GUIDE: Asia on Screen Film Festival 2016

Now on its third year, Asia on Screen Film Festival will run from September 15 to 18, 2016 at the Greenbelt 3 cinemas in Makati City.

This is made possible by Asia Society Philippines and Security Bank, together with Ayala Malls Cinemas and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.


Tickets are now available on-site at the Greenbelt 3 Cinemas or via Ticket price is 100 PHP per screening.


Festival Selections

The festival will showcase a vibrant line-up which includes Tanna (Australia), A Tale of Three Cities (China), Airlift (India), In the Absence of the Sun (Indonesia), Miss Hokusai (Japan), Frontline (Korea), The Journey (Malaysia), Above the Clouds (Philippines), Taklub (Philippines), 7 Letters (Singapore), Teacher’s Diary (Thailand), Heart Attack (Thailand), and On the Peaceful Peak (Vietnam).

Asia on Screen Film Festival will kick off with a Directors’ Dialogue with Philippine director, Pepe Diokno (Above the Clouds) and Thai director, Nithiwat Tharatorn (Teacher’s Diary). The dialogue will focus on the opportunities and challenges in Southeast Asian film markets, specifically in the Philippines and Thailand, and will delve into the directors’ personal journeys. This free forum will be on September 15, 10AM-12NN at the Asian Institute of Management.

This year, the film fest opens with Above the Clouds. Capturing the breath-taking highlands of the Ifugao region, the film is an emotional journey towards transformation and deliverance.

Other entries explore socio-political topics through significant human experiences. Taklub, a Brillante Mendoza film, documents a family’s struggles from the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda that ripped through the city of Tacloban. Australia’s multi-award winning film, Tanna, is based on a true story on tribal issues, performed by the people of Yakel in Vanuatu. Korean film, Front Line, narrates the relationship between the North and the South through prisoners of war.

7 Letters

September 16 (Friday) – 5:00 PM

Genre: Drama
Rating: PG
Cast: Faizal Abdullah, Aric Hidir Amin, Fatin Amira, Lydia Look, Nadia m Din
Running Time: 116 min.

7 Letters represents seven heartfelt ‘love letters’ to Singapore, capturing each of the directors’ personal and poignant connection with the place they call home. The seven stories tell of our heartland and its people through tales of lost love, identity, inter-generational familial bonds and tensions, unlikely neighbors, and even references to traditional folklore.

Above the Clouds

September 15 – 5:00 PM
September 18 – 2:30 PM

Genre: Drama
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Ruru Madrid, Pepe Smith
Running Time: 90 min.

A 15-year-old boy goes on a hiking trip with his estranged grandfather, and overcomes the grief of losing his parents on a mountain above the clouds.


September 18 – 10:00 PM

Genre: Action
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Nimrat Kaur, Akshay Kumar, Purab Kohli
Running Time: 130 min.

Ranjit Katiyal, a ruthless Indian businessman, leads a happy and successful life in Kuwait with his family. He has just struck a deal with the Emir of Kuwait. Soon, Iraq invades Kuwait and Ranjit finds himself playing the role of a Rescuer flitting between Kuwait, Iraq and Jordan managing help from wherever it comes, risking his and his family’s life.

Heart Attack

September 17 – 10:00 PM

Genre: Romance/Drama
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Sunny Suwanmethanon, Davika Hoorne, Violette Wautier
Running Time: 130 min.

Yoon is the busiest 30-year-old freelance graphic designer in Thailand. After staying up working for 5 days straight, strange rashes appears all over his body. He meets Doctor Imm at a public hospital and falls in love with her. Will Doctor Imm be able to diagnose Yoon’s syndrome before his heart condition gets worse?

Miss Hokusai

September 17 – 7:30 PM

Genre: Animation/Biography/Drama
Rating: PG
Cast: Kumiko Asô, Gaku Hamada, Kengo Kôra
Running Time: 93 min.

It’s 1814 and the city of Edo is one of the most populated homes of peasants, samurai, townsmen, merchants, nobles, artists, courtesans, and maybe even supernatural beings. Two residents are the highly accomplished artist Tetsuzo and his talented 23-year-old daughter O-Ei. Tetsuo gains worldwide acclaim as Katsushika Hokusai, but few would know “Miss Hokusai,” the daughter who assisted him uncredited.

On the Peaceful Peak

September 18 – 5:00 PM

Genre: Drama
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Nguyen Thanh Binh, Minh Thao
Running Time: 105 min.

Film tells story of a traditional ceramic village in Ninh Thuan province. The artist, the lads and girls of Cham minority who have been experienced many ups and downs, realize that they can not live forever in poverty. Yet, along with the changes to develop, they must respect and conserve the cultural quintessence of Cham minority.


September 15 – 10:00 PM

Genre: Drama
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Nora Aunor, Julio Diaz, Aaron Rivera
Running Time: 140 min.

After the Super typhoon Haiyan, which changed the city of Tacloban in the Philippines into its horrendous state, the lives of Bebeth, Larry and Erwin intertwine. The survivors are left to search for the dead, while keeping their sanity intact, and protecting what little faith there may be left.

Tale of Three Cities

September 16 – 12:00 PM
September 18 – 7:30 PM

Genre: Drama
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Tang Wei, Sean Lau, Boran Jing, Qin Hailu, Huang Ju
Running Time: 130 min.

Yuerong is a young widow who is forced to peddle opium in order to support her two little daughters. Daolong is a handsome officer at a river checkpoint. When Daolong becomes the target of both the Nationalists and the Communists, the couple is forced to escape across a country devastated by famine and war.


September 15 – 12:00 PM
September 17 – 2:30 PM

Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Marie Wawa, Mungau Dain
Running Time: 100 min.

In a traditional tribal society in the South Pacific, a young girl, Wawa, falls in love with her chief’s grandson, Dain. When an inter tribal war escalates, Wawa is unknowingly betrothed as part of a peace deal. The young lovers run away, refusing her arranged fate. They must choose between their hearts and the future of the tribe.

Teacher’s Diary

September 15 – 2:30 PM
September 18 – 12:00 PM

Genre: Romance/Comedy
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Chaowwiwatkul,Supalerk Ningsanond
Running Time: 120 min.

Song, a former professional wrestler, finds a new job as a teacher at a primary school located on a floating community surrounded by mountains. He discovers a former teacher’s diary and falls in love with the unacquainted writer. Will these two teachers finally meet?

The Front Line

September 16 – 7:30 PM

Genre: Drama/History
Rating: MTRCB rating not yet available
Cast: Shin Ha-kyun, Lee Je-hoon, Go Soo, Kim Ok-bin
Running Time: 133 min.

Early in the Korean War in 1950 as the North is rolling through South Korea, South Korean privates Eun-pyo and Soo-hyeok are captured during a battle and brought to North Korean captain Jung-yoon. Afterwards he lets the prisoners go free, so that they can help reconstruct the nation after the war.

The Journey

September 17 – 5:00 PM

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Family
Rating: PG
Cast: Sai Peng Lee, Ben Pfeiffer, Joanne Yew
Running Time: 110 min.

Bee comes home to Malaysia after graduating abroad and brings back her foreign fiancé Benji. Her father, Uncle Chuan, vigorously opposed the marriage due to Ben’s frivolous behavior but he failed to change his daughter’s mind. In the end, Uncle Chuan agrees to the marriage with the condition that the wedding adheres to Chinese tradition.

South Korean zombie apocalypse film ‘Train to Busan’ gets release date in PH

You want it, you got it! The hit Korean Zombie movie “Train To Busan” is officially coming Philippine cinemas on September 1, 2016! 80 cinemas confirmed as of August 19, 2016.


Seok-Woo (Gong Yoo) is a fund manager in Seoul. He is separated from his wife and lives with his daughter Soo-An (Kim Soo-Ahn). Seok-Woo doesn’t spend much time with his daughter or show affection to her. On the night before Soo-An’s birthday, Soo-An insists on seeing her mother for her birthday. Seok-Woo has no other choice, but to take her to Busan. Early the next morning, they board the KTX train for Busan at Seoul Station.

Before the KTX train leaves Seoul Station, a zombie like girl jumps onto the train. The girl is infected with a horrific virus that is spreading like wildfire. Seok-Woo, Soo-An and the other passengers on the KTX train must now fight for their lives.

Filming began April 26, 2015 and was finished August 19, 2015. Starring Gong Yoo, popularly known from the hit Korean TV Series “The Coffee Prince.” The film premiered in the Midnight Screenings section at the Cannes Film Festival 2016 on May 13. On August 7, the film set a record as the first Korean film of 2016 to break the audience record with over 10 million moviegoers.

This is director Yeon Sang-ho’s first live-action film which is a sequel to his animated film titled“Seoul Station.” The events in Seoul Station takes place one day prior to the events in Train to Busan.

Because of its Hollywood-like appeal, “Busanhaeng” or “Train To Busan” has already been released outside South Korea after its opening on July 20, reaching the United States of America, Canada, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, France, Hongkong, Germany, Indonesia, Taiwan, Argentina and Chile. Train to Busan is the first Korean film to gross $1 million in Singapore. Its worldwide gross as of August 1, 2016 is US $80,201,768.

1 Train to Busan

“Train to Busan” opens September 1, 2016 in Philippine cinemas from Red Peter Film and Next Entertainment World, locally distributed by Rafaella Films.

Casting talented cats as Mr. Fuzzypants in ‘Nine Lives’

From Barry Sonnenfeld, director of classic hits “Men in Black,” “The Addams Family,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “Big” comes his latest family movie event “Nine Lives” starring award-winning actors Kevin Spacey, Christopher Walken and Jennifer Garner along with Robbie Ammell and Malina Weissman.

“Nine Lives” follows the exciting life of Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey), an undeniably successful, impossibly wealthy, but unapologetic jerk. Striving to build the tallest skyscraper in the Northern Hemisphere, the daredevil billionaire will sacrifice anything — even the love of his family — to complete an architectural marvel nearly as gargantuan as his ego. Tom’s workaholic lifestyle has alienated his long-suffering family, including his devoted wife Lara (Jennifer Garner), neglected adult son David (Robbie Amell) and starved-for-attention young daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman). When Rebecca’s 11th birthday arrives, the girl begs her father for the same present she asks for every year: a cat. Tom hates cats, but reluctantly finds himself in a magical pet shop owned by the quirky Felix Perkins (Christopher Walken). The peculiar proprietor knows exactly what Brand needs — and its name is Mr. Fuzzypants.

After suffering a fateful accident on the way to Rebecca’s birthday party, a horrified Tom discovers that while his human form is lying comatose in a hospital bed, he is watching events unfold from inside the body of the cat. Trapped inside Mr. Fuzzypants and trying desperately to make his loved ones aware of his situation, he soon realizes that if he is ever to earn back his human existence, he must reconnect with his family and become the husband and father they deserve.

Visual effects supervisor Craig Hayes, who was given the daunting task of blending the film’s real-life felines with its computer-generated ones says that there’s nothing funnier than real cats. Mr. Fuzzypants is actually played by six different cats, each trained to perform a different set of tasks. The cast of animal actors was overseen by a pair of professional trainers who have a long history with Sonnenfeld. “Barry’s worked with Janine Aines and Christie Miele for a number of shows, including the three Men in Black films,” explains Hayes.

The trainers found their lead actor in Gene, a veteran show cat who has traveled the world. “Gene is the dramatic star who did all the sitting and staying and looking around,” explains Miele, “while Connery is the main action cat who attacked, retrieved, climbed a tower and was chased. Another cat, Yuri, danced with Tom’s daughter Rebecca, as well as helping out as an all-around stand-in.”

Constant food rewards worked like a charm when it came to getting the cats to perform action scenes like the one in which Mr. Fuzzypants runs away with Lara’s car keys. “Keeping the cats focused required desensitizing them to their surroundings, such as sudden movements and sounds,” explains the trainer.

Sonnenfeld says he is immensely pleased with the way the film turned out, despite once again contradicting one of Hollywood’s oldest tropes. “They say never work with animals or kids, and somehow, I’ve managed to make a living doing both. I think audiences will really like seeing it.”

“Nine Lives” opens August 17, 2016 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.

Jonah Hill, Miles Teller take on the U.S. army in ‘War Dogs’

It might have been one of the biggest hustles ever… and it could only happen in America.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ new comedic drama “War Dogs” grew out of the story of two stoner kids, barely into their 20s, who became multi-millionaires as the most improbable of international arms dealers. But just as they reached what should have been the pinnacle of success, it all came crashing down in spectacular fashion.

One of the unifying themes of filmmaker Todd Phillips’ movies is people making bad decisions. Whether it’s a few post-college guys starting their own frat house or four friends planning an ill-fated bachelor party in Vegas, there are always repercussions that are outrageous and completely unexpected. Bad decisions are again at the center of “War Dogs,” but there is an edge to the humor, born of the fact that the film is based on a true story of a couple of guys who managed to turn a little-known government initiative on its ear…to the tune of $300 million dollars.

Phillips offers, “I always think movies have a little more gravity to them when you can take real events and build on them. It’s a movie about the rise and fall of two young guys, chasing their image of the ‘American dream,’ who got a little too greedy. And, you know, a little bit of greed gets in the way of good decision making.”

It all started during the George W. Bush administration when huge no-bid contracts to supply the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were being awarded to conglomerates like Halliburton, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. As criticism of the perceived cronyism and war-profiteering grew, the government decided to level the playing field with FedBizOpps (short for Federal Business Operations), which opened the bidding on military contracts to…well…virtually anyone. Unfortunately, there were just enough loopholes to make it possible to take advantage of the system.

The tale was chronicled in a 2011 Rolling Stone article called “Arms and the Dudes,” by Guy Lawson. “The Bush administration was trying to favor small businesses,” Lawson expands, “and no business was smaller than these dudes, sitting in a studio apartment in Miami Beach with nothing but a bong on the table, a laptop and a cell phone.”

Producer Mark Gordon recounts, “I was on a plane when I first read the story in Rolling Stone, and I couldn’t believe it was true. Everything about it cried out to be made into a movie. I’ve always found that audiences love films about characters who beat the system, even if they ultimately get their comeuppance, one way or another. Add in the fact that these two seemed the most unlikely people to pull off this kind of hustle, and you have something really special.”

Gordon adds that Phillips was the perfect director to bring the tale to the big screen. He states, “There is no one better than Todd to tell a story about outrageous characters getting into all kinds of trouble. He’s the master.”

“War Dogs” also marks the first film on which Phillips and Bradley Cooper (who also stars in the film) teamed as producers under the banner of their new production entity, Joint Effort. Cooper relates, “I was very interested to see how Todd was going to take the article and realize it cinematically. I loved the idea of a film about what these guys did, knowing it would be spawned from Todd’s brain.”

The tale’s driving force was always money. Phillips confirms, “It’s very clear in the movie: they are not necessarily pro-war. It’s not about who’s fighting or why they’re fighting, it’s about how much product can they move. So war is really just an opportunity for them. And that’s a true thing. War is an economy. There is an underbelly to it where a lot of people make a lot of money and these two guys are just trying to get in on that.”

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “War Dogs” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.