Why is Cinemalaya different?

Amadís Ma. Guerrero - The Philippine Star
Why is Cinemalaya different?

MANILA, Philippines - The Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition, now on its 13th year, can look back to solid accomplishments: One hundred twenty-seven full-length feature films and 106 short films, many of which have won awards in local and international festivals. Over 1,000 works by indie filmmakers have been showcased, including full-length features, shorts, documentaries, Filipino film classics and art films.

Other film festivals, some of them older than Cinemalaya, have, of course, similar accomplishments. But Cinemalaya has the advantage of being an annual signature project of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

“What makes Cinemalaya distinct is that it is the only festival based in a performing arts facility,” said Chris Millado, festival director and vice president and artistic director of CCP, in an interview. “It’s an opportunity, a direct connection with the other arts.”

He added: “You see art on the walls and upcoming events not connected with the festival. It provides an opportunity for students, cineastes and the general public. So there is a great to-do about opening night. We highlight the performances, exhibits… the visual arts relate to the art that is being projected on the screen.”

For this year, Cinemalaya will feature the photographs of cinematographer Neil Daza, and will pay tribute to the late composer Willy Cruz.

There are 12 finalists, selected from a total of 174 entries in the full-length feature category, and an equal number in the short film category. Sharon Cuneta will join Cinemalaya for the first time, starring in Mes de Guzman’s Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha. She portrays a desperate woman who seeks to reconcile with her husband and two children.

Other well-known names from stage and screen that will be appearing in the other films include Bembol Roco, Rossana Roces, Gina Alajar, Alfred Vargas, Angeli Bayani, JC Santos, Jake Cuenca, Alex Medina and Ronwaldo Martin.

Most of the films are in the post-production stage, while a few are still shooting.

The finalists in the full-length category include Ang Guro Kong di Marunong Magbasa by Perry Escaño; Baconaua by Joseph Israel Laban; Bagahe by Zig Dulay; Nabubulok by Sonny Calvento; Pacboy by Thop Nazareno; Requited by Nerissa Picadizo; Respeto by Treb Monteras II; Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig by Iar Lionel and Benjamin Arondaing; and Unang Patak ng Ulan sa Buwan ng Mayo by Cenon Obispo Palomares.

The 12 finalists in the short film category are: Aliens Ata by Karl Glenn Barit; Juana and the Sacred Shores by Antonne Santiago; Lola Leleng by Jean Cheryl Tagyamon; Fatima Marie Torres and the Invasion of Space Shuttle Pinas 25 by Carlo Francisco Manatad; Bawod (Bent) by Terimar Malones; Nakaw by Arvin Belarmino; Sorry for the Inconvenience by Carl Adrian Chavez; Hilom by Paul Patindol; Manong ng Pa-aling by E. del Mundo; Maria by Jaime Mabac Jr.; Nakauwi Na by Marvin Cabagunay; and Islabodan by Juan Carlo Tarobal.

Cinemalaya will be held from Aug. 3 to 14 at the CCP and Ayala Cinemas. Awards night is on Aug. 13. Visit www.cinemalaya.org or call 832-3704.

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