A 'cinesthesia' of the old and the new in Cinemalaya 2013

Dexter Rodrigo Matilla - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A lot can be said when director Gil Portes took the stage to describe his entry, “The Liars,” during a press conference Thursday at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City.

“I feel so old,” Portes said, in reference to the four other finalists in Cinemalaya 2013’s Directors Showcase category.

With the theme “Cinesthesia: Synergy of the Senses”, the 9th iteration of the film festival opens July 26 and will run until August 4. It will feature 25 indie films from young directors, screenwriters, and producers belonging to the categories Short Feature, New Breed, and the aforementioned Directors Showcase.

The Short Feature finalists are: Bakaw by Ron Segismundo, Katapusang Labok (Last Strike) by Aiess Athina E. Alonso, Missing by Zig Dulay, Onang by Je Tiglao, Para Kay Ama by Relyn A .Tan, Pukpok by Joaquin Pantaleon, Stephan Domingo, Immanuel Canicosa, Sa Wakas by Nica Santiago, Taya by Adi Bontuyan, The Houseband’s Wife  by  Paolo O’Hara, and Tutob by  Kissza Mari Campano.

For the New Breed category: Babagwa (The Spider’s Lair) by Jason Paul Laxamana, David F by Emmanuel Palo, Debosyon by Alvin Yapan, Instant Mommy by Leo Abaya, Nuwebe by Joseph Israel Laban, Purok 7 by Carlo Obispo, Quick Change by Eduardo Roy Jr., Rekorder by Mikhail Red, The Diplomat Hotel by Christopher Ad. Castillo, and Transit by Hannah Espia.

Joining Portes in the Directors Showcase are:  Amor y Muerte by Ces M. Evangelista, Ekstra by Jeffrey Jeturian, Sana Dati by Jerrold Tarog, and Porno by Adolfo Alix Jr.

The festival’s competition director Laurice Guillen said that technology is helping aspiring filmmakers to start young, pointing out how even camera phones can be used in the creative process.

The youngest director, Mikhail Red, is only 21 and he helms “Rekorder” , which is about a former cameraman who now smuggles cameras that are used to illegally record movies inside theatres.

Red is one of three second-generation directors in the festival including Christopher Ad. Castillo and Paolo O’Hara.

But Cinemalaya’s popularity isn’t just for the young as established actors can now be seen in these indie films. Most notable this year would be multi-awarded actress Vilma Santos who will be appearing in Jeturian’s â€œEkstra” as, you guessed it, an extra who just wants to have her 15 minutes of fame.

Also appearing this year are Eugene Domingo (“Instant Mommy”), recent Urian winner Alessandra de Rossi (“The Liars”), Gretchen Barretto (“The Diplomat Hotel”), and Anita Linda (“David F” and “Nuwebe”).

Making her debut in the indie scene is Jasmine Curtis-Smith, who’s appearing in Hanna Espia’s “Transit”, a film shot mostly in Israel.

“It is a sign that Cinemalaya is achieving its goal of infusing new blood to the industry in terms of new directors, new stories, new approaches to filmmaking,” Guillen said. “And it’s not just the mainstream who are coming to do this, but the films are being exhibited by mainstream producers and distributors. Nagkakaroon na ng magandang palitan.”

And Cinemalaya has been known for its surprises. So what about this year?

“I’m sure,” Guillen says. “But I don’t know. If I knew, it would not be a surprise.”

Watch highlights from the presscon in the video below:

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