GUIDE: International Silent Film Festival Manila 2018

Now on its 12th year, the International Silent Film Festival Manila will run from August 30 to September 2 at SM Megamall. Admission is still free for the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

The International Silent Film Festival Manila (ISFFM), renowned as the first and oldest silent film festival in Southeast Asia is having its 12th installment this 2018. Founded in 2007, the festival was a unique collaborative initiative led by the Goethe Institut Philippinen together with the Japan Foundation – Manila, and the Instituto Cervantes. The festival has grown as it continues to celebrate arts and cultural heritage through international silent films with live music, scored by Filipino artists. This year, there are eight participating countries to celebrate yet another year of intercultural collaboration—- Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, U.S. and the Philippines.

ISFFM 2018 will screen eight silent films, to be live-scored by local musicians. The participating embassies and cultural institutions include: the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the Goethe Institut Philippinen, the Philippine-Italian Association, Japan Foundation-Manila, Instituto Cervantes and the Embassies of the United States of America, Austria and France.

Complete lineup of musicians to follow.

Schedule of Screenings

August 30 (Thursday)

08:00 pm ITALY – Rapsodia Satanica (Satanic Rhapsody)

August 31 (Friday)

07:00 pm PHILIPPINES – This is Not A Lost Film
09:00 pm FRANCE – La Passion de Jeanne D’Arc

September 1 (Saturday)

04:00 pm GERMANY – Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)
06:00 pm JAPAN – A Straightforward Boy
08:00 pm USA – Our Hospitality

September 2 (Sunday)

05:00 pm SPAIN – Frivolinas
07:30 pm AUSTRIA – Die kleine Veronika

Erik Matti’s ‘Buy Bust’ to open 14th Cinemalaya filmfest

Action-thriller “BuyBust” will open the 14th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival on August 3, at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater). The opening film will be screened at 7 p.m., following the opening program at 6 p.m.

Directed by Erik Matti, the film follows rookie police officer Nina Manigan who joins the anti-narcotic elite squad. Soon, two teams are deployed to conduct a buy-bust operation in the slums of Manila. Realizing that the mission is poorly executed, the anti-narcotic squad finds themselves trapped by a gang of slum settlers and needs to fight their way out to escape.

Co-produced by Reality Entertainment and Viva Films, “BuyBust” is deemed as one of the most ambitious first full-on action films in recent local cinema history. With a budget of over ₱80 million, the film employed more than 300 stuntmen and utilized over 250,000 grams of gunpowder.

Production began in 2016, with the filming lasting 56 days starting in March 2017. The film premiered on June 29, 2018 at the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) and was the festival’s closing feature film.

The film is topbilled by actress Anne Curtis who played the lead role, and MMA fighter Brandon Vera. Completing the cast are Victor Neri, Arjo Atayde, Nonie Buencamino, Lao Rodriguez, Alex Calleja, Levi Ignacio, Ricky Pascua, Joross Gamboa, Sheenly Gener, Mara Lopez, AJ Muhlach, Tarek El Tayech, Maddie Martinez, Nafa Hilario, Ian Ignacio, and Mikey Alcaraz.

The screening of “BuyBust” will be invitational, with limited tickets available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. The tickets will be distributed on August 3, starting at 2 pm, at the CCP Little Theater Lobby.

Cinemalaya, the country’s biggest indie film festival in the Philippines, will run from August 3 to 12, at various venues of the CCP and selected Ayala Mall Cinemas. It is a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc., the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Ayala Malls Cinemas. Established in 2005, the film festival aims to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers.

READ MORE: Complete Guide to Cinemalaya 2018

Following the theme “Wings of Vision,” this year’s Cinemalaya features 10 full-length films and 10 short films in the Main Competition section, vying for the major awards.

There are also the festival’s mainstays: Dokyu, the documentary section; Best of the Festivals, which showcases the best films from local festivals; Indie Nation, a special section featuring independent films; Visions of Asia, featuring award-winning Asian and NETPAC films. There will also be a showcase of the final projects of the Directing and Production Management workshops under the 4th Cinemalaya Institute.

Cinemalaya and Nespresso also partnered to bring the Nespresso Vertical Short Competition. Following the theme “Pagmamalasakit (Empathy),” the vertical shorts competition seeks to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers.

There will also be a tribute to Maryo J. Delos Reyes through a special screening of his best films “Bagets” and “Magnifico”; and to Bernardo Bernardo by showing “Manila by Night” by Ishmael Bernal. Retrospective section will feature the 2017 Cinemalaya Best Film “Respeto” by Treb Monteras, and “Baconaua” by Joseph Israel Laban who won Best Director.

On its 30th edition, the Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, considered the longest-running independent film competition of its kind in the ASEAN region, will once again harvest 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 August 4-6 at the CCP Tanghalang Manuel Conde (Dream Theater).

The Cinemalaya Campus, a major component of Cinemalaya, is slated on August 7 & 8 at the Silangan Hall. The Cinemalaya Awards Night will be held on August 12, 2018 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

For more information, visit,, or Cinemalaya Facebook page. You may also call CCP Media Arts at 832-1125 local 1704 to 1705. For ticket inquiries, call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704.

Lily James channels Meryl Streep in ‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again’

When it came to casting the part of Young Donna in Universal Pictures’ new romantic musical, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the filmmakers knew whomever they chose would have some very big overalls to fill.

Lily James, known for her astonishing work in films from Baby Driver and Cinderella to her star-making turn in Downton Abbey, takes the character to an unexpected level. “Lily embodied the spirit of Donna; she was minxy and perfect to play her,” raves producer Judy Craymer. “I know she had a long hard think before taking the role because playing a younger Meryl Streep is a challenge for any actress, but she immersed herself in the idea. This was a chance to work on a beloved musical, and Lily has a pure, beautiful voice.”

While it was of course important to the filmmaking team that their Young Donna remind audiences quite a bit of the Donna we know and love, mirror image was never crucial to the production. Producer Gary Goetzman explains just what James accomplishes: “Lily transcends whether you think she looks exactly like Meryl or doesn’t; that doesn’t matter. She brings that young Meryl character in such a strong, aggressive and beautifully acted way.” He echoes Craymer, raving: “She’s a tour-de-force, and what a singing voice. She is a fabulous actor.”

To have the support of producers and ABBA frontmen alike meant everything to James. Still, the number-one nod of approval she needed was from Donna herself. Meryl Streep shares that she was deeply moved by James’ interpretation of the character. “I knew Lily from Downton Abbey, where she plays a demure blonde with a naughty tinge to her character, and I thought, ‘She’s perfect.’ But then when I saw the film, I had no idea that she had these singing chops and was such a fantastic performer and dancer. Her spirit is what I hope Young Donna was; she really captured it.”

Streep appreciated the character study James had given Donna, and loved that the young actress had watched Mamma Mia! The Movie at least 10 times in preparation to step on set. She even had Donna’s signature hands-in-overalls move down pat. “Lily has that dancing energy in her voice,” reflects the performer. “There are some people who stand there and sing, and there are some people who sing from the bottom of their feet and shake the rafters. She’s amazing, and did a great job.”

James found the opportunity both thrilling and challenging: “This is such a huge role to take on because Donna as a character is so beloved, and Meryl Streep is the best actress of all time. I couldn’t have been more excited. The life, power and the spirit of that woman is so intoxicating. I have loved the opportunity to show who Donna was before the point that Meryl takes over, before she has her heart broken by Sam and before she was left on the island with a baby.”

James first saw Mamma Mia! in the West End when she was a child. “I loved Mamma Mia! so much when I was growing up because the music is just mind-blowing. The more you listen to it, the more you love it. You know the songs so well, but woven into this story are characters that you fall in love with—who are all so imperfect, colorful and full of life. It is an unconventional story, fun and unapologetic.”

Telling the story of Donna back when she “used to have fun,” James says of her character: “You see Young Donna as she is leaving University in Oxford. You get a real insight into her diary, following this flighty girl who wants to see the world and isn’t satisfied with the norm. She wants to break free and find herself. You see her meet these three men and the journey that ultimately makes her the Donna we all know and love.”

Naturally, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is building on the phenomenal success of the previous film, and James respects all that have come before her to make this magic. “This movie has the same feel and tone of Mamma Mia! The Movie. It has the must-have classic ABBA songs you’d expect, but also some less well known songs that are also hits. We are back on Kalokairi and the characters we fell so deeply in love with in the first movie are all back. On top of that, you get to see these characters when they were younger, and there is something heartfelt, funny and satisfying about that.”

Now playing in Philippine cinemas, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Superhero films get criticized when ‘Teen Titans GO! to the Movies’

When teeny Teen Titan Robin learns that the story of Batman’s greatest ally and best friend in the whole world is coming to the big screen, and it is not about him—and that Hollywood is making movies about every superhero but him—he declares, “It’s time they make one about me!”

But then he’s hit with the cold, hard truth: Hollywood only makes movies about real superheroes. “Why don’t they take us seriously?” the boy wonders.

Maybe because a superhero has to save more than…room for dessert?

Adapted for the big screen from Cartoon Network’s “Teen Titans GO!” to be a lot bigger, a lot longer, but as cheekily irrepressible as ever, “Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” is a superhero movie for the whole family. It is also the brainchild of the same team that generates the wildly popular half-hour series.

Director/producer Peter Rida Michail says that while the Teens—Robin, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven and Beast Boy—see themselves as superheroes, “our version of the Teen Titans are more or less outcasts from the hero world. They’re a bunch of really silly friends having a blast just hanging out more than actually fighting crime.”

Director/writer/producer Aaron Horvath believes the Teens have a pretty good gig. “I would say it’s better to be a sidekick than a hero,” he observes. “There’s probably a little more humiliation involved, but a lot less pressure—you don’t get the spotlight, but nobody’s looking at you when the timer on the doomsday clock is counting down. That’s for Batman to worry about!”

The Teens’ sub-superhero status, combined with their inherent impertinence, inspired the filmmakers to have the Titans skewer their own genre in their own genre film. Writer/producer Michael Jelenic states, “In the movie, we subvert the superhero world in a lot of ways, poking fun at all the things fans expect out of those movies and all the things we’ve seen before. So, it’s a superhero movie that’s not your typical superhero movie; it turns everything on its head, but it’s all in good fun and we stay true to ourselves, which we know is important to fans of the show.”

Putting it all together, “Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” is a toe-tapping, time-traveling, road-tripping adventure that takes our hopeful heroes from their native Jump City to the glitz and glamour of Tinsel Town.

About “Teen Titans GO! to the Movies”

When the Teen Titans go to the big screen, they go big! “Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” finds our egocentric Super Heroes in their first feature film extravaganza—a fresh, gleefully clever, kid-appropriately crass and tongue-in-cheek play on the superhero genre, complete with musical numbers.

It seems to the Teens that all the major superheroes out there are starring in their own movies—everyone but the Teen Titans, that is! But de facto leader Robin is determined to remedy the situation, and be seen as a star instead of a sidekick. If only they could get the hottest Hollywood film director to notice them. With a few madcap ideas and a song in their heart, the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town, certain to pull off their dream. But when the group is radically misdirected by a seriously Super-Villain and his maniacal plan to take over the Earth, things really go awry. The team finds their friendship and their fighting spirit failing, putting the very fate of the Teen Titans themselves on the line!

The first-ever big-screen version of DC Entertainment and Cartoon Network’s animated TV show stars Greg Cipes (TV’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) as Beast Boy, Scott Menville (TV’s “Spider-Man”) as Robin, Khary Payton (“The Walking Dead”) as Cyborg, Tara Strong (the “My Little Pony” franchise) as Raven, and Hynden Walch (TV’s “Adventure Time with Finn & Jake”) as Starfire, reprising their roles from the series.

Will Arnett (“The LEGO® Batman Movie”) and Kristen Bell (“Frozen”) also lend their voices and, in guest roles, Superman super fan and Oscar winner Nicolas Cage (“Leaving Las Vegas”) portrays the Man of Steel; singer/songwriter Halsey lends her voice to Wonder Woman; and rapper/-singer Lil’ Yachty plays Green Lantern.

“Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Eddie Garcia on his third Cinemalaya film, ‘ML’ (Martial Law)

In 2005, during the birth of Cinemalaya Film Festival, there was already an Eddie Garcia starrer among its pioneer lineup of finalists – “ICU Bed No. 7” by Rica Arevalo. Seven years later in 2012, the award-winning actor (and director) again topbilled an unforgettable Cinemalaya film, “Bwakaw” by Jun Robles Lana. In both films, the “great” Eddie Garcia grabbed the much-coveted Cinemalaya Best Actor awards.

This year (2018), another six years later, the seasoned thespian returns to the popular independent film festival in the country. His third Cinemalaya film is “ML” (short for “Martial Law”), written and directed by Benedict Mique. The film also topbills new Kapamilya actor Tony Labrusca, also with fellow newcomers Lianne Valentin and Henz Villaraiz.

ML is about three teenagers get more than what they bargained for when they learn about the dark days of Martial Law straight from an old retired soldier.

Now on its 14th year, CINEMEALAYA 2018 is slated on August 3-12 in CCP Theaters and select Ayala Cinemas (Trinoma, Glorietta, Greenbelt 1, UP Town Center, and Legazpi Cinema in Bicol).

What is his role in “ML”?

“I play a retired Metrocom Colonel with a slight dementia, that’s why I believe that currently, it’s still the era of Martial Law. So, I thought, the kids were activists.”

Does he believe that the concept of Marial Law still caters the millennials?

“I believe that the film has an intriguing concept and it’s good to be shown to today’s generation. Dapat talaga itong mapanood ng mga kabataan ngayon.

“I think the film is very timely too, so it will be good if it will be seen by the youth of today. Magugustuhan nila ito, lalo na ang mga taong hindi pa buhay nu’ng panahon ng Martial Law. Para makita nila kung ano ang nangyari.”

In a legendary status like him, how was it working with these newbies?

“Well, they were good. Everyone was disciplined. To break the ice on the set, we chat in between takes and everything went fine.

In his own opinion, does the Philippines need Martial Law?

“Well, kung ang mga tao ay wala nang disiplina, kailangan. Dapat, may latigo! Parang ‘yung role ko dito sa pelikulang ito, ako ang magdi-disiplina. Well, it’s just a role.”

Looking back, how was his personal experience during the Martial Law days?

“Kapag hindi ka makikialam, walang mangyayari sa ‘yo. Kapag nakialam ka, may mangyayari sa ‘yo.”

At his age of 89, what makes him doing films until now, especially that it’s his third in Cinemalaya?

“Well, whatever is offered to me, I accept it. It’s just a job. Ako kasi, kahit na anong i-offer, tinatanggap ko, eh. Walang masamang damo sa akin.

“There’s something in Cinemalaya, because naiiba ito kesa sa mga ordinaryong film festivals. But it’s just a job. If awards come, it’s just a bonus.”

Is there a plan to retire from the showbiz industry?

“None. As long as they need me, I’ll be there. If they don’t need me anymore, I will quit,” says the iconic Eddie Garcia.

For the record, Eddie Garcia has been in the industry for 69 years now (his first film was in 1949), has made around 600 films, and has a total of 39 awards (local and international), the only Filipino actor who’s been elevated to theFAMAS Hall of Fame (as best actor, best supporting actor, and best director), and other Lifetime Achievement Awards.

He joked that the only role that he has not done yet is to become a “leading lady.”

ML is one of the ten full-length finalists of Cinemalaya 2018, which will run on August 3-12 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and select Ayala Malls Cinemas.