CHRIS B. Millado, Cinemalaya festival director, paid homage to the annual Cinemalaya audience and regaled the media, directors, actors, actresses, and all the people present during the press launch of the 2017 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.
Millado, who is also the vice president and artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), said: “The rainy season is upon us. There are warnings of stormy days ahead and flash floods. But these statements mean one thing. It is Cinemalaya season.”
The assembled crowd at the CCP Main Theater lobby responded with applause and roaring laughter.
“All throughout the year, we receive complaints that CCP is so inaccessible. This condition is made worse by heavy vehicular traffic. But with the followers of the annual Cinemalaya, they do not complain at all,” Millado said.
“They willing wade through floods, brave the typhoons, and go to CCP despite the weather challenges. There is something magical in Cinemalaya to pull the audience through the typhoons, rains, and floods,” Millado said.
Another round of strong applause was heard again to honor the nameless Cinemalaya fans and followers.
During the 2014 edition of Cinemalaya, it breached the 100,000 mark in terms of audience or viewership. In 2016,despite showing only short films, the audience showed up to register 70,000 viewership.
The CCP, in partnership with the Cinemalaya Foundation, presents the 13th edition of the biggest indie film festival in the country, the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, from Aug. 4 to 13, 2017, at various venues of the CCP and Ayala Cinemas.
“Since 2005, Cinemalaya has continued to discover, encourage, and support the cinematic works of upcoming and veteran Filipino filmmakers who boldly articulate and freely interpret the Philippine experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity,” Millado said.
To date, Cinemalaya has supported and promoted the production of 127 full feature independent films and 106 short films. Many of these films have won awards in local and international competitions and festivals. Through the annual festival, Cinemalaya has showcased over 1,000 works by independent filmmakers including full feature films, shorts, documentaries, Filipino film classics, and art films.
This year, following the theme “See the Big Picture,” the film festival will screen nine full-length films, namely: Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa (My Teacher Who Doesn’t Know How To Read) by Perry Escaño; Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha (The family That Doesn’t Weep) by Mes de Guzman; Baconaua by Joseph Israel Laban; Bagahe (The Baggage) by Zig Dulay; Nabubulok (The Decaying) by Sonny Calvento; Kiko Boksingero by Thop Nazareno; Requited by Nerissa Picadizo; Respeto by Treb Monteras II; and, Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig by Iar Lionel Benjamin Arondaing.
For the first time in Cinemalaya history, there will be 12 short films, instead of the usual 10, competing for the grand awards. The finalists include: Aliens Ata (Maybe Aliens) by Karl Glenn Barit; Bawod (Bent) by TM Malones; Fatima Marie Torres and the Invasion of Space Shuttle Pinas 25 by Carlo Francisco Manatad; Hilom (Still) by P.R. Patindol; Islabodan (Free Men) by Juan Carlo Tarobal; Juana and the Sacred Shores by Antonne Santiago; Lola Loleng (Grandma Loleng) by Jean Cheryl Tagyamon; Manong ng Pa-aling (Man of Pa-Aling) by E del Mundo; Maria by Jaime Habac Jr.; Nakauwi Na by Marvin Cabangunay and Jaynus Olaivar; Nakaw by Arvin Belarmino and Noel Escondo; and, Sorry For The Inconvenience by Carl Adrian Chavez.
Among the Cinemalaya mainstays are: Panoptika, the documentary section; Festivals Best, which showcases the best films from local festivals; Indie Nation, a special section featuring independent films; Asian Showcase, featuring award-winning Asian and Netpac films. There will be an “Outdoor Screening” (formerly Green Carpet Screening), as well as the best of animation in Animahenasyon and the Cinemalaya Institute showcase.
Another festival highlight is a film and exhibit retrospective focusing on legendary actress Lolita Rodriguez. Films to be screened include Lino Brocka’s Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974) and Ina, Kapatid, Anak (1979), as well as Mel Chionglo’s Lucia (1992).
This year, the festival will pay tribute to acclaimed director Gil Portes through a special screening of three of his best films: Mulanay (1996), Two Funerals (2010), and Mga Munting Tinig (2002).
With his recent passing, director Portes left notable films, three of which are Saranggola, Gatas sa Dibdib ng Kaaway, and Mga Munting Tinig. The three films were chosen as official Philippine entries for best foreign language film in the US Academy Awards. One of his last films, Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli, was the closing film in last year’s Cinemalaya.
The 29th Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, considered the longest-running independent film competition of its kind in the ASEAN region, harvests the best of the best, with films competing in various categories such as Short Feature/Narrative, Experimental, Documentary and Animation. Pre-selected entries will be screened on Aug. 5-7, 2017, at the CCP.
The Cinemalaya Campus, a major component of Cinemalaya, will also happen during the festival at the CCP Little Theater.
The Cinemalaya Awards Night is on Aug. 13, 2017 at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).
(For more information about Cinemalaya, visit www.cinemalaya.org, www.culturalcenter.gov.ph and the Cinemalaya Facebook page or CCP Media Arts at telephone number 832-1125 local 1704-1705 and the CCP Box Office at 832-3704.)