2017 TOFARM filmfest, songwriting tilt finalists announced

TOFARM ushers 2017 with two grand events that celebrate the lives of farmers in a non-conventional yet highly artistic way.

The 2nd TOFARM Film Festival is set to light up the silver screen once more with a new batch of entries. Following its successful debut in July 2016, this year’s edition of the TOFARM Film Festival promises to be another bountiful harvest of cinematic excellence.

The following are the finalists of TOFARM Film Festival 2017:

BAKLAD by Topel Lee
HIGH TIDE by Tara Illenberger
INSTALADO by Jason Paul Laxamana
KAMUNGGAY by Vic Acedillo Jr
SINANDOMENG by Byron Bryant
WHAT HOME FEELS LIKE by Joseph Abello

A seventh entry is likely to be added once the selection committee has finalized this inclusion.

“We were overwhelmed with the turnout of last year’s festival,” says Festival Director Maryo J. De Los Reyes. “The festival was warmly received by the movie industry, and a lot of independent producers and directors expressed their interest to join this year.”

He also notes that the number of script submitted doubled this year.

“This only proves that filmmakers are tremendously interested to participate in a festival that revolves around the farming industry and, at the same time, provides a venue for them to showcase their craft,” adds the award-winning television and film director.

With this year’s theme “Planting the Seeds of Change,” a total of six films were chosen to be this year’s official entries.

Music from the Farm

In addition to the film festival, TOFARM also announces the list of entries that qualified for the first ever TOFARM Songwriting Competition.

Launched in May 2016, the competition is open to both amateur and professional songwriters whose task is to come up with an original composition about agriculture, with the central theme “Planting the Seeds of Change.”

Noted musical director Ria Villena-Osorio is at the helm of the competition, together with the selection panel composed of Josefino Chino Toledo, Luchie Roque, Olivier Ochanine and Jed Balsamo.

“I am excited to work on this new project under TOFARM. This is the first time I will be heading a competition that celebrates farmers and farming,” Osorio enthuses.

Again with this year’s theme “Planting the Seeds of Change,” a total of ten songs were chosen to be this year’s official entries.

The finals night is slated on April 9 at the Samsung Hall in SM Aura Premier.

A Patron of the Arts

Both TOFARM Film Festival and Songwriting Competition are under the patronage of Dr. Milagros O. How, TOFARM Chief Advocate and Executive Vice-President of Universal Harvester, Inc. Her vision is to give due recognition to the selfless contribution of farmers to the nation.

“Our farmers have been diligently working in the field to make sure we all have food on our tables. It is high time that we celebrate their hard work through popular media so that more people can appreciate their valuable roles in our lives,” explains Dr. How.

Aside from these undertakings, TOFARM is also behind the Search and Award for Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines, an internationally acclaied award-giving body that recognizes the achievements of farmers, fisherfolk, livestock raisers, cooperatives, and local government units in the advancement of the agricultural sector.

“We are greatly indebted to our farmers, and we at TOFARM can only do so much to make them feel that all their efforts are sincerely appreciated,” says Dr. How.

Keanu Reeves reloads guns, ammo in ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’

Keanu Reeves suits up and reloads as the legendary and untouchable assassin in “John Wick: Chapter 2” following the 2014 hit of the same title.

Guns and ammos are relit in the high-octane action “John Wick: Chapter 2” where John Wick is brought back from retirement the second time. After unleashing mayhem on the criminals who killed his dog, retired super assassin John Wick retrieves his beloved 1969 Mustang from the Russian mobsters who stole it, only to be pursued in a spectacular high-speed car chase through crowded New York City streets. Returning home, John’s plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) shows up on his doorstep with a gold “marker” compelling him to repay past favors. Ordered by Winston (Ian McShane), kingpin of secret assassin society The Continental, to respect the organization’s ancient code, John reluctantly accepts the assignment to take out Santino’s own sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini), the ruthless capo atop the Italian Camorra crime syndicate.

Reeves says creating the sequel was a deeply collaborative effort. “John Wick: Chapter 2 started from a script by Derek Kolstad, the writer of the first and second films. Producer Basil Iwanyk, Chad and myself had conversations about what direction we would like the story to go, both before Derek started to write and after he came in with the draft.”

The story of “John Wick: Chapter 2” is the journey of a complicated hit man struggling to protect the kinder, gentler self he embraced after retiring from the business, but unable to do so because of a debt he has accrued. “John Wick has given a marker to this character Santino, played by Riccardo Scamarcio,” Reeves explains. “According to the rules, if the bearer of the marker comes to you and wants to cash it in and you don’t do what they want, you die. If you kill the bearer of your marker, you die. So John has a problem.”

A man of few words, Wick flips back and forth between two states of mind. “When John Wick fell in love, he was like, ‘I have to stop killing people,’ but when his old life comes back at him, he becomes like the Superman of compartmentalization. In the assassin persona, he doesn’t feel remorse. The difference is that John Wick used to fight for other people. And now John Wick is fighting for his own independence.”

A must-see action film in theatres starting February 8, 2017, “John Wick: Chapter 2” is released and distributed by Pioneer Films.