Arts & Leisure

Cinemalaya gets more mainstream stars

Posted on July 09, 2013

THE FINALISTS to this year’s Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival were announced last week, with more stars from the mainstream movie industry headlining some of the entries. These include Vilma Santos and Alessandra de Rossi.

VILMA SANTOS in a scene from Jeffrey Jeturian’s Ekstra
Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Vice-President and Cinemalaya Festival Director Chris B. Millado acknowledged the growing presence of mainstream movie actors as a sign of the increasing influence of the annual competition to the industry as a whole.

"Since 2005, we all have seen how the festival has evolved into the most exciting and influential festival in the country. It has introduced new voices in filmmaking and launches their careers nationally, and internationally," Mr. Millado told reporters.

"Cinemalaya has enticed the commercial mainstream to cross over and redefine their art and craft. It has hosted the emergence of an in-between world which some filmmakers... labeled as ‘maindie’ -- a liminal sphere straddling and invigorating independent and mainstream cinema," he said.

Now on its ninth year, Cinemalaya will run from July 26 to Aug. 4.

A project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, the CCP, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, and Econolink Investments, Inc., Cinemalaya is an annual all-digital film festival that aims to "discover, encourage, and honor cinematic works of Filipinos filmmakers that boldly interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity."

Cinemalaya’s main competition categories are the New Breed full-length feature category, the Short Feature category featuring works by new directors, as well as the Director’s Showcase, which is a competition among works by established directors.

This year’s finalists in the Director’s Showcase are Jeffrey Jeturian’s Ekstra, which features multiple best actress awardee Vilma Santos; Gil Portes’s Liars starring Alessandra de Rossi (who recently won the Best Actress Award in the First ASEAN International Film Festival in Malaysia); Ces M. Evangelista’s Amor y Muerte; Jerrold Tarog’s Sana Dati; and Adolfo Alix, Jr.’s Porno.

The finalists in the Directors showcase each received a P500,000 seed grant from the Cinemalaya Foundation. The Best Film in the Directors Showcase will receive a prize of P300,000 and the Balanghai Trophy during the festival’s awards night on Aug. 4.

Meanwhile, among the movies that will compete in the New Breed full-length feature category are: Christopher Ad. Castillo’s suspense-horror movie The Diplomat Hotel starring Gretchen Barretto; Leo Abaya’s Instant Mommy starring 2011 Cinemalaya Best Actress winner Eugene Domingo; Alvin Yapan’s Debosyon, featuring Paulo Avelino (who won the Gawad Urian Best Actor trophy for his work in the 2011 Cinemalaya finalist Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwaang Paa); Jason Paul Lacsamana’s Babagwa (The Spider’s Lair); Emmanuel Palo’s David F; Joseph Israel Laban’s Nuwebe; Carlo Obispo’s Purok 7; Eduardo Roy, Jr.’s Quick Change; Mikhail Red’s Rekorder; and Hannah Espia’s Transit.

The 10 finalists each received a P500,000 seed grant from the Cinemalaya Foundation as investment for the production. The Best Full Length Feature Film will receive P200,000 and the Balanghai Trophy.

The New Breed Full Length feature category is open to Filipino filmmakers who have not directed more than three full-length feature films.

The 10 finalists in the Short Feature category are: Bakaw by Ron Segismundo; Katapusang Labok (Last Strike) by Aiess Athina E. Alonso; Missing by Zig Dulay; Onang by JE Tiglao; Para Kay Ama by Relyn A. Tan; Pukpok by Joaquin Pantaleon; Sa Wakas by Nica Santiago; Taya by Adi Bontuyan; The Houseband’s Wife by Paolo O’Hara; and Tutob by Kissa Mari Campano.

The winner of the Short Feature Category will receive a prize of P100,000 and the Balanghai trophy.

This year, the festival films will be screened at the Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa, aside from the Greenbelt 3 cinemas at Ayala Center Makati, the Trinoma Cinemas in Quezon City, and the five screening venues at the CCP.

"We are very happy that we are getting more accessible to movie audiences," Mr. Millado said.

Tickets per screening cost P150. Students with valid IDs get 50% discounts, while senior citizens and government employees with valid IDs get 20%.

Aside from the competition, Mr. Millado said Cinemalaya will feature 70 movies on exhibition presented in the festival’s various sections.

These are the "Ani" section which offers a harvest of the best Filipino indie films made in the past year, a documentary section, a retrospective of the best films honored by the Gawad Urian from 2000-2009, as well as a section paying tribute to the works of the late directors Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Celso Ad Castillo and Eddie Romero.

There will also be other film-related activities such as the Philippine Independent Film Makers Multi-Purpose Cooperative’s Third Manila Film Financing Forum, and the Cinemalaya Film Congress.

For ticket information and screening schedules, call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 and CCP Media Arts at 832-1125 local 1704/05 or visit the CCP Web site at and -- Jeffrey O. Valisno