Slew of foreign and local films to be shown at QCinema festival

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NOW ON its sixth year, the QCinema International Film Festival offers a slew of award-winning foreign films and five original Filipino films as it runs from Oct. 21-30 in select cinemas in Metro Manila.

Opening this year’s film festival is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters (2018), which is about a family of petty criminals living in Tokyo who unofficially adopt a girl they found on the streets. The film won Mr. Kore-eda the Palme d’Or at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.

“When we saw [Shoplifters] in Cannes, we said we’d bring it for QCinema,” Eduardo “Ed” J. Lejano, festival director and executive director of the Quezon City Film Development Council (QCFDC), said during a press conference on Oct. 5 at the Gloria Maris restaurant in Quezon City.

This year, the festival presents three competition sections: the festival’s main Circle Competition section for independent features where filmmakers are given production grants of P1.5 million each; the Asian Next Wave section which features new works from Asian filmmakers; and the RainbowQC section which features a selection of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) international films, done in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

For the main Circle section, the festival named five original works: Billie & Emma by Samantha Lee, about a girl who gets pregnant while she falls in love with another girl; DOG DAYS by Timmy Harn, about a half-black, half-Filipino boy named after the famed Michael Jordan who dreams of becoming a professional basketball player; Hintayan ng Langit by Dan Villegas, an adaptation of the one-act play by poet Juan Miguel Severo about a woman who gets to purgatory only to meet an ex-boyfriend in the same place; Masla a Papanok (The Great Bird) by Guttierez Mangansakan, a film set in 1891 Maguindanao where a town’s life is thrown into disarray by the appearance of the Great Bird; and, Oda sa Wala by Dwein Baltazar, about a spinster who befriends a corpse.

“We cast queer people for the queer roles. This is an important step towards inclusivity,” said Ms. Lee of her film.

In the same way, Mr. Mangansakan announced that most of the cast and crew for his film comes from Mindanao and that the film is “not an epic” but an intimate story about Maguindanao.

In the festival’s Asian Next Wave section, the entries are: A Land Imagined (2018) by Yeo Siew Hua about a police investigator in Singapore trying to find a missing migrant worker; Long Day’s Journey into Night (2018) by Bi Gan, a Chinese film about a solitary man haunted by loss and regret; Malila: The Farewell Flower (2018) by Anoocha Boonyawatana, a Thai film about a man who returns to his old village to care for an ex-boyfriend diagnosed with cancer; The Great Buddha+ (2018) by Huang Hsin-yao, a Taiwanese film about a night watchman and his friend who uncover an unsavory video of their boss; The Third Wife (2018) by Ashleigh Mayfair, a Vietnamese film about a 14-year-old who becomes the third wife of a wealthy landowner; and, The Seen and Unseen (2017) by Kamila Andini, set in Indonesia, the films tells of a girl who tries to cope with the death of her twin brother using her imagination.

Meanwhile, the RainbowQC section features six films: Tinta Bruta (2018) by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon, about a repressed gay man who finds freedom in his online strip performances; The Wound (2017) by John Tengrove, about a South African male initiation ritual and the homosexuality of the boys’ mentors; The Heiresses (2018) by Marcelo Martinessi, about two lesbians who, after having been in a relationship for 30 years, separate because of financial difficulties; Sorry Angel (2018) by Christophe Honore, about a student who has an affair with a 39-year-old writer; Knife + Heart (2018) by Yam Gonzales, about a porn producer who tries to film her most ambitious film but her stars are killed one by one; and, 1985 (2018) by Yen Tan, about a man who returns to Texas to tell his parents he has AIDS.

Aside from the competition section, QCinema also presents a documentary section called DocQC which will feature the films All Grown Up by Wena Sanchez, about living with a sibling with special needs, and Pag-ukit sa Paniniwala by Hiyas Baldemor Bagabaldo, about the woodcarvers of Paete, Laguna. The documentaries were give a P300,000 seed grant from the festival.

The festival’s Screen International section features Chang-dong Lee’s Burning (2018) which won the 2018 FIPRESCI Award at the Cannes Film Festival; Faces Places (2017) by Agnes Varda and JR; Gaspar Noe’s Climax (2018), which won the CICAE Award at the Cannes 2018’s Directors’ Fortnight; Cold War (2018) by Pawel Pawlikowski which won Best Director in the 2018 Cannes festival; and Manta Ray (2018) by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng, which won Best Film at the 2018 Best Horizons festival.

Restored films will also be shown at the film festival in its Digitally Remastered section. The films include All That Jazz (1979) by Bob Fosse, Footloose (1984) by Herbert Ross, and Saturday Night Fever (1977) by John Badham.

A selection of French classics will also be shown, including And God Created Woman (1956) by Roger Vadim, alongside films from China, Austria, and Denmark including Austria’s Tomcat (2016) by Klaus Handl who will be gracing the festival.

The festival’s closing film will be Piercing (2018) Nicolas Pesce, a horror film about a man who checks into a hotel room to commit the perfect murder.

QCinema will run from Oct. 21 to 30 at the Gateway Mall, Robinsons Galleria, SM City North EDSA, SM Megamall, SM Manila, SM Mall of Asia, Trinoma, and UP Town Center. Tickets cost P150. For more information, visit qcinema.ph. — Zsarlene B. Chua