Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Unreleased films go virtual via Cinemalaya 2021

STAR CIRCUIT - Ricky L. Calderon - The Freeman

Fans and cineastes who love the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival will miss going to the Cultural Center of the Philippines as the widely-followed indie filmfest goes virtual owing to the pandemic.

Four never-before-seen films directed by award-winning Filipino directors will premiere during this year’s Cinemalaya slated on August 6 to September 5. The Premieres section of the country’s largest indie film festival will be screened on ktx.ph.

Featured films are: family drama “Highest Peak” by director Arnel Barbarona, drama “He Who Is Without Sin” by director Jason Paul Laxamana, noir film “Love and Pain In Between Refrains” by director Joselito Altarejos, and social monologue “Tao Po” by Mae Paner aka Juana Change.

Premiering on Aug. 7 to 14, “Highest Peak” is about a man who decides to follow through with his family’s plan to climb the highest mountain peak in the Philippines after he lost his wife and son. A journey of redemption, closure and healing, the film was shot predominantly in Mt. Apo.

The film stars Dax Alejandro, Mara Lopez, Henyo Ehem, Rowena Caballes, Jea Lyka Cinco, Johnny Hager, Buggy Amplayo, Jun Alcover, Bong Artil and Ferdinand Mesias.

Davao-born director Arbi Barbarona is known for his films centered on indigenous peoples of Mindanao including his debut feature film “Tu Pug Imatuy,” which won several awards in various film festivals.

“He Who Is Without Sin” takes the virtual cinema on August 15-21. The 75-minute film follows what transpired during a chance meeting between a broadcasting student and the TV reporter he idolizes. In the days that follow the encounter, the young student shares with his friends separately three versions of what transpired: what happened, what really happened, and what might have actually happened. Through the conversations with friends, he comes to terms with the idea that his idol – a dignified newsman who is supposed to be a paragon of virtue – is not who he appears to be on television.

Starring Elijah Canlas, Enzo Pineda, Pearl Lagman, Migs Campanilla, Lara Fortuna, Gio Gahol, Marnie Lapus, and Iman Ampatuan, the film marks the Sinag Maynila debut of director Jason Paul Laxamana, whose film “Mercury is Mine” won the Special Jury Prize and Best Screenplay in the 2016 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

Catch “Love and Pain In Between Refrains” on August 22-28. A neo-noir film dealing with the tragedy that feeds on love and co-dependency, and the cycle of abuse and violence, the 88-minute film is about high school sweethearts who lost touch with each other after high school graduation and met again after 10 years. As feelings rekindled, they start living together. But what’s supposed to be a beautiful relationship turns into a traumatic reunion.

The cast includes Oliver Aquino, Elora Españo, Richard Quan, Anelle Durano, Suzette Doctolero, Natileigh Sitoy, Anjo Resureccion, and Jill Urdaneta.

With 2076 Kolektib production company, Altarejos aims to create and produce multimedia contents that will arouse, educate, and inspire his audiences to become more vigilant and conscious of the social issues and challenges they face in the age of yet another strongman rule. An advocate of “Cinema of the Social Consciousness,” Altarejos is known for his films, the 2014 Cinemalaya Best Film “Kasal,” “Tale of the Lost Boys” (2017), “Unfriend” (2014), “Ang Laro sa Buhay ni Juan” (2009), and “Ang Lihim ni Antonio” (2010).

Starring Mae Paner aka Juana Change, “Tao Po” premieres on Sept. 3. The film follows the social awakening of a photojournalist when he covers the tokhang beat. From several immersion trips and in-depth interviews conducted by artist-activist Mae Paner and playwright Maynard Manansala emerge four monologues that give faces to the issue of extra-judicial killings.

Tickets for the Premieres are priced at Php250. Get your tickets at ktx.ph.

Follow the official CCP and Cinemalaya social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on the Cinemalaya Film Festival screening schedules and other offerings. Visit the CCP website (www.culturalcenter.gov.ph) for more information.


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