to see all 15 films in competition this year both in the New Breed and Director’s Showcase category. As a reminder, here are the four earlier parts of my Cinemalaya coverage:  Part 1 (which has Real Florido’s “1st Ko si 3rd“, Giancarlo Abrahan’s “Dagitab“, and Milo Sogueco’s “Mariquina”), Part 2 (covering Francis Pasion’s “Bwaya“, Gino M. Santos’ “#Y“, and GB Sampedro’s “S6parados”), Part 3 (includes Ida Anita del Mundo’s “K’na the Dreamweaver“, Joselito Altarejos’ “Kasal“, and Louie Ignacio’s “Asintado”), and Part 4 (which is composed of Joel Lamangan’s “Hustisya“, Michael Tuviera’s “The Janitor“, and Derick Cabrido’s “Children’s Show“). As for the last three films of the fest…

Ronda

RONDA
Director: Nick Olanka
Cast: Aiai delas Alas, Carlos Morales, Carlo Aquino, Perla Bautista, Julian Trono
Competition: New Breed

Ronda follows a typical work night for policewoman Paloma Arroyo (Aiai delas Alas) and her partner as they catch thieves and arrest minor prostitutes while going around the metro. The only difference is that her son, Leo, has been missing for days now after telling that he’ll do a school project with one of his classmates.

The film opens with a long continuous shot of a roaming police car getting in and out of random streets maybe to further highlight what’s it like to be in Arroyo’s day work. This seemed like a really long set up for something but there really isn’t anything to look forward to. In between these, we encounter some interesting breaks such as Carlo Aquino’s thief role, Angeli Bayani’s nagging persistent reporter, and Bernardo Bernardo’s pimp to minors, but then again, they’re just that. They’re breaks in between something which wasn’t totally established. Then we’re reminded again that Arroyo still has to look for her son. And that she cares, but no establishment of such has been made for a compelling side story. In the end, when the film finally decided to move the story forward, it suddenly stopped. Whether these two stories are related nor if they’re bound to be connected in the first place, I really have no idea which leads me to believe that the film would have benefited from a balance of some sort in order to either make the first part more solid or the latter part more memorable — neither of which the film achieved to do. I get it though that one of the film’s selling points is Aiai delas Alas’ serious acting, which she really nailed here especially in the last part.  But I think her countless Maalaala Mo Kaya drama episodes have already proven that, so I wasn’t really “shattered” per se by her more serious approach here (which was really subdued). If anything, my main consolation with it were the shots of Manila’s arresting visuals at night that showed the gritty and raw side and it takes a pro to showcase such.

2/5

Hari ng Tondo

HARI NG TONDO
Director: Carlos Siguion Reyna
Cast: Robert Arevalo, Cris Villonco, Rez Cortez, Rafa Siguion-Reyna, Aiza Seguerra, Ciara Sotto
Competition: Directors Showcase

When wealthy man Ricardo Villena (Robert Arevalo) was informed that he’s close to bankruptcy, he decided to go back to his roots and take his runaway bride niece Anna (Cris Villonco) and college drop out nephew Ricky (Rafa Siguion-Reyna) to Tondo to learn how to grow a pair of balls, even if it’s against his offspring’s consent.

Movies nowadays rely on the flashy visuals or twist-y storytelling in order to ensure that they’d be spared from “copycat” or “same old same old” comments. But what’s faulty in that equation is that it doesn’t really need those as long as you’re aware of the limits of your material. That’s probably the biggest asset of Carlos Siguion Reyna’s comeback film Hari ng Tondo. The film, which even borders on too staged at times, doesn’t attempt to be a deeper, more cathartic version of anything. Its approach was direct to the point, and it effectively worked. Sure there are cliches here and there, and the film can’t help itself but to be too much of a Glee episode (during its peak) at times, but these things fit the material and what you get is an earnest depiction of its situations. This is a film that can be picked and tortured to pieces, but how it prevented such is by attempting to be heartfelt and genuine. I can’t help but somehow mirror the situation of Ricardo to the overall appeal of the film. Both the lead character and Siguion-Reyna tried to take a risk by going back to an old route that might or might not work, and the end result just speaks for itself. This is a crowd pleasing film whose cheesy approach will appeal aims to both serious critics and casual movie goers. The ensemble was commendable, and the songs here were really catchy. Dare I say, that by far, the local feel good film of the year.

3.5/5

Sundalong Kanin

SUNDALONG KANIN
Director: Janice O’Hara
Cast: Marc Abaya, Enzo Pineda, Isaac Aguirre, Elijah Canlas, Akira Morishita, Angelo Martinez, Nathaniel Britt
Competition: New Breed

Set in the 40s before the Japanese conquered the country, Sundalong Kanin is about four young lads who all wanted to be a solider when they grow up. The said invasion left an impact on the thinking process of the children when they learned what a soldier really is about.

Indeed, save the best for last. My last film from this year’s competition turned out to be the surprise I’m waiting for. Every year, I wait for that one breakout hit that will just sweep me off my feet like that of last year’s Transit and Purok 7. And I should have already seen it coming that it will be a film that has children on the forefront. Sundalong Kanin is one of the lesser buzzed entries in the film fest, as it has no big stars in it nor the “cool” image some entries had. But what it has up its sleeve is a heartbreaking coming of age tale of what happens when you’re confronted by your dreams at an early stage in your life. Director Janice O’Hara’s approach of opening the film in a somewhat comedic manner before seamlessly shifting to serious made the whole transition more effective. When children are already awaken of the actual concept of the one thing they have wanted, it becomes a battle of reality versus expectation. The film is aware enough to highlight the difference between such and the conflict and impact it leaves to these children. What’s more fantastic about the movie is despite running on a limited budget, none of it looked cheap. The four children ensemble also didn’t disappoint with all of them getting their own moments. Sundalong Kanin is one of the festival’s best entries, and the good word it has received by far is really well deserved.

4.5/5

And that’s it for Cinemalaya X. Whew I finished it earlier than expected. Dagitab and Sundalong Kanin were my favorites from this year with #Y, Mariquina, and Hari ng Tondo as the other solid entries. Both Children’s Show and 1st Ko Si 3rd were good as well. The rest ranged from good but flawed to outright horrible. On Sunday, I will be posting a complete recap of this year’s films including my rankings, picks, and predictions on who’ll end up winning at the awards ceremony.

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