Ten films for 15th Cinemalaya

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A SURPRISING turn of events as a midwife applies to work abroad, a student’s act of theft turns into viral video, a robot’s friendship and adventure with a young boy, are among the diverse stories that will be told in this year’s Cinemalaya films.

Celebrating 15 years of independent Filipino movies, this year’s film festival will be held nationwide on Aug. 2 to 11.

Since 2005, the film festival has showcased over 1,000 works by independent filmmakers including short and full-length features, documentaries, and art films.

“[This year] political, environmental, social, technological upheavals find their way into the changing phase of independent films,” Cinemalaya President Laurice Guillen said in her speech at the film festival’s launch on July 8 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The festival will open with Lav Diaz’s Ang Hupa (The Halt) on Aug. 2 and close with Kerwin Go’s Mina-Anud on Aug. 11.


As a way of bringing the films to a wider audience, Cinemalaya has partnered with the following micro cinemas to show the films: Cinema Centenario in Quezon City; Cinema ‘76 in Anonas, QC and San Juan; Black Maria in Mandaluyong, the CBRC-Dream Theater in Manila; and the FDCP Cinematheques in Manila, Iloilo, and Davao.

Aside from screenings at various venues in CCP and Metro Manila, the country’s biggest independent film festival will be simultaneously be held on Aug. 7 to 13 at selected Ayala Cinemas and Vista Malls in Pampanga; Naga and Legaspi in Bicol; Bacolod; Iloilo; and Davao.

Ten full-length movies will be shown during the festival. They are:

Ani (The Harvest), directed by Kim Zuniga and Sandro Del Rosario. Set in Bicol in 2050, a 14-year-old orphan boy and a malfunctioning robot go on an adventure to search for magical grains that may cure the boy’s sick father.

Belle Douleur (Beautiful Pain), directed by Joji V. Alonzo. Liz, a 45-year-old clinical psychologist and Josh, a young antique dealer have both recently suffered the loss of family members. When Liz decides to downsize and meets Josh, their loneliness draws them close.

Children of the River, directed by Maricel Cabrera-Cariaga. Inspired by the 2017 Marawi siege, Elias and his three best friends promise to look out for each other even through difficult times.

Edward, directed by Thop Nazareno. Edward is looking after his ailing father in the public hospital. Estranged from the rest of the family, he makes the hospital ward into his own playground. Then he meets Agnes, a young patient with whom he finds comfort.

Fuccbois, directed by Eduardo Roy, Jr. Two beauty pageant contenders’ images and celebrity status online are threatened when an ex-lover exposes a secret on social media.

Iska, directed by Theodore Boborol. Iska is a loving grandmother who looks after her 10-year-old autistic grandson despite being deemed an unfit guardian by the media and government.

John Denver Trending, directed by Arden Rod Condez. An 8th grader’s life is threatened when a video of him stealing an iPad in school is uploaded online.

Malamaya (The Color of Ash), directed by Danica Sta. Lucia and Leilani Cruz. Nora, a 50-year-old single artist, embarks in a May-December affair with a young photographer, failing to realize how the man has invaded her privacy, body, and art.

Pandanggo sa Hukay, directed by Sheryl Rose M. Andes. The film explores the role and voice of women in society and follows a midwife who prepares for her application to work in Saudi Arabia when she finds herself in unfamiliar territory.

Tabon, directed by Xian Lim. Ian returns with his wife and step-daughter to his hometown after the murder of his father, and seeks the help of a senior inspector to investigate the murder as three suspects have their own versions of the truth.

Aside from the full-length films, the festival will also show several short features, namely: Glenn Lowell Forneste Avera’s Disconnection Notice; Harold Lance Pialdal’s Gatilyo (Trigger); Julius Renomeron, Jr.’s Heist School; Norvin De Los Santos’ Hele ng Maharlika (Lullaby of the Free); Gilb Baldoza’s Kontrolado ni Girly ang Buhay N’ya (Girly is in Control of Her Life); Don Senoc’s Sa Among Agwat (In Between Spaces); Francis Guillermo’s Sa Gabing Tanging Liwanag ay Paniniwala (Belief as the Light in Darkness); Shaira Advincula’s Tembong (Connecting); Sheron Dayoc’s The Shoemaker; and, Josef Gacutan’s ‘Wag Mo ‘Kong Kausapin (Please Stop Talking).

The Cinemalaya Film Festival will also be hosting the 31st edition of the Gawad Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video which will screen and select films to compete in various categories. The selected participating entries will be shown on Aug. 3 to 5 at the CCP Dream Theater. The awarding rights for the competition is on Aug. 5, 7 p.m.

Cinemalaya is also introducing the Mini-Versity, a new component envisioned to spur interest about filmmaking among the youth. Interested participants may engage with industry practitioners from Aug. 2 to 11 at the CCP’s Silangan Hall.

Meanwhile, a selection of films will also be screened at the CCP as tribute to the late actor Eddie Garcia, actress Armida Siguion-Reyna, and production designer Cesar Hernandez.

The Cinemalaya Awards Night will be held on Aug. 11, 7 p.m. at the CCP Main Theater.

For more information on the festival, visit,, and the Cinemalaya Facebook page; or contact the CCP Film and Media Arts Division at 832-1125 local 1704 and 1712. Tickets and festival passes are available at the CCP Box Office (832-3704). — Michelle Anne P. Soliman