Arts & Leisure

Cinemalaya goes to UP

Posted on September 06, 2013

THE CINEMALAYA Film Festival this year attracted an audience of close to 76,000 (up by 13% from last year’s figure of close to 67,000) with simultaneous screenings at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Trinoma, Greenbelt and Alabang Town Center last July and August.

Those who missed seeing the entries to the popular independent film festival the first time around can try to catch Cinemalaya’s academic run at the University of the Philippines (UP), albeit limited to only a handful of the 25 film. Some of the films will also be screened at the Los Baños and Manila campuses of the state university. Two will have screenings at De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU).

Several of this year’s Cinemalaya entries have had or are about to have a commercial/theatrical runs and premieres in international film festivals in Busan, Hawaii, Warsaw, Vancouver, Toronto, and other undisclosed filmfests.

On Sept. 10 and 11, the UP Cinema presents "Cinemalaya Double Feature" at Cine Adarna of the UP Film Center in the Diliman, QC campus. Two films will be shown each day. On Sept. 10 they will be Carlo Obispo’s Purok 7 (5:30 p.m.), about the children of a drug mule who’s been sentenced to death; and Hannah Espia’s Transit (8 p.m.), about the travails of a Filipino family in Israel. On Sept. 11 the films are Alvin Yapan’s Debosyon (5:30 p.m.), a mysterious love story set against the background of the Peñafrancia festival, and Jerrold Tarog’s Sana Dati (8 p.m.), where Lovi Poe deals with "unfinished business" as she is about to get married.

Also to be screened at the UP Film Center are the thriller Babagwa (6 p.m.) on Sept. 16 (through UP Samaskom), and Ces Evangelista’s Amor Y Muerte (7 p.m.), an erotic 16th Century period drama, on Sept. 25. (Call 0915-370-2221 or 0922-889-1377 for details).

Meanwhile, at the Umali Hall of UP Los Baños, Debosyon (5 p.m.) and Sana Dati (7:30 p.m.) will be shown on Sept. 10; while Purok 7 (5 p.m.) and several short films (Missing, Onang, Taya, The Houseband’s Wife and Sa Wakas, 7:30 p.m.) will be screened on Sept. 11. On Sept. 12, to be shown are Cinemalaya’s opening film Jazz in Love, a documentary by Baby Ruth Villarama about a gay man who studies German in preparation for the visit of his German lover, will be shown at 5 p.m., followed by Transit at 7:30 p.m. (For details contact the Pelikulab secretariat at 0908-355-4620 or 0915-113-8350, or e-mail

Over at Manila’s Taft Avenue, Sana Dati will be screened today at UP Manila and at DLSU-Manila on Sept. 20. Debosyon is supposed to be screened at DLSU on Oct. 12 though it is not yet confirmed, and at SM Naga on Sept. 12 "to usher its weekly Peñafrancia Festival."

So far, the Cinemalaya films that have had theatrical runs are Ekstra, Instant Mommy and Diplomat Hotel, all produced by Josabeth Alonso’s Quantum films.

Other Cinemalaya films that will get commercial runs are Babagwa starting Sept. 18 -- "in select theaters nationwide" said its director and writer Jason Paul Laxamana -- and Sana Dati starting Sept. 25.

Ekstra, which has screen legend Vilma Santos playing an extra in a telenovela, will have its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, with additional screenings on Sept. 10 and 15; and screenings in key US cities starting Sept. 15, said the film’s director Jeffrey Jeturian and actress Ruby Ruiz (who was named the Best Supporting Actress in Cinemalaya’s Directors’ Showcase).

Rekorder director Mikhail Red said he will announce on Sept. 19 where his film will have its international premiere. The film’s producer, Pamela Reyes, said that it cannot be disclosed at the moment. Rekorder tells of a man who illegally records films in cinemas who unwittingly records a crime, then downloads the film which goes viral.

In October, Babagwa will go to the Vancouver, Warsaw and Hawaii film festivals said its director. According to the Vancouver International Film Festival web site, Babagwa will be screened at the Vancity Theater on Oct. 1, and at the International Village #8 on Oct. 2. The film’s Facebook page states that it "is a nominee for the Dragons and Tigers Award."

Over at Korea’s Busan International Film Festival -- which will run from Oct. 3 to 12 -- Transit will be competing with 11 other Asian films under the New Currents section which introduces "the work of upcoming directors who are leading the way for Asian Cinema." Jazz in Love will also premiere at Busan.

On the third week of October, both Debosyon and Babagwa will be at the Hawaii International Film Festival. Debosyon will be screened on Oct. 12 and 15, said it director Alvin B. Yapan. Babagwa will be shown on Oct. 16 and 19.

According the Babagwa Facebook page, "Babagwa is the only film from the Philippines that’s been selected for the narrative competition and is thus eligible for the Halekulani Golden Orchid Award."

It also says that Babagwa will participate in the Warsaw Film Festival for the competition "1-2," which is "for first and second films by directors from all over the world." It is said that the Warsaw Film Festival is "one of the 14 FIAPF-accredited competitive full-length feature film festivals all over the world."

Rekorder’s producer Pamela Reyes remarked, "I am happy that the films this year are getting into different film festivals. It’s always nice to see Filipino films doing good in the international (film) circuit." -- Susan Claire Agbayani