Still on the high from the Cinemalaya 19 fever, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Cinemalaya Foundation Inc are already gearing up for the 20th edition of the country’s biggest independent film festival in 2024.
Upholding its vision to develop and support the production of cinematic works of Filipino independent filmmakers that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity, the Cinemalaya organizing committee announces the ten (10) full-length finalists who will be competing to be named the Best Film in Cinemalaya 20.
The finalists were selected from the 20 semi-finalists who have undergone the Cinemalaya Film Lab, a three-month-long film-laboratory mentorship program to train the finalists in the different aspects of filmmaking such as scriptwriting, directing, cinematography, performance, editing, production design, sound, music, production management, and promotion strategies, among others.
Here are the 10 finalists of the Main Competition’s Full-Length Category:
ALIPATO BY JL BURGOS
LOGLINE: The brother of missing activist Jonas Burgos bares in this documentary the untold stories behind the confidential leads, damning evidence, and why the disappearance of his brother remains a relevant case today.
ANG TUMANDOK (THE INHABITANTS) BY KAT SUMAGAYSAY AND RICHARD SALVADICO
LOGLINE: Based on real-life trials of the Atis, the indigenous people of Central Panay, and starred by the Atis themselves, ANG TUMANDOK features a 16-year-old chieftain’s daughter as she fights tooth and nail with her people for their ancestral land. The gripping tale takes us deep into the heart of their fight, highlighting their unwavering spirit and their unbreakable bond with the land they call home.
ARIPUEN (THE SERVANT) BY CHRISTOPHER GOZUM
LOGLINE: Stranded for 21 years in a remote mountain village in a Middle Eastern country, 63-year-old Filipina shepherdess Divina Sabangan endures isolation, threats of imprisonment and deportation, homesickness, unpaid salaries, and insanity while clinging to her faith in God and love for her family. But when seven mysterious visitors arrive, they bring challenges and opportunities to finally help her return home to the Philippines.
BALOTA BY KIP OEBANDA
LOGLINE: A land-grabbing tycoon and a former sexy male actor are locked in a tight race for mayor in a small town. When violence erupts, Emmy, a teacher, runs into the wilderness with a ballot box, the last copy of the election results. Emmy and the community try to outsmart and outmaneuver the goons who want the elections to fail.
GULAY LANG MANONG BY BC AMPARADO
LOGLINE: Pilo is a struggling, old vegetable farmer in Benguet. His stoner brother, Ricky, is part of the prominent Benguet Marijuana Cartel and is being trained by his best friend, Razer, a cunning midget and a well-known personality in the underground Ganja community. Amidst the all-out drug war, Ricky falls into the hands of a promising patrolman, Ariel, who is in pursuit of the organization. In a desperate attempt to uncover the cartel, Ariel tasks Pilo to fetch Razer in exchange for Ricky’s head. Unable to fulfill the terms in his attempt, Pilo now pledges his alliance with Ariel, and together they try and catch Razer to expose the Cartel and its members learning shocking secrets as they burrow deep into the world of this so-called “drug”.
KANTIL (TRENCH) BY JOSHUA CAESAR MEDROSO
LOGLINE: While facing threats of demolition, a coastal community of informal settlers in Purok 12, Tibungco, Davao City discovers a strange, unearthly shell by the sea. This makes them more vulnerable to menacing powers set out to destroy their homes and their humanity.
KONO BASHO (THIS PLACE) BY JAIME PACENA II
LOGLINE: An introspective journey of a Filipino son attending the funeral of his estranged OFW father in a city in Japan that is rebuilding from the aftermath of the March 2011 tsunami.
LOVE CHILD BY JONATHAN JURILLA
LOGLINE: Young, unmarried couple, AILA and PAO must agree on certain terms on how to properly raise their son, who is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), if they wish to keep their relationship afloat. Or would they rather heed the call of their unfulfilled dreams?
THE ERRAND BY SARGE LACUESTA
LOGLINE: A driver is sent on a simple errand: to pick up a designer t-shirt and a tin of viagra for his boss, who is shacked up in a hotel with his lover. Simple as it sounds, the road trip crisscrosses the chasms of time, class, and character.
THE WEDDING DANCE BY JULIUS LUMIQUED
LOGLINE: In 1942, a Kalinga woman is personally invited by her husband, a warrior of their tribe, to his new wedding dance.