THE FILM Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has announced the entries for this year’s CineSpectra, a short film festival “that aim to break the stigmas on HIV and AIDS in the country,” according to a press release.

The festival, which runs from Aug. 26 to 27 at the TriNoma Mall in Quezon City and from Aug. 28 to 30 in the FDCP Cinematheques in Manila, Iloilo, and Davao, will feature 10 short films that “challenge perceptions and enlighten Filipinos about HIV and Aids and their impact on society and the country today,” said the release.

CineSpectra is done in partnership with the EON Foundation, the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines (DGPI) and Love Yourself.

“The advocacy of Film Development Council of the Philippines right now — which is very much aligned with EON Foundation’s goal — is to make sure that the messages and the films that are coming out from CineSpectra is not just to finish the film. There was a film lab and film education component,” Mary Liza Dino-Seguerra, chairman and CEO of the FDCP said during a press conference on August 14 at the Kandle Café in Quezon City.

The call for entries commenced at the end of February and those chosen as official entries were given P70,000 grant money to complete their films.

The shortlisted applicants also attended several workshops and topics about HIV/AIDS and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) alongside film labs about film pitching, script development, production, and post-production.

The FDCP announced that 10 of the 97 entries submitted were chosen as finalists. Each short film is no more than five minutes in length.

One of the film entries will be part of the Sine Kabataan component of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) 2019 which highlights works by young filmmakers. Each Sine Kabataan short film is paired with a full-length feature. PPP runs from September 13 to 19 in cinemas nationwide.

The entries are: A by Roylan Modina; Alex and Aki by Dexter Paul De Jesus; Ang Gasgas na Plaka ni Lolo Bert by Janina Gacosta; Doon sa Isang Sulok by Alfredo Tapang, Jr.; Guhit by Kyle Jumayne Francisco; Ikaw Din?! by John Aaron Alsol; Panihapon by Christopher Hubahib; Quieter is Louder by Kathleen Gonzales; Taya by John Arthur Mercader; and Taym Pers, Pers Taym by Ma. Ceazara Vidallo.

The CineSpectra opening film will be BPM (Beats per Minute) by Robin Campillo which won the Grand Prix Prize at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The film is about homosexuality and the AIDS epidemic set in France in the 1990s.

The festival will also feature a panel discussion on the opening film’s role on HIV and AIDS awareness.

Aside from BPM, the festival will be screening Mga Batang Poz by Chris Martinez which tells the story of HIV-positive teens on its second day. Mga Batang Poz is an original series from the iWant streaming service re-edited into a film. — Zsarlene B. Chua

CineSpectra runs from Aug. 26 to 27 at the TriNoma Mall in Quezon City and from Aug. 28 to 30 in FDCP Cinematheques in Manila, Iloilo, and Davao. Admission is free. For more information and for the complete screening schedule, visit the FDCP Facebook page.