WATCH: Follow ‘The Star’ with first official trailer

Experience the first-ever Christmas from an entirely new perspective. Watch the first official trailer for Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star below.

In The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a loveable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.

The Star is directed by Timothy Reckart from the screenplay by Carlos Kotkin.

The voice cast includes Steven Yeun (Bo the donkey), Gina Rodriguez (Mary), Zachary Levi (Joseph), Keegan-Michael Key (Dave the dove), Kelly Clarkson (Leah the horse), Anthony Anderson (Zach the goat), Aidy Bryant (Ruth the sheep), Ving Rhames (Thaddeus the dog), Gabriel Iglesias (Rufus the dog), Patricia Heaton (Edith the cow), Kristin Chenoweth (Abby the Mouse), Christopher Plummer (King Herod), and Tracy Morgan (Felix), and Tyler Perry (Cyrus) and Oprah Winfrey (Deborah).

Opening across the Philippines on December 6, The Star is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.


4-minute footage from horror film ‘It’ to play in front of ‘Annabelle: Creation’

Warner Bros. Philippines has just confirmed that an exclusive four-minute footage from the upcoming horror thriller It has been attached to play before Annabelle: Creation when the latter opens in cinemas across the country on Wednesday, August 23.

The fresh footage will only be seen in theaters and won’t be officially released online.

Audiences of Annabelle: Creation are likewise advised to stay in their seats after the end-credits.

New Line Cinema’s Annabelle: Creation has David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) helming the follow up to 2014’s hugely successful Annabelle, which scared up nearly $257 million at the worldwide box office during its run in theaters. The new film is once again being produced by Peter Safran and James Wan, who also partnered so effectively on The Conjuring movies.

In Annabelle: Creation, several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

The film stars Stephanie Sigman (Spectre), Talitha Bateman (The 5th Wave), Lulu Wilson (Ouija: Origin of Evil), Philippa Coulthard (After the Dark), Grace Fulton (Badland), Lou Lou Safran (The Choice), Samara Lee (The Last Witch Hunter), Tayler Buck in her feature film debut, with Anthony LaPaglia (TV’s Without a Trace) and Miranda Otto (Showtime’s Homeland, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy).

Meanwhile, New Line Cinema’s IT is based on the hugely popular Stephen King novel of the same name, and will open in Philippine cinemas September 7, 2017.

When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.

Directed by Andrés Muschietti (Mama), IT stars Bill Skarsgård (Allegiant) as the story’s central villain, Pennywise. An ensemble of young actors also star in the film, including Jaeden Lieberher (Midnight Special), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip), Sophia Lillis (37), Finn Wolfhard (Netflix’s Stranger Things), Wyatt Oleff (Guardians of the Galaxy), Chosen Jacobs (upcoming Cops and Robbers), Jack Dylan Grazer (Tales of Halloween) and Nicholas Hamilton (Captain Fantastic).

CineFilipino 2018 bares eight full-length finalists

The finalists for CineFilipino Film Festival 2018 Feature-Length Category were announced August 17 during a press conference at Lazat Restaurant, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

The following feature films will compete under Feature-Length Category:

Delia & Sammy by Therese Cayaba
Mata Tapang by Rod Marmol
The Eternity Between Seconds by Alec Figuracion
Excuse Me Po by Ron Batallones
Poon by Roni Benaid
Hitboy by Bor Ocampo
Kahit Man Lamang Kung Maari by Donalyn Baltazar
Mga Mister ni Rosario by Ronal Allan Habon

The finalists in the Feature-Length Category shall receive a grant amounting to 2 Million Pesos. No grant will be given to Short Feature Category and Digital Content Category finalists. However, cash prizes will be given out to the finalists of the latter two categories.

From more than 140 entries, carefully chosen by the lean and mean selecting committee, festival head of competition Joey Reyes, festival director Madonna Tarrayo, Central Digital Lab’s Manet A. Dayrit, Director Hannah Espia, Director Joel Ruiz, Mr. Lilit Reyes and Philippines Daily Inquirer’s Bayani San Diego.

As for the Short Film and Digital Content Categories, the deadline of submission has been extended to September 30, 2017. 11 student finalists and 11 non-student finalists (Student Sub-Category and Open Short Feature Category respectively) will be selected. 11 finalists will also be selected for the Digital Content Category.

The 3rd CineFilipino Film Festival will run in March 2018.

DELIA & SAMMY by Therese Cayaba

An ill-tempered old actress Delia, has to find family to leave her equally difficult husband with before she dies, forcing themselves back into the lives of people they’ve hurt, estranged and antagonized.

EXCUSE ME PO by Ronald Batallones

Excuse Me Po is the story of Hilda, a 65-year-old Senior Citizen who makes a living out of begging inside and outside of the mall. She worked as an extra in the movies in the 80s. Her acting skills have become handy in turning into a con artist but all because of an ailing husband with Parkinson’s disease. Without Hilda’s knowledge, Ruel, a filmmaker has been observing her M.O. or modus operandi. Ruel approached Hilda to ask if he can turn her life into a film and she agrees. As it turns out, this had become her ticket to playing herself in the movie.

HITBOY by Bor Ocampo

At 13, Hitboy Alex is a full-time kid who plays a game of survival as part-time gun for hire.


In Avenida, the lives of 4 men intertwine, searching for something and they all find what they are looking for in one woman called Aileen.

MATA TAPANG by Rod Marmol

An absolutist soldier who lost an eye in battle opens a new “eye” that makes him see his fallen brother and accomplish their life missions.


Bea is the perfect stage wife to his method actor husband, until he gets the role of a lifetime and threatens to kill her “character”.

POON by Roni Supangan Benaid

Claudia, a religious church servant, experiences horrible things after she bought a religious image, she believes is miraculous.


A depressive motivational speaker, and an anxious Kopino meeting her Korean father for the first time, cross paths in Incheon International Airport, where, together, they attempt to elude time.

Julian Trono, Ella Cruz topbill teen romantic comedy ‘Fangirl/Fanboy’

Young dance sensations Julian Trono and Ella Cruz are having their launching movie as a loveteam via “Fangirl/Fanboy,” opening in Philippine cinemas on September 6, 2017.

A Joyce Beran production for Viva Films and N2 productions, this K-Pop-inspired romantic comedy film is the directorial debut of Barry Gonzalez.

Julian plays the role of Ollie Fernandez, a highly confident one-hit boy wonder. He admires Korean actress Soo Mi Young (played by Yam Concepcion) who in turn portrays the character of Sandy/Android 5000 in the Korean drama “Program for Love.” Ella Cruz enters the picture as Aimee, the official dubber of Soo Mi Young. Also in the supporting cast is Ronnie Liang who plays Min Jun Park, the partner of Soo Mi Young in the drama program.

The hilarious and heart-strumming twists and turns begin when Ollie meets his biggest fan, Aimee. He seeks help from her to improve his acting much to her advantage to mingle with her idol. Consequently, Aimee risks on being heartbroken as Ollie is catapulted to stardom.

Catch the newest tandem of Julian Trono and Ella Cruz in the big screen starting September 6, 2017. VIVA Films presents the refreshing story of teen-oriented romantic comedy film “Fangirl/Fanboy.”

What’s the buzz about road comedy film ‘Patay Na si Hesus?’

No one gets crucified in the new satirical comedy “Patay na si Hesus.” Well, no one or nothing except Pinoy cinema’s tired cliches, our outdated biases, predictable expectations and actors’ over-the-top performances.

The latter gets skewered by the cast’s purposely deadpan dialogue delivery – led by the effortless Jaclyn Jose – rendering punchlines funnier, the stabs more razor-sharp. Did we mention that most of the lines are in Cebuano? How more eccentric can this film get?

“Patay na si Hesus,” which opens in Philippine cinemas August 16 as part of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, is a quirky look at a family’s roadtrip from Cebu to Dumaguete, en route to the wake of its estranged father, the titular Hesus.

Jose plays Iyay, the feisty mother to a brood of three: Hubert, who has Down Syndrome; Jude, a lovesick trans man; and Jay, who is living the bum life. One unplanned detour comes after another, each pushing this family closer to confronting the past and figuring out how to enjoy the ride to an uncertain future.

In the following interview, director Victor Villanueva, screenwriter Fatrick Tabada and producer and co-writer Moira Lang, discuss what gave life to a film about death, and why audiences should take the time to attend the wake. Quick answer: Because they’ll laugh all the way.

Question: Fatrick, what motivated you to write this script? How did the story come about? Was it somehow autobiographical?

Fatrick Tabada: I wrote this for a school requirement. So the initial motivation was just to pass the course. And then I submitted it to QCinema which gave it a grant, the seed money that jumpstarted the film. I based the story on my family, so, yes, it’s semi-autobiographical. Like the family in the movie, my family had been estranged from my father for thirteen years when he died. Like them, we went to his funeral. I named Miss Jaclyn’s character after my mom – Fatima, nickname: Iyay.

Q: Please talk about the characters. They are not the usual bunch, which is refreshing. What compelled you to create them?

FT: Being exposed to people from all walks of life and coming from personal experience, I believe it is important to create on-screen representations of people that are less depicted in mainstream media, e.g., a strong-willed single mother, a person with Down syndrome, and a transman. They are so underrepresented, or portrayed negatively, and sometimes treated as objects of ridicule. But these are authentic characters with real attributes that everyone can relate to. That’s why it’s important for me to write about them because they actually reflect and present an accurate, if whimsical, picture of a contemporary family and society as a whole.

Q: Victor, what drew you to the script?

Victor Villanueva: I love the characters. Tawang-tawa ako sa script, but at the same time, I initially had my doubts if I can pull it off as this was a different kind of comedy. But I remembered the wise words of our producer, Bianca Balbuena, “If it doesn’t scare you, it’s not worth doing.” So I took the plunge.

Q: What’s it like directing Jaclyn Jose?

VV: She’s very professional, very collaborative with the cast and crew. She’s a master of deadpan acting – I think she’s an underrated comedian.

Q: Moira, was the script’s satirical tone on purpose? Did you always imagine it to be a comedy?

Moira Lang: When I read Fatrick’s first draft I laughed out loud several times. It’s irreverent bordering on iconoclastic, and that’s just my cup of tea. Strictly speaking, it’s not a comedy – the premise is not comedic: Learning of a family member’s death, a mother and her children go on a road trip to make it to that person’s funeral. It’s a drama filled with razor-sharp observations on family, that’s also a showcase of the finest deadpan acting there is, that’s also a wry commentary on the traditions we have frankly though quietly outgrown as a people, that’s also a lovingly forgiving take on human frailties. All these, combined, are what make the preview audiences react to it with laughter and tears.

Q: The film clearly brims with commentary on religious issues. Care to discuss this?

ML: A great majority of our population is Catholic, but how deep that Catholicism still runs in our veins is, I think, subject to debate. I do not question the sincerity of those who practice their faith nor belittle even the most rote displays of religious tradition. I believe, however, that when it comes down to matters of the heart, especially where it involves family, it is compassion – and not the moral judgments of religion – on which we rely instinctively, primally. I think the film succeeds in showing that. We absorbed the best part of religious teaching (love of the other) more than the bad (fire and brimstone and the fires of hell). And I think that is divine.

Now showing across Philippine cinemas,“Patay na si Hesus” is produced by T-Rex Productions and distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures.

GUIDE: Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2017

Organized by the Film Development Council, the first Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino runs from August 16 to 22 in all cinemas in the Philippines.

While regular cinema prices apply, students with valid school IDs can avail of the student rates imposed in Metro Manila (150 PHP) and in the provinces (100 PHP).

Other discounts and promos and offered here: Student rates, discounts for Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino on Aug 16-22 nationwide

Guidelines on Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2017:

  1. The festival runs from August 16 to 22 IN ALL CINEMAS NATIONWIDE. Since there are 12 movies, not all movies may be screened in one particular venue. For cinema schedules, check on the cinema you are watching in.
  2. Student discounted rate in Metro Manila is 150 PHP, and 100 PHP in the provinces. To avail of the discount, you need to personally show your valid school ID or registration form indicating that you are currently enrolled as a student. Student discount is available from August 16 to 22 only.
  3. For complaints on non-issuance of discounts, please report to the Facebook page of Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino or that of Film Development Council of the Philippines.
  4. The 4+1 Barkada Promo are available in all cinemas. This is only applicable to one particular movie at one particular screening time. This cannot be used for different movie titles and/or different screening times.
  5. No two promos may be combined. For example, student rates cannot be applied for 4+1 Barkada promo.
  6. All Senior Citizen and PWD discounts (or free admissions for senior citizens in applicable locations) will still apply as required by law. Existing promos cannot be combined with such discounts for Senior Citizens and PWDs.
  7. All promos shall only apply from August 16 to 22 in all cinemas nationwide. Promos are no longer available in the event of extension of the screenings of PPP films.
  8. Each of the 12 full-length movies are preceded by a short film (entry to Sine Kabataan), followed by trailers from the distributor (since these videos are already attached to the full-length movie).
  9. Festival passes which have perforated stubs amounting to 20 pesos for each movie are provided by the Film Development Council of the Philippines. Festival passes are NOT FOR SALE.
  10. The following are the official entries to Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino:
    • 100 Tula Para Kay Stella by Jason Paul Laxamana
    • Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B by Prime Cruz
    • AWOL by Enzo Williams
    • Bar Boys by Kip Oebanda
    • Birdshot by Mikhail Red
    • Hamog by Ralston Jover
    • Paglipay by Zig Dulay
    • Patay na si Hesus by Victor Villanueva
    • Pauwi Na by Paolo Villaluna
    • Salvage by Sherad Anthony Sanchez
    • Star Na Si Van Damme Stallone by Randolph Longjas
    • Triptiko by Miguel Franco Michelena

Each full-length film will be preceded by a short film entry of the National Youth Commission’s Sine Kabataan. Here is the complete list of pairings.

• Pahimakas by Lance Maravillas
+ 100 Tula Para Kay Stella by Jason Paul Laxamana

• Dorothy by Angelique Evangelista
+ Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B by Prime Crisologo Cruz

• Akalingwan ng Rosa by Max Canlas
+ AWOL by Enzo Williams

• Haraya by Daniel Delgado
+ Bar Boys by Kip Oebanda

• Alipato by Michael Joshua Manahan
+ Birdshot by Mikhail Red

• Makartur by Brian Spencer Reyes
+ Hamog by Ralston Jover

• Ya Right by Gab Mesina
+ Paglipay by Zig Dulay

• Delayed si Jhemerlyn Rose by Don Senoc
+ Patay na si Hesus by Victor Kaiba Villanueva

• Ang Unang Araw ng Pasukan by Ar-Jen Manlapig
+ Pauwi Na by Paolo Villaluna

• Shaded by Vanneza Clear Estanol
+ Salvage by Sherad Anthony Sanchez

• Ang Kapitbahay ko sa 2014 by Anya Zulueta
+ Star na si Van Damme Stallone by Randolph Longjas

• Fat You by Ronnel Rivera III
+ Triptiko by Miguel Franco Michelena


Director: Jason Paul Laxamana
Stars: Bela Padilla, JC Santos, Caleb Santos, Mayton Eugenio, Prince Stefan
Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

“Throughout his four years in college, Fidel, a stuttering student, tries to finish 100 poems dedicated to Stella, an aspiring but frustrated rock star, to win her heart.”



Director: Prime Cruz
Stars: Ryza Cenon, Martin del Rosario, Cholo Barretto, Vangie Labalan
Running Time: 1 hour 23 minutes

“Jewel is a mysterious woman who lives alone in the city. Her secret led her to settle into a lonely existence. That is, until she meets Nico, a broken-hearted, down-and-out guy who also feels unlovable like she does. Jewel is torn between wanting to love him and wanting to save him from herself. Will he accept her if he knew the truth about her? Can she ever find love, or is she destined to be alone forever?”


Director: Enzo Williams
Stars: Gerald Anderson, Dianne Medina, Bembol Roco
Running Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

“AWOL is an action-thriller about an expert Army sniper who, armed with his tactical knowledge and deadly skills, goes on a quest to protect his family from the man who masterminded the attempt on his life and his loved ones.”


Director: Kip Oebanda
Starring: Carlo Aquino, Rocco Nacino, Kean Cipriano, Enzo Pineda, Odette Khan
Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

“The misadventures of three young men who try their luck in the college of law. As their friendship, families, relationships and convictions are brought to breaking point, they must keep their heads and emotions together as they prepare for the big day.”


Director: Mikhail Red
Stars: Mary Joy Apostol, Arnold Cruz, John Arcilla, Ku Aquino
Running Time: 2 hours 8 minutes

“Birdshot is a mystery-thriller film that tells a story of a young Filipina farm girl who wanders into the boundaries of a Philippine reservation forest. Deep within the reservation, she mistakenly shoots and kills a critically endangered and protected Philippine Eagle. As the local authorities begin a manhunt to track down the poacher of a national bird, their investigation leads them to an even more horrific discovery.”


Director: Ralston Jover
Stars: Therese Malvar, Zaijan Jaranilla, Samuel Quintana, Bon Andrew Lentejas
Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

“Ralston Jover’s unique blend of special and magic realism takes a look at the lives of four street children whose world is about to turn upside down and inside out. Life begins where innocence ends.”


Director: Zig Dulay
Starring: Garry Cabalic, Anna Luna, Joan Dela Cruz
Running Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

“The film focuses on Atan, an Aeta from Baytan village in Zambales, who makes a living from traditional farming system 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 changing in appearance, manner of clothing, religious practice, and even the use of different language in order to associate himself with the Unat or ‘straight-haired ones.’ On his effort to accommodate himself in a modern society, Atan faces cross-cultural modifications amid changes in the mountain brought about by immense modernity.”


Director: Victor Villanueva
Starring: Jaclyn Jose, Chai Fonacier, Melde Montañez, Mailes Kanapi
Running Time: 1 hour and 39 minutes

“When Iyay, a single mother, learns that her estranged husband has died, she drags the entire family on a road trip from Cebu to Dumaguete to attend the funeral. With her children – Hubert, who has Down Syndrome; Jude, a lovesick transman; Jay, who is living the bum life – as her passengers, Iyay drives her tiny multicab on a journey that yields unexpected stopovers, detours, and revelations.”


Director: Paolo Villaluna
Stars: Bembol Roco, Cherry Pie Picache, Meryll Soriano
Running Time: 2 hours 9 minutes

“The film follows a family who decide to use pedicabs so they could “pedal” their way back to the province. A series of unfortunate events occur that will either test their determination or distract them from their journey home. ‘Pauwi Na’ is a tragic-comic portrait of a dysfunctional family and the disquieting blind faith they invoke as they dream of going home.”


Director: Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Stars: Jessy Mendiola, JC de Vera, Joel Sarracho
Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

“A news team investigating rumors of aswang killings in a remote barrio are attacked by a group of soldiers, forcing them to run for their lives in the deeps of the forest, where more mystery and danger lay in wait.”


Director: Randolph Longjas
Starring: Candy Pangilinan, Paolo Pingol, Acey Aguilar, Sarah Pagcaliwagan
Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

“Based on real-life characters and events, this tale is about Nadia, a single mom from Bocaue, Bulacan, who goes through the trials and tribulations of raising Vanvan, a child with Down Syndrome. As a mother, one is expected to give one hundred percent to her child? but when one is raising a special child, one hundred percent is never enough, you still have to give so much more. When Vanvan told his mother he wanted to become an actor, Nadia knew she had to make ends meet- and dreams come true.”


Director: Miguel Franco Michelena
Starring: Albie Casino, Joseph Marco, Kean Cipriano, Kylie Padilla
Running Time: 2 hours 19 minutes

“In Triptiko, a yuppie who just got lucky is struck by a string of unlucky circumstances; a male model’s life is upended because of evil boils appearing on his body; while a folk singer’s romantic ideals are put to the test as his beloved slowly changes into something he does not understand.”


WATCH: Trailer for ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’ calls for action

A decade after the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth brought the climate crisis into the heart of popular culture, comes the riveting and rousing follow-up, Paramount Pictures’ An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

Watch the sequel’s trailer below.

An Inconvenient Sequel will be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Trinoma & Glorietta 4) starting August 30, 2017.

Former US Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight, traveling around the world – including the Haiyan-devastated city of Tacloban, Leyte in the Philippines — training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy. Cameras follow him behind the scenes – in moments both private and public, funny and poignant — as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

T.J. Miller voices emoji with every expression in ‘The Emoji Movie’

In Textopolis, every face emoji has one expression and one expression only. But Gene doesn’t have just one expression, he has EVERY expression! He has no filter for his emotions – if he feels it, he shows it, in Sony Pictures Animation’s new comedy The Emoji Movie.

Funny, charming, awkward, and optimistic, Gene wishes he wasn’t so different. Determined to fit in and make his parents proud, he sets off on a dangerous trek through the world of the phone to change himself into a single-expression emoji. But what Gene discovers on the journey is that embracing his self-expression is the more powerful option…

The role is played by T.J. Miller (Big Hero 6, Deadpool). “This character was created with T.J. Miller in mind,” says director Tony Leondis. “He’s so ebullient, so expressive, so full of life – he can’t be held back. He’s a time bomb of energy, excitement, laughter and emotions. He wears his heart on his sleeve – he’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. He enjoys life and people – and that’s how I see Gene, a kind and expressive person.”

“Gene is a ‘meh’ emoji, which means he’s supposed to be disinterested and always have that ‘meh, who cares, I’m over it’ expression on his face all the time,” Miller explains. “But Gene doesn’t always feel meh, so he ends up with the wrong expression on his face pretty often, and this is quite scandalous in Textopolis.”

That scandal has made Gene an outsider – and worse, when a text is sent with Gene making the wrong expression, the powers that be set in motion a plan to delete him. Desperate, he joins with his friend Hi-5 – a once-popular emoji whose fame has waned – to find the notorious codebreaker Jailbreak. “Gene and Hi-5 make a deal with her,” says Miller. “She’ll help reprogram Gene and get Hi-5 into the favorite section, if they help her get past a firewall that will let her leave the phone.”

The stakes are huge for Gene, Hi-5 and Jailbreak. “On Gene’s first day of work, he chokes badly – he freaks out, he doesn’t know what to do, he sends the wrong facial expression out to the phone, and the phone’s owner, Alex, thinks that his phone is broken,” says Miller. “When they leave the Textopolis app and go into other apps, they activate those apps – Just Dance and Candy Crush start without him playing them. And that creates embarrassing situations for Alex, so he’s starts thinking he needs to get the phone wiped, and that would mean that Textopolis would be erased from existence.”

Opening across the Philippines on August 23, 2017, The Emoji Movie is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

‘Annabelle: Creation’ unveils origin of haunted doll

In New Line Cinema’s Annabelle: Creation, the mysterious doll was created out of love—a father’s love for his daughter. As a result, the filmmakers centered the foundation of Annabelle’s sinister nature on the ultimate tragedy, the loss of a child, and just how far parents would go to assuage their grief.

Director David Sandberg explains, “The Mullins are a family who went through a horrible experience, and didn’t deal with it in a good way. Instead, they let evil into their lives, and now, to atone for certain things that have happened, they make another bad decision.”

That choice is to relieve their loneliness of the past 12 years by inviting six young orphaned girls who’ve recently lost their only shelter and their guardian, a nun, to live with them. “It’s a bad idea,” Sandberg adds, “because, of course, Annabelle is there, too.”

The parents, Samuel and Esther Mullins, are played by veteran actors Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto. “To have Miranda and Anthony play the Mullins was incredible,” Sandberg states. “They are such class acts and they are always just great in everything they do.”

Sandberg wasn’t the only one pleased to have LaPaglia on board. The actor’s 13-year-old daughter was ecstatic when her dad took the job. “She has seen me working her whole life,” he says. “She’ll ask me what I’m doing, I’ll tell her, and there’s not much response. But when I told her I was doing this film, she flipped out and was like, ‘I’m telling all my friends at school, this is the greatest moment ever; you don’t know how you’ve made my life!’ I didn’t quite realize the popularity of the Annabelle character or the franchise, but it certainly made my daughter very happy. In fact, this is my first movie in the genre, but I liked it a lot.”

Otto herself confesses to being intrigued by the role in part because of her own childhood interests. “I was really into dolls when I was growing up, and I used to collect the antique ones,” she says. She also readily acknowledges that “because they’re based on something lifelike, but have no life in them, there’s something about them that’s essentially disturbing.”

Her character, Esther, would likely disagree—at least at first. “At the beginning of the story, they’re in a very happy place, Samuel and Esther. He makes beautiful dolls for children, they live in this wonderful old house and they have a beautiful daughter, Bee. They’re a very happy family.”

“I call him a master doll maker,” LaPaglia says of his character. “He makes a living making these fairly stunning dolls. Personally, I think anything that sits in a corner, has its eyes open and stares at you all the time is a little unsettling. But Samuel is a craftsman who takes pride in his work and has a great relationship with his wife and child. He and Bee have a game they play, kind of like hide-and-seek, but they use notes to give each other clues.”

But the idyllic life the Mullins live doesn’t last; their beloved Bee is lost to them in a tragic accident. “Cut to 12 years later and you have a very dysfunctional Esther and Samuel Mullins,” LaPaglia observes. “You can tell something’s amiss.”

Opening across the Philippines on August 23, Annabelle: Creation is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

WINNERS: Cinemalaya Film Festival 2017

The 13th edition of Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival capped off with the awards night held at the CCP Main Theater, August 13, Sunday.

Here is the full list of winners of Cinemalaya 2017.

Best Film: Respeto
Best Director: Joseph Israel Laban – Baconaua
NETPAC Award: Respeto
Special Jury Prize: Baconaua
Best Screenplay: Zig Dulay – Bagahe
Best Actress: Angeli Bayani – Bagahe
Best Actor: Noel Comia Jr. – Kiko Boksingero
Best Supporting Actress: Yayo Aguila – Kiko Boksingero
Best Supporting Actor: Dido Dela Paz – Respeto
Best Cinematography: (tie) Baconaua and Respeto
Best Production Design: Nabubulok
Best Editing: Respeto
Best Original Musical Score: Kiko Boksingero
Best Sound: Respeto
Audience Choice Award (Full-Length): Respeto
Best Short Film: Hilom
Best Director (Short Film): E. del Mundo – Manong ng Pa-Aling
NETPAC Award (Short Film): Aliens Ata
Special Jury Prize (Short Film): Fatima Marie Torres and the Invasion of Shuttle Pinas 25
Best Screenplay (Short Film): Bawod
Audience Choice Award (Short Film): Nakauwi Na