QCinema reveals eight Circle Competition 2016 finalists

Quezon City International Film Festival (QCinema) has announced the list of eight new movies that will be featured in this year’s Circle Competition to be held in October.

The following new films will be on display in the film festival:

  1. Ang Lubong ni Hesus” written by Fatrick Tabada and directed by Victor Villanueva;
  2. Ang Manananggal sa Unit 22B” written by Jen Chuaunsu and directed by Prime Cruz;
  3. Baboy Halas” directed by Bagane Fiola;
  4. Best. Partee. Ever.” directed by HF Yambao;
  5. Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus” by Dwein Baltazar;
  6. Hinulid” by Kristian Cordero;
  7. Purgatoryo” directed by Roderick Cabrido; and
  8. Women of the Weeping River” by Sheron Dayoc.

The selection process was facilitated by the Quezon City Film Development Commission (QCFDC), an organization formed by Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte to promulgate arts and culture in Quezon City.

The homegrown filmmaking talents will be given a grant amounting to a total of 1 million pesos. All rights will be owned by the filmmakers themselves.

Circle Competition Movie Lineup

Ang Lubong ni Hesus” is a Cebuano comedy-drama road film by award-winning Filipino film director Victor Louie Villanueva. The movie shows how the status quo of a dysfunctional and emotionally bankrupted family headed by Isay, a single mother, takes a wild turn upon receiving word that her ex-husband, Hesus, has already passed away.

In “Ang Manananggal sa Unit 22B”, powerhouse couple writer Jen Chuaunsu and director Prime Cruz show the struggles of Jewel, a manananggal (creature who separates from its  lower body and becomes a winged monster at night) who falls in love with a broken-hearted man. Can Jewel find true love or is she destined to live alone forever?

Baboy Halas”, a piece directed by Bagane Fiola, melds reality and fantasy together. Set in a mountain in Bukidnon, the movie follows the life of a hunter who transforms into a boar after plunging into the Enchanted River to pursue an Enchanted Nymph, masquerading as a white pig.

In the “Best. Partee. Ever.”, first-time indie filmmaker HF Yambao narrates city jail goings-on through the eyes of Mikey, a young, discreet gay man from the affluent class who spends five years in a city jail while hearing his case for drug pushing. Mikey eventually finds himself as the ringleader of a group of gay inmates called “Gang-da” and together they survive the dangers lurking behind prison bars.

Gusto Kita With All my Hypothalamus” by Dwein Baltazar takes the narrative to Avenida Rizal the once “downtown” of Manila, where the fates of four men intertwine: A pickpocket, a widowed old man, a university student, and a thrift shop employee, all connected by a mysterious beauty named Aileen.

In “Hinulid”, director Kristian Cordero trails behind a woman who travels to Cagbunga, Camarines Sur while carrying the ashes of her only son. She rides an old train that circles her universe like the tandayag, the primordial serpent known in the Tagalog and Bicol region.

Purgatoryo” directed by Roderick Cabrido, tells the story of Ilyong, a man recently killed by the police after he was caught stealing. His death signaled the start of a story that showed the complex relationship of a gambling lord, a policeman, a funeral parlor owner, and her two helpers.

Internationally renowned filmmaker Sheron Dayoc showed his prowess in “Women of the Weeping River”, a film project that has received international development grants and a production grant. Satra, a widow living in the southern Mindanao, forms a relationship with an aging village woman named Farida to help her in holding peace talks with a rival family.

Hyper-kinetic action movie ‘Hardcore Henry’ shot on GoPro cameras

Prepare for a mind-blowing immersive cinematic encounter in “Hardcore Henry” as it gives the audience a chance to experience the entire film through the point-of-view of its main character (cyborg) named Henry.

First time director Ilya Naishuller helms “Hardcore Henry” wherein Henry remembers nothing and his wife Estelle (played by Haley Bennett) has been kidnapped by an extremely powerful warlord with an army of mercenaries. The line between hero and villain in “Hardcore Henry” is tenuous as he tries to follow and uncover the devious plot against him within the city of Moscow. The audience – Henry, essentially – assesses in real time just who is friend and who is foe.

Shot almost entirely on GoPro cameras with custom engineered rigs, “Hardcore Henry” completely abandons, even eviscerates, traditional filmmaking and replaces it with a raw and immediate experience, allowing the audience to become one with the protagonist, so viewers go on a very personal and breathtaking journey with Henry. Wide-angle GoPro cameras, commonly used by sports fans and professionals to film their exploits, were used for the first-person style.

“Action cinema has always thrived when it captured the sensation of participating in dangerous situations that most people would much rather avoid in real life. The goal with ‘Hardcore Henry’ was to push it a step further, to put the audience right into the body of the protagonist, to have them experience the primal, exhilarating feeling that we usually view from a much safer distance,” says Naishuller.

Naishuller’s creativity, commitment and talent also impressed Bennett. “Even though this was Ilya’s first film, he knew exactly what he wanted and made me excited about helping him to fulfill his vision. He’s an incredibly dedicated artist,” Bennett says.

To take the concept from a short to a feature film, Naishuller and his team conducted hundreds of stabilization tests with GoPro rigs – there had to be enough balance between the hyper kinetic scenes and the more static (relatively speaking) portions. Achieving that balance required a fair amount of R&D, trial and error and blind faith but the payoff was worth it. “A big part of the pre-production process included the creation of magnetic stabilization rigs which allowed the team to mount the cameras on helmets and keep the picture comfortable for the audience,” editor Vlad Kaptur says.

“GoPro gave us access to some proprietary software that allowed for exposure control that they’ve since incorporated into the latest generation of their cameras. We were also expecting to break quite a few cameras, but during my shooting block we only busted two or three. We had about a dozen GoPro HERO3 Black Editions that GoPro provided us with. During one of the breaks from the shooting, GoPro released the HERO 3+ but we decided to keep using the original HERO3 to keep the picture consistent,” Naishuller adds.

“The camera rig was the most important piece of tech in getting the film to look and feel right. We hired an engineer friend of mine, Vladimir Kotihov, who was oddly enough, an American football player and knew a thing or two about helmets. We spent a long time designing and redesigning the helmet while simultaneously designing the stabilization system. It was magnet based and we went through about five or six prototypes. The first one looked like a medieval torture device before we got it where we needed it – something that provided good stabilization, light enough to not put too much pressure on the wearer and strong enough to withstand hits and general damage during the heavy-duty shoot. The final touch was attaching a Teradek transmitter and a zoom mic on it,” Kaptur recalls.

“Hardcore Henry” opens May 4, 2016 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.