Cinemalaya 2016: 9 entries, what to watch

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  • The full-length films category has been reinstated with a lineup of 9 films for your entertainment

    MANILA, Philippines – As the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival celebrates its 12th year, it also expands its horizons. This year, the festival goes beyond Metro Manila to include screening venues in Laguna and Cebu.

    Cinemalaya is slated to open on August 5 to 14 in its main venue, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), as well as in Ayala Cinemas in Greenbelt 3 and Glorietta, Makati City; Trinoma and UP Town Center, Quezon City; and Nuvali, Sta Rosa, Laguna. Meanwhile, the film festival will also run in Ayala Center Cebu from August 9 to 14.

    The full-length films category is reinstated in this year’s festival, which is themed “Break the Surface.” Here, 9 films vie for the trophies:

    Ang Bagong Pamilya Ni Ponching
    by Inna Miren Salazar and Dos Ocampo

    Synopsis: A religious man who does petty crimes, Ponching, gets into a new venture, text scamming, thinking it will not really hurt anyone. One day, his seemingly “innocent” text scam accidentally cons a recipient into thinking he is the bastard child of their late relative.

    Cast: Janus Del Prado, Ketchup Eusebio, Odette Khan, Lollie Mara, Jojo Alejar, Joyce Burton-Titular, Jackie Lou Blanco, Alibreza Libre, Phynne Barnett, Richard Manabat, Mimi Juareza, Sam Thurman, Ria Garcia, Joanna Bago, Manuel Velasco, Ricky Sanchez


    by Atom Magadia

    Synopsis: After surviving the Death March, Martial Law and the loss of his legs, Justino became an atheist. But when his wife dies, a part of him is yearning to believe in life beyond death; just for a chance to be with her again. Searching for parts of her he can still hold on to, he devours her diaries for information into their past – opening a Pandora’s Box of secrets.

    Cast: Tommy Abuel, Lotlot De Leon, Benjamin Alves, Janine Gutierrez, Alex Diaz, Sue Prado, Marita Zobel, Rolando Inocencio, Yoshihiko Hara, Arpee Bautista

    Hiblang Abo
    by Ralston Jover


    Synopsis: Hiblang Abo speaks volumes of muted memories and infinite struggles among four men in their twilight years, confined in a hospice facility or home for the aged. Their gray hair grows and fades unnoticed, their lives enter the void of oblivion. Everything unfolds so naturally into their swan song until their body pains and heartaches yield the same intensity, when their hearing and their feelings become permanently impaired; and when their blurry vision and memories become “clear” signs that the inevitable state of death is as fleeting as the vibrancy of life itself.

    Cast: Lou Veloso, Jun Urbano, Leo Rialp, Nanding Josef, Matt Daclan, Lui Manansala, Flor Salanga, Cherry Malvar, Angela Cortez, Mike Liwag, Rommel Luna, Rener Concepcion, Anna Luna


    I America
    by Ivan Andrew Payawal

    Synopsis: I America is a dramedy about a complex half-Pinay, half-Caucasian lady looking for American living in Olongapo City (Philippines) who tries to get her passport and US visa in order to meet her father personally for the first time.

    Cast: Bela Padilla, Rob Rownd, Matt Evans, Thou Reyes, Sheena Ramos, Joe Vargas, Raflesia Bravo, Julz Savard, Lui Manansala, Ms. Elizabeth Oropesa, Kate Bautista, Rhyzza Kafilas


    by David Corpuz and Cenon Palomares

    Synopsis: Kusina (The Kitchen) is the silent witness to the life and love of Juanita. It is her sanctuary, the place where she creates dishes for her family, her friends, even enemies and strangers. Through cooking, she gets to know the people around her, and in return, reveal herself to them.

    Cast: Judy Ann Santos, Gloria Sevilla, Joem Bascon, Luis Alandy, Elora Españo, Mike Liwag, Bong Cabrera, Karen Gaerlan, Jane Biton, Isha Salic, Trina Legaspi, Lala Padilla, Czarina Yecla, Princess Ortiz


    Lando at Bugoy
    by Vic Acedillo, Jr.

    Synopsis: Disrespected by his teenage son, a 40-year-old high school dropout tries to solve this problem by returning to school which only makes his son hate him even more. Amidst the struggle between them, an unexpected event changes everything.

    Cast: Allen Dizon, Gold Azeron, Roger Gonzales, Rachel Anne Ang Rosello, Maricar Semitara, Carlos Penaloza, Benjie Criss Estrella, Reynald Mangao, Camilo Apugan


    Mercury Is Mine

    by Jason Paul Laxamana

    Synopsis: Carmen, a middle-aged cook, is about to close down her eatery at the foot of Mt. Arayat when a white American teenage boy named Mercury Cinemalaya 2016 - entriesapproaches her and begs for work in exchange of nothing but shelter.

    Cast: Pokwang, Bret Jackson, Vincent De Jesus, Lee O’Brian, Maey Bautista, Bea Vega, Mitzi Ong, Leo Sarmiento, Justine Dizon, Waka Hasegawa, Uzziel Delamide, Kristof Garcia


    Pamilya Ordinaryo
    by Eduardo Roy, Jr.

    Synopsis: Jane and Aries are teenage parents. They make a living out of stealing on the streets… until fate hits back at them

    Cast: Ronwaldo Martin, Hasmine Killip, Maria Isabel Lopez, Sue Prado, Ruby Ruiz, Moira Lang, Karl Medina, Erlinda Villalobos, Domingo Cobarrubias, Paolo Rodriguez, John Bon Andrew Lentejas, John Vincent Servilla, Rian Magtaan, Myla Monido, Alora Sasam, Ruth Alferez


    by Derick Cabrido

    Synopsis: A woman chosen to keep an age-old tradition alive must now choose between her granddaughter’s life and a belief that shackled her in solitary confinement.

    Cast: Nora Aunor, Barbie Forteza, Flor Salanga, Ron Martin, Elora Españo, Ronnie Martinez, Al Bernard Garcia, Elora Españo, Casimira Cabilitasan

    There are other films to enjoy aside from those in the main competition at Cinemalaya.

    There will be sections on the sidebar, which includes Festival’s Best, Asian Showcase, Documentaries, and the Cinemalaya Institute showcase.

    After the tragic death of its alumnus, Francis Pasion, Cinemalaya will pay tribute to the filmmaker who debuted films like Jay, Sampaguita, and Bwaya in the festival. A retrospective of these films will happen during the festival.

    Lav Diaz’s Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis will also screen at the festival, alongside the 2016 Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear awardee’s Ang Araw Bago ang Wakas.

    A special screenings section will also put 2016 Cannes Film Fest Best Actress Jaclyn Jose’s works in the spotlight, as well as historical documentaries from Nick Deocampo, Eiga and Gunita.

    The Cinemalaya Campus, a gathering for film students, is scheduled on August 9 to 10 at the CCP Little Theater.

    The 28th Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, the “longest-running independent film competition of its kind in the ASEAN/Asian region,” runs in parallel to the main Cinemalaya festival.

    Cinemalaya has also allied with Eigasai, the Japanese Film Festival, which runs from July 7 to August 21. The festival has screenings in Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Baguio.

    The main venue, CCP, will host a screening of The Emperor in August as part of this partnership.

    Award-winning NETPAC (Network For Promotion of Asian & Asia Pacific Cinema) films will be featured in the Asian section.


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