GUIDE: ToFarm Film Festival 2016

The 1st ToFarm Film Festival Philippines will kick off in Metro Manila for its run from July 13 to 19, 2016 at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City and SM North EDSA in Quezon City. It will then tour across the Philippines from August to October in the key cities of Pampanga, Cabanatuan, Cebu and Davao.

This film festival is made possible by Universal Harvester, Inc. executive vice president Dr. Milagros How. The festival director is the award-winning filmmaker and TV director Maryo J. delos Reyes. This year’s theme is “The Plight of the Farmer: His Trials and Triumphs.”


Regular ticket prices and discounts apply depending on the venue.

Screening Schedules

Jul 13-19: SM Megamall & SM North EDSA
Aug 24-30: SM Pampanga & SM Cabanatuan
Sep 14-20: SM Cebu
Oct 12-18: SM Davao


Opening Night

The special screening of the restored version of Manuel Silos classic Biyaya ng Lupa will open the festival at SM Megamall Cinema 7 on July 13, 7:00 PM.

The invitational gala night will be attended by heirs or next of kin of the original movie cast. Also expected to grace the gala are former LVN stars and other VIP’s.


  1. Free Range (modern drama) by Dennis Marasigan
  2. Kakampi (magic realism) by Vitor Acedillo Jr.
  3. Paglipay (love story) by Zig Dulay
  4. Pauwi Na (comedy road) by Paolo Villaluna
  5. Pilapil (suspense action) by Jose Johny Nadela
  6. Pitong Kabang Palay (drama) by Maricel Cariaga

The six feature films received a seed production grant in the amount of 1,500,000 PHP each.

Free Range

Starring: Paolo O’Hara, Jackie Rice, Mads Nicolas, Michael de Mesa, Jojit Lorenzo, Leo Rialp, Ana Feleo

Written and directed by Dennis Marasigan

Free Range is the story of Chito, son to the owners of a lodge in Coron, Palawan. Because of a shortage in eggs in the town, he gets encouraged to go into growing organic chickens. Chito undergoes training and situates the farm in a property owned by his father. Just when the business is about to take off, his father suffers a stroke. Chito is unable to be beside him right away as a storm hits Coron. Some of the bookings they have at the lodge are canceled, and 200 out of the 500 chickens they have at the farm are dead. As funds are scarce and hard to get by, a corporation offers to buy the farm from him, apparently because a mall is to be built nearby. Chito is also offered to run for a political position in exchange for him divesting in some of his businesses. Then his father dies and his wife leaves for a trip to the US where she intends to get some work. Chito decides to continue with the farm and manage the lodge at the same time, with difficulty. His perseverance pays off as the tourism business picks up and he gets regular buyers for the farm’s eggs and dressed chicken products. His mother recovers from her heartache and goes back to managing the farm, while his wife helps him find new markets for their farm products.


Starring: Neil Ryan Sese, Gloria Sevilla, Felix Roco, Suzette Ranillo, Kate Brios, Perry Dizon

Written and directed by Victor Acedillo Jr.

Kakampi is a true story of a cab driver named Ben, who takes on passenger Jun for a nostalgic ride. Ben recalls an incident that happened five years ago when he was sent to his home province Camiguin Island to perform an indigenous farming ritual that was no longer being practiced. His grandfather was supposed to have passed on the knowledge to him before the former died. The ritual is shrouded by skepticism because it is unscientific, but it teaches one great thing: To treat nature and all of life with love, humility and respect. Ben returns to the province to “save” the trees that have stopped bearing fruit. Ben attempts to recall the ritual through blurry images of himself as a seven-year-old boy. As a result, the experience turns Ben’s life from the familiar to the worried and bizarre.


Starring: JC Santos, Anna Luna, Garry Cabalic, Joan de la Cruz, Manel Sevidal, Natasha Cabrera, Norman King, Gigi Locsin, Joel Saracho, Upeng Fernandez, Ken-ken Nuyad

Written and directed by Zig Dulay

Paglipay focuses on Atan, an Aeta from Baytan village in Zambales, who makes a living from the traditional farming system called kaingin and hunting on the foothills of Mt. Pinatubo. The narrative opens as we follow Atan’s fulfillment of his arranged marriage with a fellow Aeta, Ani. He has to accomplish a number of responsibilities which includes the offering of bandi or bride price to Ani’s parents. Atan needs to cross the mountain river going to Banwa, the town where he could earn the necessary amount for the bride price. In order to find a job, he needs to adapt himself to the modern way of life in town, including change in appearance, manner of clothing, religious practice, and even the use of different languages in order to associate himself with the “unat” or “straight-haired ones,” such as Rain, a young lass from Manila who would make his life turn. Rain has to immerse with the Aetas of Banwa for her thesis, and Atan is commissioned to accompany her in researches and interviews with the locals. Atan develops special feelings with Rain in his daily encounters with her. Slowly, the young Aeta forgets the very reason of his journey—the bandi, and the arrangement with Ani. Atan faces cross-cultural modifications amid changes in the mountains brought about by immense modernity. “Paglipay” is a Sambal Ayta term used by Aetas when crossing the mountain river going to town.

Pauwi Na

Starring: Bembol Roco, Cherry Pie Picache, Meryll Soriano, Chai Fonacier, Jess Mendoza, Jack the Dog, Boots Anson Roa, Gio Alvarez, Tessie Tomas

Written and directed by Paolo Villaluna

Pauwi Na follows an ailing man, a thief, a dog, a blind pregnant woman and Jesus Christ while they go through a tragi-comic journey of self-discovery as they decide to pedal their way from Manila to Bicol. Inspired by a news article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (“Family pedals way back home to Leyte,” Sept. 7, 2003), the film follows Mang Pepe and his family as they travel from Quezon City to Bicol on pedicabs (“sikad-sikad”). Mang Pepe and his wife, Remedios, their daughter Pina, their son JP with his pregnant blind wife Isabel, and their dog Kikay, live together in a shanty at a Quezon City slum. To survive daily, Mang Pepe drives his pedicab and carry various loads to the market while Aling Remedios washes laundry for her neighbors. JP and Pina both try to earn a living and Isabel, in her blindness, sees and converses with Jesus Christ. Realizing their futile life in the city, Mang Pepe convinces the family to go back to their hometown in Bicol. Without enough transport money, they decide to use pedicabs so they could “pedal” their way back to the province. A series of unfortunate events occurs that will either test their determination or distract them from their journey home. The film is a a tragic-comic portrait of a dysfunctional family and the disquieting blind faith they invoke as they dream of going home. But, ultimately, it is not a film about family but about what it means to be part of one.


Starring James Blanco, David Remo, Pancho Magno, Diva Montelaba, Bonbon Lentejas, Orlando Sol, Rez Cortez

Written and directed by Jojo Nadela

Pilapil tells of a man who wants to escape the farm life to seek greener pastures, and a young boy who considers it his paradise. In one stroke of fate, their lives cross. Will the man learn from the boy that he need not go anywhere else? That it is his heart that needs to be cultivated just so he would go back to his roots? Will he, like the boy, love the farm and see it as the paradise that it is?

Pitong Kabang Palay

Starring: Arnold Reyes, Sue Prado, Micko Laurente, Alfonso Ynigo Delen, Precious Miel J. Espinosa

Written and directed by Maricel Cariaga

Pitong Kabang Palay is set on the rice fields of Isabela where the Dela Cruz family lives a simple, frugal life, devoid of electricity or any luxury, making ends meet by planting rice and gathering what the season offers. The young Balong dreams of graduating from school and helping his parents, as he and his siblings witness the daily struggles their parents experience. As his mother Deling and father Jaime try to find ways to feed the family while supporting their studies, Balong and his brother Lito try to compensate by studying hard and earning honors at school. Dreaming of a better life, Balong counts the sacks of rice they have left, the money they need, and the little moments that led to an inevitable departure that will leave them all affected.

Awards Night

The awarding ceremony will be held on July 20, 2016, 7:00 PM at the Rizal Ballroom, Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

Awardee of Best ToFarm Film 2016 will bag PHP 500,000 and a trophy. The second placer will win PHP 400,000 and a trophy, and the third placer will win PHP 300,000 and a trophy. Recipient of the Special Jury Award will win PHP 100,000.

Trophies will be given to the winners of the following awards: Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Child Performer, Best Screenplay, Best Musical Score, Best Production Design, Best Editing and Best Cinematography.

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