LINEUP: QCinema Int’l Film Festival 2020

QCinema International Film Festival stages a hybrid festival with an edgy line-up for its special edition for 2020.   

Known for its well curated films in this side of Southeast Asia, QCinema Special Edition returns with a slate that will either be streamed online or physically screened with a limited audience. It will take place from November 27 to December 5, 2020.

“Like many other film festivals around the world, we’ve had to adapt to the unprecedented challenges of 2020.  Factoring in safety concerns and restrictions, we’ve decided to follow the global trend of staging a hybrid film festival,” says Ed Lejano, festival director.

The festival’s socially-distanced and by-invitation-only screenings will be held on its opening day, November 27 and on November 28 at an outdoor venue in Quezon City.  

For its opening, QCinema will screen the monochromatic version of Parasite, the 2019 winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars. The black and white version of Parasite by Bong Joon-ho was first released at the Rotterdam Film Festival last January.

QCinema will also have a ceremonial turnover of the COVID-19 assistance grant it is giving to the Inter-Guild Alliance and will announce the winners of its COVID Completion Grant at the opening. The COVID Completion Grant is for chosen independent films forced to halt production and post-production during the pandemic lockdown 

Winners of its QCShort Shorts Competition will also be announced in the said event.

On November 28, it will present to a limited number of viewers Identifying Features by Fernande Valadez and Death of Nintendo by Raya Martin.

Identifying Features won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival 2020. It also won in the same festival the best screenplay.  Death of Nintendo is the coming of age tale which had its world premiere at Berlinale 2020. 


After the screening, QCinema will host the book launch of Philippine Cinema by Gaspar Vibal and Dennis Villegas and edited by Teddy Co.

The festival’s online screening will be released nationwide through UPSTREAM, the newly launched online Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) streaming platform. Tickets may be purchased from the country’s largest aggregator for online cinema ticketing, GMovies. Tickets are priced at 200 pesos per screening of a movie, which can be viewed within 48 hours after purchase.

Highlighting its online festival are four QCinema greats.

QCinema 2019, 2018, and 2017 best picture winners stage a comeback.  These are Cleaners by Glenn Barit; Oda sa Wala by Dwein Baltazar; and Balangiga Howling Wilderness by Khavn.  The fourth is the big winner at the recent Urian award, Babae at Baril by Rae Red. 

The program also includes special sections.

The Asian Special Edition includes the only PH entry at the 2020 Venice Film Festival and Malaysia’s entry to the 93rd Academy Awards. 

Genus, Pan by Lav Diaz is a look at how much human beings are like animals.  The film won for Lav Diaz the best director award in the 2020 Venice Film FestivalRoh is a 2019 Malaysian Malay-language indie arthouse horror film by Emir Ezwan. 

Two feature films will be shown under New Horizons, QCinema’s program that puts the spotlight on first and second-time filmmakers who are receiving accolades from the international film festival circuit.

Song Without a Name is a 2019 Peruvian drama film directed by Melina León. It was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It is also the Peruvian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards.

Rom by Tran Thanh Huy, the first Vietnamese film to receive the New Current Awards at the 24th Busan International Film Festival, is also in the New Horizons section. 

Films under QCinema’s much-lauded and much-anticipated sections are also in the line-up.

This year’s RainbowQC section includes End of the Century and Suksuk.

End of the Century is an Argentine romantic drama film, directed by Lucio Castro and released in 2019.  Suksuk is a 2019 award-winning and critically acclaimed Hong Kong drama film about two secretly homosexual married men in their twilight years.  This film by Ray Yeung premiered at the 24th Busan International Film Festival. 

Lastly, Screen International section features three films that earned widespread acclaim in different film festivals.

The first film is a Brazilian drama screened in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Divine Love by Gabriel Mascaro. 

A 2020 Cannes Film Festival selection, True Mothers, a Japanese drama film by Naomi Kawase is also in QCinema’s Screen International.  This is Japan’s entry at the 93rd Academy Awards. 

The third, Corpus Christi is a Polish film by Mateusz Pacewicz, which premiered at the 2019 Venice Film Festival and is the Polish entry in the 92nd Academy Award.

QCinemas Special Edition 2020 will include online talks on the new filmscape and free screenings of QCinema 2016, 2017, and 2019 shorts.

The film festival is supported by Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Outpost, Viva Communications, Inc., Treasury Wine Estates, Beringer Wine, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Megamobile, Inquirer.net, Clickthecity.com, Cinema Bravo, Cinema Bravo PH, Film Geek Guy, Film Police Reviews, Pelikula Mania, Blog-ph.com, Lakwatsera Lovers, and WheninManila.com.

More about the festival are at qcinema.ph.

QCinema Int’l Film Fest 2020 goes online, runs Nov 27-Dec 6

The shift to the new normal begins for QCinema International Film Festival. Regarded as one of the leading international film festivals in Southeast Asia, QCinema is the flagship project of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte aimed at pushing forward Quezon City‘s brand as the film capital of the country.   

The challenges of the past year have led QCinema to reinvent their festival format into a QCinema Special Edition 2020. Aptly titled QCinema: A New Filmscape, this year’s festival is slated to run from November 27 to December 6, 2020.    

“As a universal art form, cinema connects us all through stories about compassion, love, forgiveness, human goodness, faith, hope, and destiny. We are not daunted, but we embrace this new filmscape” says Mayor Joy Belmonte. 

The QCinema 2020 lineup will be released nationwide through Upstream, the newly launched online Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) streaming platform, and tickets may be purchased from the country’s largest aggregator for online cinema ticketing, GMovies.

The partnership between Upstream and GMovies will allow anyone in the Philippines to access QCinema’s 2020 films anytime. This is a leap in its coverage as previous QCinemas were confined only to Metro Manila venues and theaters.

“This period of vast isolation has presented an opportunity for QCinema to reach out to more audiences from across the country. For our special #QCinema2020 edition, we will adapt, explore and take on new forms,” says QCinema festival director Ed Lejano.

This year’s program will be a mix of foreign and local films. Included in the streaming line-up are past QCinema #AsianNextWave and Circle Competition grantees.

QCinema is known for its unique grants that give full ownership to the filmmakers.  Earlier this year though, the festival announced the cancellation of its grants for 2019 – the Asian Next Wave and the QCShorts grants, in consideration of the filmmakers’ safety and wellbeing.   

Aside from the streaming of its films, the film festival will also host a variety of online and offline events.

Prior to the 10-day event, QCinema will stream for free its past #QCShorts grantees on its social media accounts and website (QCinema.ph). 

“QCinema has been my favorite local film festival since its inception, bringing together unflinchingly original filmmakers from around the globe like Yorgos Lanthimos and Gaspar Noe and pairing them with brave new Filipino voices like Dwein Baltazar and Timmy Harn. By making the entries accessible on Upstream in partnership with GMovies, these contemporary classics can now be viewed by the whole nation,” said Globe Studios Head, Quark Henares. 

During the festival proper, the festival will host a gathering to give grants to Inter-Guild Alliance and select independent films, the production of which were halted because of the pandemic.  It will also award six short films that present the lighter side of quarantine. 

Aside from these, there will also be talks on the new filmscape.

UFC Reel Life short film tilt to reward over P225,000 prizes

To celebrate its 50th year as part of every Filipino’s essential home cooking experience, UFC is hosting its first-ever UFC Reel Life: Nagsasama-samang Sarap Short Film Competition. The event will serve to shine a light on the prodigious talents of local filmmakers in creating inspiring and meaningful stories that Filipinos can relate to. 

Through the years, generations of Filipinos have shown their resiliency and strength in the face of tremendous challenges. With this short film competition, we hope to provide a platform for stories that highlight the same positivity and hope that UFC has provided for the last 50 years.

All entries must creatively depict the enduring optimism and positivity of Filipinos from all ages in times of difficulty. These should also portray the integral role of UFC products in empowering Filipinos to create nagsasama-samang sarap moments every day.

Thus, all submitted videos should use at least one UFC product as an organic part of the narrative. UFC products include: UFC Tamis Anghang Banana Catsup, UFC Sweet Chili Sauce, UFC Tomato Sauce, UFC Gravy, UFC Hot and Spicy Banana Catsup, UFC Hot Sauce, UFC Spaghetti Sauce, UFC Ready Recipes, and UFC Fresh Selections.

The festival is open to all filmmakers in the Philippines. Entries must have a maximum length of five (5) minutes, including the opening and closing credits. All videos submitted should be recorded in horizontal format, and edited in not less than 720 HD format. Using 1080 HD, however, is highly recommended. 

Submissions will be screened by a panel of judges, which will determine the finalists and winners through a deliberation. Thirty finalists will be chosen based on the following criteria: Thematic Storytelling (40%), Creativity and Originality (40%), and Technical Execution (20%). The results will be final and irrevocable.

The 30 finalists will automatically receive a gift pack from UFC. Likewise, they will be eligible for the following prizes: 1st Prize (P100,000); 2nd Prize (P50,000); 3rd Prize (P20,000); Best Actor (P5,000); Best Actress (P5,000); Best Cinematography (P5,000); Best Screenplay (P5,000); Best Editing (P5,000); Best Director (P15,000); and People’s Choice Award (P15,000).

All entries must be emailed to ufcreellife@gmail.com and must include your name, title of the film, contact number, names of cast and crew, and a photo of the director. For larger files, you may use wetransfer.com to create a shareable link that you can include in your email.

No film entry shall be an imitation or plagiarized version of any copyrighted work. UFCine Presents: Nagsasama-samang Sarap Short Film Competition and its organizers will not be responsible for any copyright infringement committed by the participants. 

The deadline for submission is on November 30, 2020. The 30 finalists will be announced on December 3, 2020, and the winners will be awarded on December 14, 2020.

The organizers reserve the right to post all entries on their various social media accounts, namely Sarap UFC, Sarap Pinoy, NutriAsia, and its agency, Insight 360 Consultancy Services, Inc.

GUIDE: Cinema One Originals 2019 runs Nov 7-17

For its fifteenth year, Cinema One Originals loudly and proudly declares what it’s stood for all these years, originality in all its permutations, and challenging old and new audiences if they’re ready for the Cinema One Originals Experience—an experience that goes beyond cinema, beyond cinephilia, beyond entertainment. 

Venues

Fresh, cool, vibrant, inclusive, brave, original. The 15th Cinema One Originals runs from November 7 to 17 at the following cinemas:

  • Trinoma
  • Glorietta
  • Ayala Manila Bay
  • Gateway
  • Powerplant Makati
  • Vista Cinemas Iloilo
  • Evia Lifestyle Center
  • Cinema Centenario
  • Cinema ‘76
  • Black Maria
  • UP Cine Adarna
  • FDCP Cinematheque Manila

Screening Schedules

Ticket Prices / Passes Info

Regular ticket prices vary in different cinema venues.

Festival passes are available through KTX at https://ktx.abs-cbn.com/events/21845/premium-pass-cinema-one-originals-film-festival-2019.

Premium Pass – ₱810 (₱162/film)

Valid on November 8-17 at the following venues: 
Trinoma | Glorietta | Ayala Malls Manila Bay | Powerplant Makati

The Premium Pass entitles you to watch ANY FIVE (5) FILMS featured in the festival.

• THIS IS NOT YOUR OFFICIAL CINEMA TICKET. Please present your purchased pass from KTX at the cinema booth of your preferred partner theater.

• You may only use your pass the next day after your purchase. You will receive an SMS notification once your tickets have been activated.

• You must nominate your desired 5 films upon purchase. You can change this up to 1 day before your desired screening schedule by calling 415-2272 dial 9. 

• SEATS ARE AT A FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED BASIS. The management cannot guarantee your seat if the screening time is already sold out before you arrive at the cinema.

Nominate your 5 desired films upon checkout. You can change this up to 1 day before your new desired screening schedule. You may only use your pass the next day after your purchase. An SMS notification will be sent once your tickets have been activated.

Origs Pass – ₱1,040 (₱130/film)

Valid on November 8-17 at the following venues: 
 Trinoma | Glorietta | Ayala Malls Manila Bay | Powerplant Makati

The Origs Pass entitles you to watch ALL 8 FULL-LENGTH COMPETITION FILMS.

• THIS IS NOT YOUR OFFICIAL CINEMA TICKET. Please present your purchased pass from KTX at the cinema booth of your preferred partner theater.

• You may only use your pass the next day after your purchase. You will receive an SMS notification once your tickets have been activated.

• You may watch one screening per film only.

• SEATS ARE AT A FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED BASIS. The management cannot guarantee your seat if the screening time is already sold out before you arrive at the cinema.

You may only use your pass the next day after your purchase. You will receive an SMS notification once your tickets have been activated.

FESTIVAL PASS – ₱3,150 (₱85/film)

The Festival Pass entitles you to watch ALL 37 FILMS featured in the festival except special screenings / non-ticketed events.

• THIS IS NOT YOUR OFFICIAL CINEMA TICKET. Please present your purchased pass from KTX at the cinema booth of your preferred partner theater.

• You may only use your pass the next day after your purchase. You will receive an SMS notification once your tickets have been activated.

• You may watch one screening per film only.

• SEATS ARE AT A FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED BASIS. The management cannot guarantee your seat if the screening time is already sold out before you arrive at the cinema.

You may only use your pass the next day after your purchase. You will receive an SMS notification once your tickets have been activated.

Eight Original Narrative Features

All these years, the Cinema One Originals mandate has been to give filmmakers, first-timers and otherwise, a platform to fully express their visions. This year, eight original narrative features get P3 million worth of grant each.  There are four first time filmmakers, three previous Cinema One Originals alumni, and one director making her second feature and her Cinema One Originals debut.

Diverse as the four first-time filmmakers’ visions are, they find common ground in the way they invert their genres, and subgenres, of choice: a bildungsroman, a noir, a gothic horror and a resurrection rom-com.  

J.E. Tiglao makes his feature debut with “Metamorphosis” which stars Gold Aceron, Iana Bernardez, Ivan Padilla, Ricky Davao, and Yayo Aguila in a coming-of-age drama about intersexuality that’s as wistful as it is provocative.  Dustin Celestino reverses the wrong time/wrong place dynamics of noir with a little help from a comet in “Utopia,” a blackly comic riff on the genre starring Enzo Pineda, Joem Bascon, and Aaron Villaflor. Eve Baswel’s “Tia Madre” is a gothic horror featuring Cherie Gil and Jana Agoncillo in which a young girl starts to suspect her mother has been changed into something not quite herself and perhaps not quite human either. Nigel Santos’ “Yours Truly, Shirley” casts Regine Velasquez as a widow who believes a young pop star (Rayt Carreon) is the reincarnation of her late husband.

Returning to Cinema One Originals are Victor Villanueva and Kevin Dayrit, who made their feature film debuts with Cinema One Originals.  

Victor’s resumes his fascination with the intertwining of rom-com tropes with supernatural tinges that made “My Paranormal Romance” a quirky treat with “Lucid”, in which Alessandra De Rossi plays a lucid dreamer whose waking life and dream life start to blur when she meets JM De Guzman. Kevin, whose “Catnip” was the multi-awarded darling of its year takes on vampirism, necrophilia, the drug wars and rom-coms in “O” which stars Anna Luna, Lauren Young and Jasmine Curtis-Smith.

Giancarlo Abrahan whose second feature was the Best Picture-winning Cinema One Original “Paki” returns with “Sila Sila”, which stars Gio Gahol and Topper Fabregas and which he describes as an LGBT ghosting story and which finds him taking another look at the interstitial dynamics of yet another extended family, a group of friends nursing consensual emotional traumas.

Denise O Hara makes her Cinema One Originals debut and her second feature with “Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo” a rom-com inversion with JC Santos and Jane Oineza, about the underside of trauma that even the truest of loves have. 

Cinema One Originals has been producing breakthrough films with thought-provoking contents for the Filipino audience for 15 years. This year’s celebration will be held in line with the 100th anniversary of Philippine Cinema and the 25th anniversary of leading cable channel Cinema One. 

For updates, visit @CinemaOneOriginals on Facebook, @c1origs on Twitter and @c1originals on Instagram. #C1Originals #IAmOriginal

CINEMA ONE COMPETITION 1:  LUCID

Victor Villanueva, who made his debut in the seventh year of Cinema One Originals with the quirky comedy My Paranormal Romance and is also known for the breakout favorite Patay Na Si Hesus, is directing Lucid from a screenplay by newcomer Natts Jadaone, which is about the phenomenon of lucid dreaming but slanted at an angle where it attains a supernatural agency.

Alessandra De Rossi plays a young woman who leads a lonely, mundane existence in the real world but who has the perfect life in her lucid dreams which she can somehow control, meets a mysterious stranger, played by JM De Guzman, who challenges her to turn her dream life into something a bit more adventurous. Then her dreams become more real than her reality and the line between the two starts to blur.

“It’s a bittersweet movie about the pain of longing, and also of self-empowerment, and it’s new territory for me, the way it switches between bleak and whimsical, meditative to the bizarre. It’s about the clashing of the waking life and the dreamlife, but in a modern Filipino context, escaping the clutter of everyday emptiness. In a world of self-doubt and confusion, do we awaken or stay asleep?” The man of your dreams is on his way but only in your dreams. Kaya mo?  

Lucid premieres on November 10, 7:30 PM at Trinoma. 

CINEMA ONE COMPETITION 2:  METAMORPHOSIS

“There are few films about intersexuality.” First time filmmaker J.E Tiglao articulates why it was necessary for him to write the screenplay for Metamorphosis.  “Statistically, one out of 2000 is born an intersexual, Most of them are in hiding because of the stigma that’s been attached to their unconventional anatomies. There are very few support systems, and scientific aid is even more scarce. We need to tell their story. You need to know their story.”

Born with both male and female genitals, but raised like a boy by his conservative family, Adam goes through all the things prepubescent boys go through, including a fascination with strange animals he takes for pets and being smitten by a lovely girl.  His bucolic world turns upside down when he gets his first menstrual period setting him off on a journey that tests the spiritual and physical limits of sexual identity and into a new world of ambiguity and desire.

The only choice you don’t have is the one you chose. Kaya mo?

Gold Aceron, Iana Bernardez, Ivan Padilla, Ricky Davao and Yayo Aguila star in Metamorphosis which premieres on November 10, 5 PM at Trinoma. 

CINEMA ONE COMPETITION 3: O 

This black comedy, in which necrophiliac vampires run funeral parlors to collect blood from corpses which they process into red meth that they sell to their kind, dives deep into the pit of  vampire drug culture and the lengths the undead will go for a fix. “It’s about vampires and a romcom with a love triangle, or a love square in our case” O centers on a funeral parlor intern and closet necrophiliac who starts pushing blood after she meets a vampire drug lord whose sister she falls in love with, complicating matters even more than they already are. 

 “O is an exercise in giving the most clichéd concepts and genres a new flavor,” Kevin Dayrit, who made his feature film debut in the eighth year of Cinema One Originals with the multi-awarded Catnip, cheekily says as way of describing his new film, “It’s the same old hotdog, just dipped in peanut butter. It tastes offensive but funny at the same time.”

Kagatin o Mabitin? Pati dugo mo, hihingin, Kaya Mo?!

Anna Luna, Sarah Carlos, Lauren Young and Jasmine Curtis-Smith headline O which premieres on November 8,10 PM at Trinoma.

CINEMA ONE COMPETITION 4: SILA SILA 

Sila Sila is essentially an LGBT ghost story, or more specifically an LGBT ghosting story, in which a young man whose breakups tend to be messy and have severe and traumatic repercussions finds himself not only confronting the people on the receiving end of those breakups but navigating feelings he had thought long gone but are now suddenly rekindled.

“What does it mean to ghost someone? To be gone and still be there. How does one capture that presence, that energy, that feeling? That darkness, that lightness?” Giancarlo Abrahan, who directed the 2017 Cinema One Originals Best Picture winner Paki and is returning this year, poses these provocative questions as a way into his new film, which is another take on group dynamics, focusing this time on an estranged group of friends and the feelings that linger long after the friendship has drifted apart.

“Ghosting—this modern horror—does not really deal with a scary event or a monstrous being. But it still deals with fear. A fear that feels and sounds sad and funny at the same time. Although it isn’t exactly friendly ghosting. This ghosting still inflicts pain. It can be deliberate or unintentional, visible or unseen, deeply felt or numbing. This pain has its own form of violence. It is that violence that I am interested in. And that is what the film tries to capture.”

What if the one that let you get away comes back? Kaya mo?

Gio Gahol and Topher Fabregas star in Sila Sila which premieres on November 8, 7:30 PM at Trinoma.

CINEMA ONE COMPETITION 5:  TAYO MUNA HABANG HINDI PA TAYO

A soft boy. A strong girl. Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo is a love story that comes close but not far enough.   “Why are there so many love stories?  Because it feels good to watch how two people out of billions find each other and connect.”  Denise O Hara, who made her debut last year with the acclaimed Mamang moves to a different genre for her sophomore feature which, despite her seeming optimism, is a love story grounded by anxiety and uncertainty. “It’s all about that moment when one says “I love you” and all the assumptions, repercussions and yes, even traumas that those words carry.”

When the one you love is the one you can’t have. Kaya mo?

Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo stars JC Santos and Jane Oineza and premieres on Nov. 9, 7:30pm at Trinoma. 

CINEMA ONE COMPETITION 6: TIA MADRE

Tia Madre is a horror story told through the eyes of a child: a clingy, hyper-imaginative and slightly twisted 10-year old girl named Camille whose mother Emilia inexplicably changes into something else, something more sinister, something more violent, something more distant, something that isn’t her mother anymore and quite possibly isn’t human. 

“I want to make people see and understand that not all people’s childhoods have blue skies with rainbows; and mostly for other people, it’s like a raging storm that never left.” Debuting filmmaker Eve Baswel elaborates on how much her film draws from the slightly darker side of her own childhood. “The panic of forgetting to water the plants in fear of a yantok hitting your legs, the discomfort of having to drink water all day at school because you have nothing to eat, the humiliation of coming to school every day wearing the same unwashed uniform for the past three days. I only get to tell this story once, and I want it to be sad, sorrowful, heartbreaking and horrifying.”

TFW your mother’s scares you more than any ghost. Kaya mo?

Cherie Gil and Jana Agoncillo star in Tia Madre, which premieres on November 9, 5PM at Trinoma.

CINEMA ONE COMPETITION 7:  UTOPIA

Wrong place, wrong time. This is the fundamental itinerary of any noir. The throwing in of disparate lives into a chaos of circumstance. A freelance videographer, a rookie police office, an undercover PDEA agent, and a crime in progress. Only tonight, a comet flies over Manila and the cosmic disturbances turns everything on its head for one night. Everything that could go wrong suddenly foes right. 

“Ask any Filipino these days and they’ll tell you that utopia, a perfect world, simply means a world where justice exists.” Dustin Celestino breaks down the title of his debut feature and essentially breaks down its core. “The unjust suffer and the just are unscathed. The police don’t plant drugs on suspects, and follow due-process. Criminals kill each other without collateral damage.  A world unlike ours. I hope the film forces people to contemplate our collective destiny as a nation.”

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong unless a comet passes through the sky. Kaya mo?

Enzo Pineda, Vin Abrenica, Aaron Villaflor star in Utopia which premieres on November 9, 10 PM at Gateway. 

CINEMA ONE COMPETITION 8:  YOURS TRULY, SHIRLEY

Yours Truly, Shirley marks the return of Regine Velasquez to the big screen playing the eponymous widow of the title who hasn’t quite moved on from the untimely death of her husband in a motorcycle accident and her grief is making her do funny things, like imagining the newest pop sensation sweeping the country is the reincarnation of her dead husband. But is it really all in her head? And just how far will she go to prove it isn’t?

“Is there a right response to loss? A proper way to mourn?” These are ultimately the questions Nigel Santos tries to answer in his debut feature, a poignant, funny and ultimately life-affirming exploration on the often complicated and delicate conditions of surrender necessary to move on from the death of a loved one and how those left behind are often fighting for their lives, too. “Letting go doesn’t always have to mean a sad farewell.” 

What happens when your dead husband is reincarnated in the body of a young pop star? Kaya mo?

Yours Truly Shirley co-stars Denise Padilla and Rayt Carreon. It premieres on November 10, 9:45 PM at Trinoma. 

Opening Film

For this year’s Opening Film, Cinema One Originals has chosen a film that exemplifies this standard, a film marked by the uniqueness of its narrative form. 

Robert Eggers’ debut The Witch was a legitimate surprise,  and a touchstone in the current revival of what pundits are calling “elevated horror”.  The Witch is a period horror film that was as much about religious hysteria as it was about the rational world being encroached by the irrational. His much-anticipated second film, The Lighthouse, which had its world premiere in no less than the Directors Fortnight at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, resumes his infatuation with a dark bygone past, and with the isolations that beset us. In this case, it’s two lighthouse keepers, slowly going insane on a jagged black rock, as something comes to claim them. But is it coming from without or from within?

Variety calls it , “a gripping and turbulent drama”  which the Guardian echoes, saying it is “explosively scary and captivatingly beautiful” and praising the “sledgehammer punch” of the performances from the film’s two lone stars, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.

The Lighthouse screens on November 7, 7 pm at the Ayala Mall Manila Bay Cinema 7.

Closing Film

This year’s  Cinema One Originals closes with the latest film from one of the youngest and freshest voices in domestic cinema, Mikhail Red’s Dead Kids, which has recently been announced as the first domestic Netflix original, and more significantly, follows Eerie, his massively successful foray into inverting the girl school ghost story subgenre.  Dead Kids,  which follows a group of entitled teenage misfits who visit their own skewed version of justice on the school jock who also happens to be a scion of a drug lord and whom they decide to kidnap for ransom, is a multiple genre inversion that throws the youth gone wild film into a room with teenage neo-noir and lets them have devilish fun with each other.  Goes without saying that, in true noir ordinance, things don’t quite go as planned. 

Sue Ramirez, Sue Ramirez, Khalil Ramos, Markus Paterson and Vance Larena star in Dead Kids, which screens on November 17 at Gateway Cinema 5 at 9:50 pm.

World Cinema

Opening the festival is the much-awaited and much-touted sophomore film from “The Witch” director Robert Eggers, “The Lighthouse”, which stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as lighthouse keepers  slowly going insane on a black rock, and resumes Eggers’ fascination with bygone aesthetics tinged by a somber pulp surrealism.

Thematically kindred in many ways,  Fernando Meirelles’ “The Two Popes”, about the often tenuous relationship between Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, is also about two men   negotiating their estrangements.

Estrangement shadows two other films in the lineup, this time, estrangement between parent and offspring, with Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s tragicomic road movie “The Father”, which won the Crystal Globe at the 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, centering on a father who takes a trip with his son after their neighbor claims his dead wife has been making phone calls from beyond the grave,  while Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s follow-up to his Palme D’Or winning Shoplifters, and first feature outside his native Japan,  The Truth, features Catherine Deneuve as a French movie star whose tumultuous relationship with her daughter gets even more fractious when her revealing memoir goes into publication.

Xavier Dolan’s present day “Matthias And Maxine” where two friends reconcile dormant and kindled feelings during a summer abroad, and Celine Sciamma’s  period drama Portrait Of A Lady on Fire, which screened in competition at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and won both the Best Screenplay award as well as the Queer Palm,  about  a young painter who falls in love with her subject, may be generations apart in their settings,  but both are incisive and poignant evocations of desire.   

Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz’s describes his sprawling and expansive The Invisible Life of Eurice Gusmao, which won the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and is based on Martha Batalha’s 2016 novel, as a tropical melodrama with all the emotional upheavals the descriptor suggests,  while Rian Johnson’s Knives Out is an  Agatha Christie riff that lovingly reconstructs it while cleverly deconstructing it and being fiendishly entertaining in the process.

Restored Classics

This year, the Restored Classics roster includes the painstaking restoration works from ABS-CBN Film Restoration and FPJ Studios. Part of the line-up are Eddie Romero’s multi-generational epic “Aguila” in which Fernando Poe Jr. breaks his own mold for possibly the first and last time, Mario O’Hara’s gritty quasi-noir “Bulaklak Sa City Jail” one of his most distinctive collaborations with Nora Aunor,  Abbo De La Cruz’s  unflinching tale of greed “Misteryo Sa Tuwa”, two experimental postmodern comedies Peque Gallaga’s  “Bad Bananas Sa Putting Tabing” and Ishmael Bernal’s “Tisoy”, and two of Carlitos Suigon-Reyna’s fastidious, flamboyant melodramas “Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit” and “Saan Ka Man Naroroon.”

RESTORED CLASSICS: AGUILA (Eddie Romero)

On its 15th year, Cinema One Originals is all about the Cinema One Originals Experience and how it can both be a challenge and a measure of an audience’s threshold for original and adventurous cinema exemplified by the tagline “I Am Original. Kaya mo?” 

For all its forward-looking thrust, this year’s Cinema One Originals is all about celebrating the past, too, with Cinema One’s Restored Classics, which is more than just a showcase for nostalgia but is more a recognition of how pushing the form is a state of constant flux and how today’s classics were yesterday’s form-pushers, innovators and daring, adventurous originals, too. 

Fernando Poe Jr. has let his action hero iconicity play into more serious, more nuanced portrayals before, notably in films like Celso Ad Castillo’s Asedillo and Lino Brocka’s Santiago, but where you can call them re-inventions, they stayed firmly within the parameters of the genres he’s built his icon on. His  work in Eddie Romero’s sprawling time-jumping historical epic Aguila has the sole distinction of stripping him of his iconicity, not merely straying  from his comfort zones but abandoning them entirely , as his eponymous character arcs through history and across generations, while Poe himself, the actor and the action star, pushes against his own mythology and eventually breaks his own mold.  Like with any massive period piece, the so-called star-studded supporting cast is a must and here we have  everyone from then-young turks Christopher De Leon and Jay Ilagan and Johnny Delgado and Charo Santos and Sandy Andolong and Chanda Romero to stalwart titans Eddie Garcia and Amalia Fuentes and Celia Rodriguez. But Aguila is ultimately more notable for being the first and only collaboration between these two national artists. 

RESTORED CLASSICS: BAD BANANAS SA PUTING TABING (Peque Gallaga)

On its 15th year, Cinema One Originals is all about the Cinema One Originals Experience and how it can both be a challenge and a measure of an audience’s threshold for original and adventurous cinema exemplified by the tagline “I Am Original. Kaya mo?” 

For all its forward-looking thrust, this year’s Cinema One Originals is all about celebrating the past, too, with Cinema One’s Restored Classics, which is more than just a showcase for nostalgia but is more a recognition of how pushing the form is a state of constant flux and how today’s classics were yesterday’s form-pushers, innovators and daring, adventurous originals, too. 

Coming off the colossal success of his somber, sprawling period piece Oro Plata Mata, Peque Gallaga took a rather severe, and rather ballsy, left turn for his follow-up film,  putting what was then one of the most successful and high profile comedy ensembles through the quasi-surrealist paces of what could best be boiled down to as a screwball adventure about buried treasure that takes Christopher De Leon, Jay Ilagan, Edgar Mortiz and Johnny Delgado from the dive spots in the Hundred Islands to the mean streets of Mexico and earns its reputation as a film ahead of its time.

RESTORED CLASSICS: BULAKLAK SA CITY JAIL (Mario O Hara)

On its 15th year, Cinema One Originals is all about the Cinema One Originals Experience and how it can both be a challenge and a measure of an audience’s threshold for original and adventurous cinema exemplified by the tagline “I Am Original. Kaya mo?” 

For all its forward-looking thrust, this year’s Cinema One Originals is all about celebrating the past, too, with Cinema One’s Restored Classics, which is more than just a showcase for nostalgia but is more a recognition of how pushing the form is a state of constant flux and how today’s classics were yesterday’s form-pushers, innovators and daring, adventurous originals, too. 

It’s hard to dispute the notion that one of the most potent director-actress collaborations in Philippine cinema has to be the films Nora Aunor made with Mario O’ Hara, nearly every single one of which is a classic. “Bulaklak Ng City Jail”, featuring one of the most formidable ensemble supporting casts in the history of Philippine cinema (Perla Bautista, Celia Rodriguez. Mitch Valdes), and which is arguably their most iconic. A quasi-noir melodrama in which a nightclub singer, played by Aunor, is thrown in jail for the frustrated murder of her lover’s wife, finding herself thrown into a dangerous world beyond her grasp that she must now transcend and escape.

RESTORED CLASSICS: HIHINTAYIN KITA SA LANGIT (Carlitos Siguion Reyna)

On its 15th year, Cinema One Originals is all about the Cinema One Originals Experience and how it can both be a challenge and a measure of an audience’s threshold for original and adventurous cinema exemplified by the tagline “I Am Original. Kaya mo?” 

For all its forward-looking thrust, this year’s Cinema One Originals is all about celebrating the past, too, with Cinema One’s Restored Classics, which is more than just a showcase for nostalgia but is more a recognition of how pushing the form is a state of constant flux and how today’s classics were yesterday’s form-pushers, innovators and daring, adventurous originals, too. 

When Carlitos Siguion Reyna’s breakout film Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit was released in 1991, transposing and updating Emily Brontë’s classic Wuthering Heights to the time-stopping, and heart-stopping grandeur of Batanes, with Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta to smolder through as the film’s iteration of Heathcliff and Catherine, it signaled the arrival of a distinct new cinematic voice, serious-minded and fastidious yet brazen and sensual. 

RESTORED CLASSICS: MISTERYO SA TUWA  (Abbo De La Cruz)

On its 15th year, Cinema One Originals is all about the Cinema One Originals Experience and how it can both be a challenge and a measure of an audience’s threshold for original and adventurous cinema exemplified by the tagline “I Am Original. Kaya mo?” 

For all its forward-looking thrust, this year’s Cinema One Originals is all about celebrating the past, too, with Cinema One’s Restored Classics, which is more than just a showcase for nostalgia but is more a recognition of how pushing the form is a state of constant flux and how today’s classics were yesterday’s form-pushers, innovators and daring, adventurous originals, too. 

A plane crashes in the jungle and changes the lives of a nearby community when a cache of money is found among the wreckage by three friends, played by Johnny Delgado, Tony Santos Sr. and Ronnie Lazaro. Abbo De La Cruz’s bleak, blighted, and often harrowing Misteryo Sa Tuwa is as unflinching as it is incisive in negotiating the knotty ambiguities of greed, how deep and insidious its poisons can run and how thoroughly we metabolize it.

GUIDE: Danish Film Festival 2019 runs Oct 9-13

Shangri-La Plaza’s Danish Film Festival offers an engaging glimpse of Danish cinema. Witness everything from a 1950s masterpiece to the reunion film of Aga Mulach and Alice Dixson.

Shangri-La Plaza gives everyone the opportunity to witness the wonders of Danish cinema with the Danish Film Festival on October 9 to 13 at the Red Carpet. Created in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Embassy of Denmark, the film fest continues the Shang’s tradition of giving mall guests the best in culture and the arts.

For decades, Denmark has captivated the world with its arresting, understated films. With the beautiful Scandinavian landscape often serving as backdrop, Danish movies are known for their realistic storylines and naturalistic camera techniques, reactions to the artificial approach of big-budget blockbusters. Lars von Trier, the renowned Danish director, is known internationally for his films Melancholia and Dancer in the Dark. Danish actors have also made names for themselves abroad, from Mads Mikkelksen (Casino Royale, Hannibal) to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones).

Headlining the festival is the psychological thriller Nuuk, the first Filipino film to be shot in Greenland (the autonomous territory under the Kingdom of Denmark). Directed by Veronica Velasco and produced in cooperation with the Embassy of Denmark, the movie marks the reunion of Aga Mulach and Alice Dixson since their last film together in 1991.

Widely lauded as a masterpiece of Danish film, the 1955 black-and-white fantasy Ordet follows the three sons of a farmer, who all have different belief systems. While the eldest has lost his faith and the youngest agrees with his father, the middle child believes that he is the living manifestation of Jesus Christ. Ordet won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1956.  

Watch a story of survival in Across the Waters. Set in 1943, it is a plight of a family of Danish Jews who flee their home to seek refuge to escape the deportation by the Nazis. 

The 2017 dramedy I Am William is about a child who becomes entangled in his uncle’s gambling debt. When gangsters come to collect, William must find a way to save them both, all while dealing with school bullies and his crush, Viola.

Darling is a riveting drama about a ballerina who suffers a lethal injury. When she is told that she will never dance again, she throws herself into training her replacement, Polly, to dance just like her. When Polly begins to soak in the spotlight however, Darling’s sanity begins to unravel. 

Set in the 1960s, The Day Will Come follows the lives of two young brothers separated from their ill mother. When they are thrown into a neglectful boy’s home, they decide to turn their situation around and wage war against their headmaster. 

A Fortunate Man is a touching historical drama about Per, a man who uproots himself from his oppressive home and sails to Copenhagen. He manages to conceptualize a new energy invention and marries a wealthy woman. Despite his ambition however, his pride, childhood experiences, and disapproving family threaten to ruin everything. 

The 2018 drama The Charmer tackles the issue of immigration in Denmark, focusing on an Iranian man who picks up different women with the goal of marrying one and gaining citizenship to avoid deportation. 

The coming of age film Team Hurricane follows eight teenage girls over the course of one summer as they navigate the confusing turns of adolescence. It combines punk chick flick aesthetics and documentary footage to tell the stories of the rebel teenagers. 

Circleen, Coco and the Wild Rhinoceros is an endearing animated children’s film about an unlikely group of friends as they journey to Africa and learn that even the tiniest rhino can be a great hero.

Experience the living, breathing world of Danish cinema only at Shangri-La Plaza. #FeelTheShangVibe with the Danish Film Festival, featuring a diverse range of exciting titles.

For inquiries, call 370-2500 loc. 597 or visit https://www.facebook.com/redcarpetattheshang/. Follow the Shang on Instagram: @shangrilaplazaofficial @shangredcarpet

Regine Velasquez returns to the big screen via C1 Originals filmfest

Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez-Alcasid finally marks her big screen comeback as she stars in “Yours Truly, Shirley,” an official entry to the highly anticipated 2019 Cinema One Originals film festival.

The Nigel Santos-directed comedy picture—one of the eight C1 Originals competition films this year—features the beloved songstress as a widow who believes a young popstar (Rayt Carreon) is the reincarnation of her deceased husband.

Regine shared that she found it interesting how the film touches upon a sensitive topic by looking at it through a much brighter light. “If you break it down, the story is really sad because she hasn’t gotten over the death of her husband, but this is the other side, the funny side. Because how do you deal with mourning, right? Especially if you’ve been with the person your entire life,” she said.

Her big screen comeback through “Yours Truly, Shirley” is definitely one for the books as it coincides with the 15th year edition of C1 Originals.

She admits though that she found it challenging to get her footing back into acting especially since it’s been seven years since she played the lead role in a movie. “Whenever I have a new film I’m always second-guessing myself. Acting is not my comfort zone, it’s really an effort for me so when I take on a new film, I really have to think about it. But I’m glad I did this, I enjoyed shooting and the whole process,” she explained.

Aside from the Songbird-starrer, other films that are set to be showcased during the annual film fest run are “Lucid,” “Metamorphosis,” “O,” “Sila-Sila,” “Tayo Muna Habang Di Pa Tayo,” “Tia Madre,” and “Utopia.”

Victor Villanueva’s “Lucid,” written by Natts Jadaone, stars Alessandra de Rossi ang JM de Guzman and centers its story on Ann, a luminous dreamer with her dreams the exact opposite of her mundane, routinary life. As she crosses paths with another lucid dreamer, she realizes her dreams are far more alive than her reality—making her question if it is worth staying there or not. 

“Metamorphosis” is a coming-of-age story about Adam, a 14-year old kid who was born with a secret of having both male and female genitals. It stars Jerould Aceron, Iana Bernardez, and Ivan Padilla and is directed by J.E. Tiglao.

Lauren Young, Anna Luna, Sarah Carlos, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith lead the cast of Kevin Dayrit’s “O,” where Maria, a morgue-intern, meets vampire ‘drug lord’ Matilda in “O.” In this thriller, Matilda forces Maria to become a blood pusher in exchange for her life, selling dried blood sachets to modern-day, harmless vampires.

Meanwhile, Giancarlo Abrahan returns to C1 Originals with “Sila-Sila,” a comedy about a boy who falls in and out of love with ‘the same people’ starring Topper Fabregas and Gio Gahol.

“Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo,” a romance drama by Denise O’ Hara, meanwhile zeroes in on the roller coaster breakup of Alex (Jane Oineza) and Carlo (JC Santos).

Eve Baswel’s horror entry “Tia Madre” is about 10-year-old Angel (Jana Agoncillo) who is living alone with her warm and loving mother (Cherie Gil), who unexpectedly became distant and violent towards her. Angel wonders, is she really her mother?

A crime comedy entry, Dustin Celestino’s “Utopia” stars Vin Abrenica, Arron Villaflor, and Enzo Pineda. The film is about a videographer, a rookie police officer, and an undercover agent whose lives intertwine in the labyrinth of a violent city’s underbelly.

Cinema One Originals have been producing breakthrough films with edgy, thought-provoking contents to the Filipino audience such as “That Thing Called Tadhana,” “Baka Bukas,” “Yanggaw,” “Confessional,” “Changing Partners,” “2 Cool 2 be 4Gotten,” “Mamu; And a Mother too” and more. It has been the discovery platform for new talents and the breeding ground for filmmakers like Jerrold Tarog, Antoinette Jadaone, Richard Somes, Jason Paul Laxamana, and Dwein Baltazar—who all started in C1 Originals. Several of its previous entries have been highly acclaimed in not just local but also international award-giving bodies.

Now bigger and bolder, its 15th year festivities will also be held in line with the 100th year celebration of Philippine Cinema and the 25th anniversary celebration of leading cable channel Cinema One.

Catch this year’s #IAmOriginal entries in Cinema One Originals 2019, happening this November 7 to 17 in various cinemas. For updates, visit @CinemaOneOriginals on Facebook, @c1origs on Twitter and @c1originals on Instagram.

GUIDE: QCinema International Film Festival 2019

Now on its seventh year, the QCinema International Film Festival will run from October 13 to 22 in select cinemas in Quezon City.

Venues

Trinoma, Gateway, Robinsons Galleria, Cinema ’76 Anonas, Cinema Centenario, and Cine Adarna at UP Diliman.

Ticket Information

Ticket price at mall venues (Trinoma, Gateway, Robinsons Galleria) is at 200 pesos per screening.

Ticket price at Cinema ’76 Anonas, Cinema Centenario, and Cine Adarna is 150 pesos per screening.

Screening Schedules

To keep updated on the latest screening schedules, please visit www.qcinema.ph/schedule.

Opening and Closing Film

Leading the roster are two much-awaited Asian titles. Sigrid Bernardo’s Untrue is QCinema’s opening film while Wet Season, by Singaporean director Anthony Chen, will officially close the festival.

Cristine Reyes and Xian Lim topbills the festival opener by Bernardo who is the director of the indie hit, Kita Kita. The Hooq-produced Wet Season is Chen’s follow-up to his critically-acclaimed film, Iloilo.

A Rising Wave

QCinema 2019 focuses on the strides Asian filmmakers have been making in world cinema, with Asian filmmakers bagging the Palme d’ Or award at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival for two consecutive years.  

Furthermore, the theme recognizes the growing number of women filmmakers participating in competitions for documentaries and short films. To add, this year’s QCinema sections have female-centric themes.

As one of the leading festivals in Southeast Asia, QCinema is the launching pad for the world premieres, not only for the three Filipino features in the Asian Next Wave competition, but also for new local shorts & documentaries, who all received grants from QCinema, where filmmakers own the rights to their films.

Local Film Grantees

QCinema recently relaunched its main competition, AsianNext Wave, to include three Filipino titles which each received a P1,500,000 seed grant: Arnel Barbarona’s Kaaway sa SulodBabae at Baril by Rae Red,and The Cleaners by Glenn Barit, which is his debut feature.

The QCShorts lineup features Judy Free by Jean Cheryl Tagyamon; Tokwifi by Carla Pulido Ocampo; Here, Here by Joanne Cesario; SPID by Alejo Barbaza and Mervine Aquino; Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss by Sonny Calvento; and Isang Daa’t Isang Mariposa by Norvin De los Santos. The six filmmakers each received P200,000 production grants in the shorts competition.

Three new Filipino documentary features, recipients of post-production grants of P500,000 each, will premiere in the section, DocQC. They are For My Alien Friend (by Jet Leyco), A is for Agustin (Grace Pimentel Simbulan) and Spring by the Sea (Aleia Garcia).

International Selections

Five other films will showcase Asian talents at the Asian Next Wave.  These areNakorn-Sawan (by Puangsoi Aksornsawang, Thailand); Ave Maryam (Robby Ertanto, Indonesia); Fly By Night (Zahir Omar, Malaysia), The Long Walk (Mattie Do, Laos) and Suburban Birds (Sheng Qiu, China).

Most of the directors are slated to attend their gala screenings.

Three critically-acclaimed Asian docs round up the non-competitive documentary section with The Future Cries Beneath Our Soil (Pham Thu Hang, Vietnam); Talking About Trees (Suhaib Gasmelbari, Sudan) and Kabul, City in the Wind (Aboozar Amini, Afghanistan).

In Screen International, awarded titles from Cannes and Berlin will receive their Philippine premieres. They are  Beanpole (Kantemir Balagov); By The Grace of God (François Ozon); Nina Wu (Midi Z) ; Bacurau, (Kleber Mendonça Filho & Juliano Dornelles); Frankie (Ira Sachs), Synonyms (Nadav Lapid), The Whistlers (Corneliu Porumboiu), God Exists Her Name is Petrunya (Teona Mitevska), On A Magical Night (Christophe Honore) and High Life (Claire Denis).

The Special Screenings section will showcase Lingua Franca (Isabel Sandoval); Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (J.-P. Valkeapää); Top End Wedding (Wayne Blair); No Data Plan (Miko Revereza); The Cave (Tom Waller); Krabi, 2562 (Ben Rivers and Anocha Suwichakornpong); A Girl Missing, which is presented by Japan Foundation (Koji Fukada); and recent Locarno winner, Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa).

A special program of Australian short films, Flickerfest, rounds up this section with two filmmakers visiting from Down Under.

This year, QCinema introduces a new section. New Horizons is a platform for debut films or second features from around the world. It explores a range of genres such as The Bare Necessity(Erwan De Luc); Buoyancy (Rodd Rathjen); Homeward (Nariman Aliev); The Red Phallus (Tashi Gyeltshen); Chola (Sanal Kumar Sasidharan; and System Crasher (Nora Fingscheidt).

Top End Wedding, Flickerfest Shortfilms, and Buoyancy are sponsored by the Australian Embassy.

Continuing its partnership with FDCP in promoting equality and representation, QCinema will screen six films representing the LGBTQ spectrum in the section, RainbowQC. These are Venice Queer Lion winner Jose (Li Cheng); Song Lang (Leon Le); Port Authority (Danielle Lessovitz); Where We Belong (Kongdej Jaturanrasamee); And Then We Danced (Levan Akin); and the Berlinale Teddy awardee, Brief Story from the Green Planet (Santiago Loza).

Part of the centennial celebration of Philippine cinema are two QCinema sections reflecting the rich heritage of classic and mainstream works by major directors, including the country’s national artists for film.

Centenial Classics will feature digitally restored films by ABS-CBN Film Restoration Project and FDCP. Part of the list are Biyaya ng Lupa (Manuel Silos); Malvarosa (Gregorio Fernandez); Insiang and Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag (Lino Brocka)Noli Me Tangere (Gerardo de Leon); and Tisoy (Ishmael Bernal).

A Special Life Achievement Award will be presented to Vicente del Rosario Jr., who established Viva Entertainment as one of the main, enduring pillars in the entertainment industry for more than fifty years.

QCinema is presenting the section, Viva Classics, in recognition of his outstanding contributions of “Boss Vic”, as he is fondly called, to the industry. Three of the previous decades’ well-loved hits will be shown here: Bituing Walang Ningning (Emmanuel H. Borlaza); Scorpio Nights 2 (Erik Matti); and Working Girls (Ishmael Bernal).



About QCinema

QCinema is the official film festival of Quezon City, touted as the “City of the Stars.” It was established in 2013 by the Quezon City Film Development Commission (QCFDC) helmed by Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.

Since its humble beginnings in 2013, QCinema has grown bigger, gaining traction in local and international film circuits for its roster of film entries. In 2017, it was recognized as one of the best film festivals in the country. For more information, visit qcinema.ph.

GUIDE: 13th Int’l Silent Film Festival Manila runs Aug 30-Sep 1

Now on its 13th year, the International Silent Film Festival in Manila runs over the weekend of August 30 to September 1 at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura Premier. Admission to all screenings is free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

Who says silent films are boring? Certainly not the loyal audiences who, year after year since 2007, join the International Silent Film Festival (ISFF) to witness an exceptional array of curated silent films, made fresh with original scores performed live.  First of its kind in Asia, the ISFF prides itself in being a venue for eclectic musicians to infuse their art into forgotten classics, adding new gradients to black and white films, their flavor to spark new interest in the younger set.

Once again, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the Japan Foundation Manila, the Instituto Cervantes, the Philippine-Italian Association, the Goethe-Institut Philippinen and the Embassy of Austria bring you a one of kind, quirky experience that won’t disappoint.

On its 13th edition, the ISFF joins the Philippines in celebrating its first centenary in Cinema, a milestone in South East Asia: Professor Nick Deocampo, author and film historian, will share his extensive knowledge in Asian film making during his lecture on August 31, at 1 PM.

The Film Development Council of the Philippines proudly opens the Festival on Friday, August 30th at 8:30 pm presenting a 37-minute documentary about the Kalingas, directed by Dean C. Worcester in 1913, selected by Teddy Co who chairs the film commission of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA).  The film will be live scored by local indie band, Munimuni. 

On Saturday, August 31st, at 3:00 PM, the Japan Foundation, Manila will present The Downfall of Osen (1935) by Kenji Mizoguchi, a story about a beautiful servant girl, Osen, used by her unscrupulous employer, an antique dealer, to help his illegal business. A live musical performance by Kaduma ni Karol will accompany the film.

Still on August 31st at 5:30 PM, the Instituto Cervantes will present a comedy directed by Carlos Fernández Cuenca, Es Mi Hombre (He’s My Man – 1926). The film tells about Don Antonio who, beset by misfortune, must fend for himself and his daughter Leonor, until luck smiles upon him unexpectedly after a series of odd jobs.  Tarsius, a Manila based duo, shall take on the live score for the film.

The Philippine-Italian Association capsthe August 31st offerings at 8:30 PM, presenting L’Onestà del Peccato (The Wife He Neglected – 1918), directed by Augusto Genia. The film revolves around the tragic character of Maria d’Alconte played by an intense Maria Jacobini. Her sacrifice restores order and justice in a world weighed by greed and arrogant intellectualism.  A collaboration between Stef&No, a sax player and composer from Turin, together with the Pocket Orchestra will provide a fresh score for the film.

On Sunday, September 1st at 4:00 pm, the Goethe Institut will screen Von Morgen Bis Mitternachts (From Morn to Midnight-1920) directed by Karlheinz Martin.  An adaptation from the Expressionist theater play by George Kaiser, the story centers on a bank teller who gives into temptation and steals from a rich old lady.  The movie, which never saw the light of day in Germany, was thought to be lost.  The live score will be played by Anima Tierra, a unique ensemble inspired by traditional world music.

At 7:30 PM, the Embassy of Austria will present Kalif Storch (1924), directed by Hans Berger. The film tells about the misadventures of Caliph Chasid of Bagdad and his Grand Vizier Mansor, after they buy magic powder from a wizard. Based on a fairytale by Wilhelm Hauff, the movie is one of the few remaining family-friendly flicks from the Austrian silent film era. Rock band Tanya Markova shall take on scoring duties for this year’s closing film. 

The 13th International Silent Film Festival is made possible in partnership with SM Aura Premier, with the support of the Embassy of Italy, Cineteca Bologna, Embassy of Japan, Embassy of Spain, Filmoteca Española, Matsuda Film Productions, Globe, HearLife Foundation, Inc., Med El, Barista and Coffee Academy of Asia. 

Spears Films presents two competition films at Cinemalaya 2019

The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2019 to be held from August 2 to 13 is doubly special for Albert Almendralejo’s Spears Films because the company is presenting two films.

Last year, Albert, a former GMA 7 executive-turned-filmmaker was so happy that his directorial debut—the documentary “Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story”—was shown in exhibition at Cinemalaya.

Albert is a big fan of the festival. When it is Cinemalaya week, he clears his busy schedule so that he can watch the films at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Last year was memorable because he attended the prestigious indie filmfest as a producer-director and not just as a member of the audience. “Journeyman Finds Home,” the story of Italian Filipino footballer Simone Rota’s search for his biological mother, is Almendralejo’s collaboration with director Maricel Cariaga.

For the Cinemalaya 2019 competition, Spears Films is fielding the drama about art and love entitled “Malamaya,” and the family picture, “Children of the River.”

The team of “Malamaya”: director/co-writer Leilani Chavez, actors Enzo Pineda and Sunshine Cruz, director Danica Sta. Lucia and producer Albert Almendralejo. Photo courtesy of Erickson Dela Cruz.

“Malamaya,” is a romance that Spears Films is co-producing with ALV Productions and Cine Likha Productions. It features Sunshine Cruz as a seasoned visual artist who reignites her lost passion with an aspiring photographer played by Enzo Pineda. Getting in the way of their romance is a potter played by Raymond Bagatsing. “Malamaya” is directed by Danica Sta. Lucia and Leilani Chavez.

“Children of the River,” meanwhile, is Spears’ venture with Luna Studios and GMA Network Films. This movie written and directed by Maricel Cariaga tells the tale of three young friends whose fathers have gone off to war and are now left with the responsibility for caring for their respective families.  In the cast are: Cinemalaya 2017 Best Actor Noel Comia Jr., Juancho Trivino, Rich Asuncion, with the special participation of Urian Best Actor Jay Manalo.

Spears Films’ Albert Almendralejo with “Children of the River” actors Jay Manalo, Rich Asuncion, and Noel Comia, Jr., and writer-director Maricel Cariaga. Photo courtesy of Erickson Dela Cruz.

Albert says, “While ‘Malamaya’ is a romance in a cosmopolitan setting and ‘Children of the River’ is an idyllic story in the province of Quirino, both are coming-of-age stories of persons rising above their weaknesses. I was drawn to produce these films because both show the process of maturity.”

For Albert, Cinemalaya 2019 is a homecoming of sorts. He says, “It’s full cycle for me because the first film I produced, Ralston Jover’s directorial debut, ‘Bakal Boys,’ won the NETPAC Prize in the 2009 Cinemalaya. It feels great to be part of this significant festival.”

Spears Films also produced “Tumbang Preso,” a drama thriller on human trafficking directed by Kip Oebanda; and the documentary about the training of young Filipino footballers in the UK entitled “Little Azkals” by Babyruth Villarama, and “Pangarap Kong World Cup,” a two-part docu series that chronicles the preparation of the Azkals Philippine Men’s National Football Team. “These are stories about the youth and how to improve their well-being,” says Albert.

For updates about Spears Films/Spears Activation and PR, visit Spears Activation & PR on Facebook and http://spearsactivationandprco.com.

QCinema announces documentary lineup for 2019

A 41-year-old learning the ABCs, a woman living her life between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines, and an alien recounting the lives of Filipino men and women – these stories highlight the lineup of documentary films for this year’s DocQC category at the QCinema International Film Festival (QCinema).

For its seventh edition, QCinema will showcase three documentary films that will run from October 13-22.

These documentaries include For My Alien Friend by Jet Leyco, A is for Agustin by Grace Pimentel Simbulan, and Spring by the Sea by Aleia Garcia.

Jet Leyco’s For My Alien Friend is about stories of Filipino men and women, and other living things passing through similar objects, familiar spaces, non-linear time, and dreams alike – all connected from the lens and experience of a stranger, an Alien whose language is disconnected and demands an interaction from the viewer to reconnect these stories to find their own meaning.

Jet Leyco, director of ‘For My Alien Friend.’

A is for Agustin by Grace Pimentel Simbulan focuses on the life of 41-year old Agustin Tiburcio, an illiterate indigenous man in a remote mountainous region in northern Philippines who wants to learn his ABCs. He gets fed up with being exploited by his employers and decides to go to school with the goal of making a better life for himself and his family.

Grace Pimentel Simbulan, director of ‘A is for Agustin.’

Spring by the Sea is a film by Aleia Garcia, showing alternating Philippines and Saudi Arabia as her home and uses personal home videos and present footage to tell the story of her family.

Aleia Garcia, director of ‘Spring by the Sea’

The grantees for the documentary films have been given a post-production grant of P500,000 each while retaining exclusive rights to their films.

Aside from DocQC, QCinema has also given grants to filmmakers for its QCShorts and Asian Next Wave competition category.