The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival champions the development of the Philippine film industry and encourages the creativity and exposure of local filmmakers. Year after year, Cinemalaya presents a myriad of films that push the boundaries of filmmaking in its Exhibition Films Section, while looking back to its roots in Digital Classics: Restored, Remastered Section.
This year, the Exhibition Films Section features three subsections: Anima, which is dedicated to animated films in experimental and documentary genres; Gawad’s Best, showcases the winning films from 34th Gawad Alternatibo; and Next Gen Shorts, screens short films about memory, tradition, and possible futures.
For Anima, the nine featured films are: Black and White Road by Jericho Nepomuceno Maravilla; Ang Liwanag ng Bakunawa by Alvin Joshua A. Gasga; Daligmata Delivers by Minnesota S. Flores; Lingkis by Yvonne Elizabeth G. Salazar and Isabel Margarita P. Valenzuela; I Wanna Be A Tutubi by James Benedict Calleja; Ang Mga Sisiw Sa Kagubatan by Vahn Leinard C. Pascual; Hazmat by Noli Agbayani Manaig; Somewhere I Belong by Jyrah G. Dotarot and Shamy Rasma C. Jailani; and Wetsitales: Aponibolinayen and the Sun by Jade Dandan Evangelista.
For Gawad’s Best, ten films that won first and second places in the four categories of Gawad are grouped into two programs. Program 1 includes experimental and narrative films while Program 2 has the documentary and animation categories.
Program 1, which includes experimental and narrative films, highlights Kasikas Sa Ganiha Ug Unya by Eric Bico and Kuda Bux (1st place); Letters to Our Little Brown Brothers by Noli Agbayani Manaig (1st place); Read-Only Memory by David Corpuz and Camille Sulit (1st place); A Sabbath on the Longest Day of the Year by Edmund H. Telmo (1st place); and Pagbilang Kong Tatlo by Xzy Dumabok (2nd place).
Program 2, features documentary and animation, shows Pasilong by Toni Cañete (1st place); River of Tears and Rage by Marion Montajes (2nd place); Ang Amomonggo sa Aton by Vinjo Intuna (1st place); I, Labyrinth by Jag Garcia (1st place); Black and White Road by Jericho Cedric Nepomuceno Maravilla (2nd place); and Maris by John Gabriel Gantala.
Next Gen also has two programs: Program 1 includes Ikaw at Aking Daigdig by Andre Joachim “Aki” Red; Espansa by Francis Dumalig; Karkarma by Melver Gomez; Ramon’s Special by Angelika Espejo. Program 2 films are: Urimos (Prayer of the Dead) by Joseph Cartago Jr.; #bagets by Lester Cristal; Laki sa Tubig by Janus Victoria; Mary Go Round, Mary Go Round by Vahn Pascual; and Tawa na Lang Tayo by Elian Idioma.
The Digital Classics Section features Direk Jose Javier Reyes’ May Minamahal, a film starring Aga Muchlach and Aiko Melendez. With the sudden death of his father, Carlitos assumes all the responsibilities including paying their debts while providing for the family. Things change when he falls in love with sassy and boyish Monica. Amid his family’s disapproval of his relationship with Monica, Carlitos has to make a choice between his family and the woman he loves.
First introduced in the 2015 edition of the film festival, the Digital Classic is presented in collaboration with the ABS-CBN’s Sagip Pelikula. It aims to feature films that have been restored and remastered to entice a new generation of film enthusiasts to watch and to look into a window to the past.
Catch all these films and more at the Cinemalaya 19: ilumiNasyon, slated on August 4 to 13, 2023, at its new venue, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the CCP Blackbox Theater, and selected Ayala Malls Cinemas.