THE CineFilipino Film Festival has announced the finalists for its fourth installment. Organized by Cignal TV and Unitel Productions, Inc, the film festival will showcase stories in feature length, shorts, and series categories by young and aspiring Filipino filmmakers.

“We may find the next great Filipino filmmaker, as well as the next great Filipino film, in the festival,” CineFilipino Festival Director Madonna Tarrayo was quoted as saying in a press release. “CineFilipino supports the celebration of 100 years of Philippine cinema, and we’re always on the lookout for exceptional talent that can help drive the art and the industry in the present and future.”

Eight finalists from over 100 entries were chosen for the Feature Length category. They are: Jopy Arnaldo’s 27 EXP, which centers on a boy who uses a disposable camera to move on from love lost; Charlson Ong and Angelo R. Lacuesta’s Cargo, about a Tausug fast-boat pilot who gets involved in a murder; Sue Aspiras’ Homecoming, about a young diwata who gets a dazzling homecoming; Christopher Gozum’s Ilikdem Mo So Matam (Close Your Eyes), about A Filipina filmmaker in Seoul who enters into a forbidden relationship; Steven Paul Evangelio’s Maya-maya Paparito Na, about a family’s Christmas reunion which is interrupted by a devastating storm; JP Habac’s Olsen’s Day, which follows a production assistant who travels with a strange old man and his son whom threatens him but at the same time, gives him the answers he seeks; Rob Jara’s Ouroboros, a coming-of-age drama about a young man who waits 20 years to avenge his father’s death; and Dolly Dulu’s The Boy Foretold by the Stars, about a gay high school student driven by a fortuneteller’s predictions to prove to a boy that they are destined to be together.

The eight finalists each recieved a P2-million grant to be produced.

Competition head and film director Jose Javier Reyes noted that the film’s representation of being Filipino, how it caters to the Filipino audience, and the fresh perspective of young directors were the criteria for choosing the films. “We do not make films for international film festivals, we make films for Filipinos,” Mr. Reyes said during a press conference on Nov. 21 at Cities Events Place in Quezon City.

Hindi magkakaroon ng bagong hugis at hindi tutugma sa antas ng panahon ang mga pelikula kung hindi ito magbibigay ng pagkakataon sa mga bagong boses, pananaw, at pangarap ng ating mga filmmakers (films will not gain a new form and suit the times if we do not provide a chance to the new voices, insights, and dreams of our filmmakers),” he added.

For the Series category, the 10 finalists are: Jeremy Luke Bolatag’s B124; Christian Mark Vidallo’s Balete: The Animated Series; Rob Jara’s Delikado; Kris Ulrich and Maze Mirada’s Life After College; Ronald Van Angelo A. Dulatre’s Manila Encounters; Dustin Celestino’s Philippine Gothic: Habang Buhay; Ronald Batallones’ Raket; Efren P. Malabanan’s Sa Pusod ng Dagat; Carlo Obispo’s The Junkyard Hippies; and Jelani Maniago’s Tindero.

These finalists will be pitching their stories to a panel made up of SM Lifestyle Entertainment SAVP of Ad and Corporate Sales Isabelle Santillan, filmmaker and producer Perci Intalan, Viva Communications Producer and AVP for TV Production Tess Fuentes, and screenwriter and filmmaker Wanggo Gallaga. Five of the pitches will be shortlisted and be granted a budget for production.

Ms. Tarrayo noted that the selected series are those that have a potential for succeeding seasons.

Meanwhile, the nine finalists in the Shorts category are: Dolly Dulu’s 7-Year Itch; Dexter Paul de Jesus’ Alex & Aki; Claudia Fernando’s Ang Alamat ng Sari-Saring Sari Store; Zsarina P. Lacumba’s Ang’gulo (Unclear); Eluigi Macalintal and James Garcia’s Delta; Lorys Plaza and James Hermoso’s Kita (nalang) Duha; Noel Tonga, Jr.’s Memento Mori; Ronald Dulatre and Elaiza Rivera’s Tayo (Stand Up); and Reeden Fajardo’s Quing Lalam Ning Aldo (Under the Sun).

The full length feature and short films will be shown in selected cinemas in May next year, while the shortlisted series will air on Cignal TV.

For more information, visit or — Michelle Anne P. Soliman