CineFilipino showcases the best stories told in a uniquely Filipino way
(The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - CineFilipino, organized and led by Unitel Productions, in partnership with the MVP Group of Companies, offers a fresh spin on independent or “indie” films  more moving stories and a more diverse mix of genres. The films are set to be screened on Feb. 2 to 8.

“Life is comprised of stories, and a lot of our personal stories are similar. This year’s selection of CineFilipino films takes these stories, retains the uniquely Filipino elements and tells them in a world-class manner. Many of these films will be entered in upcoming film festivals abroad,” said Madonna Tarrayo, president of Unitel Productions.

For the feature-length category, movies explore various relationships and emotions that comprise life.

1st Sem, directed by Dexter Hemedez and Illan Ibañez

When a kid leaves home for college, the milestone gives way to a struggle between giving in to homesickness or choosing a good education and a better future. Sixteen-year-old Maru Marasigan chooses to give in and goes home to be with his mother. But instead of strengthening the relationship, the decision finds both mother and son drifting apart.

•A Lotto Like Love (Carla Baful)

This is not your typical love story. Kayela and Itot are brought together by a single desire — to win the lottery. But on their way to claim Kayela’s prize, they encounter thieves. To solve the problem, Kayela throws her bag into a moving bus, thwarting the thieves’ plan but leaving them with a new problem: How to retrieve the bag with the winning ticket.

•Ang Taba Ko Kasi (Jason Paul Laxamana)

Weight loss is not an easy task. For Olga (Cai Cortez), it requires a huge amount of willpower, discipline and inspiration. She decides to enroll in a swimming class where she meets a hot instructor who becomes her source of inspiration. And in her quest to secure his affections, Olga takes on afternoon jogging sessions in a university campus where she meets Benji, an equally fat man whose motivation to lose weight is to impress his ex-girlfriend. But as the two spend more time together, Benji finds himself falling in love with Olga. Will Olga still go through her plan? Or will she choose to accept herself, fats and all?

•Ang Tulay ng San Sebastian (Alvin Yapan)

Superstitions have a way of becoming reality. In Yapan’s film, Bong and Francis, ambulance driver and nurse, tell each other ghost stories on Good Friday while on their way home from Manila. While driving on the San Sebastian bridge, both men realize that each of their stories are coming true — a white lady hails the ambulance, a flying coffin chases them and they witness a ghostly reenactment of a vicious murder. Can they get out of this ghostly story cycle?

•Buhay Habangbuhay (Paolo Herras)

Sandy, a devoted housewife, dies in an accident. Soon after, her ghost appears and haunts the family home as she waits for the death of her husband Joel. Life goes on for her family while Sandy is in limbo, waiting to start the afterlife with Joel. But when Joel finally dies, he vanishes, leaving Sandy to wonder if all her efforts were in vain. Paolo  weaves a tale that explores life after death, the importance of moving on and celebrating life.

•Ned’s Project (Lemuel Lorca)

An itinerant tattoo artist joins a reality show for lesbians in the hopes of winning the prize money that will enable her to get artificially inseminated and achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a mother.

•Sakaling Hindi Makarating (Ice Idanan)

After Cielo’s (Alessandra de Rossi) break-up with her boyfriend of 11 years, she receives a set of mysterious hand-illustrated postcards. Intrigued, she decides to pack her bags and go on a journey around the Philippines. As she makes her way from Luzon to Mindanao, lessons are learned, friendships are made and the identity of the anonymous writer unfolds.

•Straight to the Heart (Dave Fabros)

What happens when a gay hairdresser slips into a coma and wakes up a straight guy? Dave explores this possibility in the movie. Filled with funny antics and uniquely Filipino hugot lines, the film is filled with the good kind of chaos as relationships and lives are turned around by this one major change.

Van Damme Stallone (Randolph Longjas)

Mothers are expected to always give their 100 percent. But for mothers of children with special needs, they are expected to give more. Van Damme Stallone follows the story of VanVan, a child with Down’s Syndrome, his quest to become an artista and his mother’s desire to make this dream happen.

The films were selected from a total of 442 entries. The Feature-Length category attracted 151 submissions. For the new categories, 51 Documentaries came in while 34 were listed under TV Series. Under the Shorts category, there were 206 entries: 164 for Short Features, 15 for Mobile and 26 for the Online platform.

CineFilipino is also supported by Meralco and Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC). For further information, visit www.cinefilipino.com.

A LOTTO LIKE LOVE ACIRC AFTER CIELO ALVIN YAPAN ANG TABA KO KASI ANG TULAY CENT SAN SEBASTIAN STRONG UNITEL PRODUCTIONS VAN DAMME STALLONE
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