THE 13th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival may have just ended with Tred Monteras II’s rap battle film, Respeto, claiming the top honors – Best Film, Best Cinematography and Audience Choice Awards – but the country’s premiere film festival is already preparing for its 14th run as it announces the 10 finalists for the full-length category for 2018.

The 2018 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival will run from Aug. 3 to 12.

Denise O’Hara returns to the festival with Ang Mga Bisita ni Mamang which tells of the story of the titular character: an old woman who struggles against the senility of old age, so she can be with her unmarried middle-aged son. Ang Mga Bisita ni Mamang was initially named as one of the finalists of the 2016 Cinemalaya Main Competition but dropped out of competition.

Ms. O’Hara previously co-directed Sundalong Kanin with Janice O’Hara – that film won the Audience Choice Award at the 2014 Cinemalaya.

Another returning director is Martika Ramirez Escobar who previously won Best Short Film at the festival’s 2015 edition with Pusong Bato. This year, she comes with a full-length feature – Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago, a fantasy film about Leonor Reyes, the only female writer of Filipino action movies, who falls into an irreversible coma after an accident and is transported to a 1980s classic Filipino action flick playing on a TV at the hospital lobby.

The other festival entries are:

Babae At Baril by Rae Red, about a girl whose life changes drastically when she finds a gun on the street and discovers the power that comes with owning one. She eventually learns the reality when she actually uses it.

Kung Paano Hinihintay Ang Dapithapon by Carlo Enciso Catu, which tells the story of a lady at the twilight of her life who suddenly receives a call from her estranged husband who is asking forgiveness from her and their son.

Kuya Wes by James Robin Mayo, which tells of a man working in a money transfer company who finds himself “in a relationship” with a regular client, a married woman who suffers from marital woes.

Liway by Kip Oebanda is about a notorious NPA rebel in Negros whose beauty is legendary and tactics, unparalleled. The film is based on the real story of the director’s mother.

ML by Benedict Mique, Jr., is about Carlos, who meets an old resident in their village who was a soldier during the Marcos regime. Carlos’s life changes one night after learning how Colonel cruelly tortured student activists.

Pan De Salawal by Che Espiritu tells the story of a lonely, sick baker and his equally sick neighbors who are all battling for dear life and hoping a miracle comes along the riles.

Pilot by Dexter Hemedez and Allan Ibañez deals with the challenging, painful, rewarding yet at the same time unrewarding world of soap opera writing.

Pinay Beauty by Jay Abello tells the story of a debt-ridden man whose loan shark makes him a deal – introduce the loan shark to actress Lovi Poe in exchange for clearing the debt.

The finalists will each receive a P750,000 production grant from the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Cinemalaya Foundation.

Established in 2005, Cinemalaya is an all-digital film festival and competition that aims to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers.

Through the years, it has supported the production of 136 full feature independent films and 118 short films, many of which have won awards in local and international competitions and festivals. – ZBC