The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival aims to bring the most diverse cinematic experiences to its audiences with the Special Screening Section, featuring films and theaters shorts from the Asian Film Alliance Network (AFAN) and ShoutOut Pinas 2022 by Pelikulove, as well as short films by Cinemalaya alumni and filmmakers Ida Anita del Mundo.
Curated by Lorna Tee, the AFAN subsection highlights internationally recognized Asian short films –Grandma by Anthony Chen; Guest by Yoon Ga Eun; Kara, the Daughter of a Tree by Edwin; It’s Easier to Raise Cattle by Amanda Nell Eu; and Mountain Cat by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir.
Director Anthony Chen tackles the impending end of a loved one and the struggle of coming to terms with it as Grandma’s family gathers by her deathbed to send her off. Grandma received a special mention at the 60th Cannes Film Festival, the Concours d’Excellence Award from the International Short Film Festival of L’Aquila, Italy, and the Best Short Film at the Asian Film Archive Young Jury Awards.
In Yoon Ga Eun’s Guest, 16-year-old Ja-gyung barges into the house of her dad’s mistress and encounters her two little kids. Guest has traveled the international short film circuit in South Korea, Brazil, and Canada and has won the Best Director at the 5th KT&G Sangsangmadang Great Short Film Festival and the Vision Award at 13th Seoul International Youth Film Festival in 2011. In 2012, Guest won the Grand Prix award at the 34th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France and participated in festivals in the United States, the Czech Republic, Italy, England, Ukraine and Australia.
Edwin’s Kara, the Daughter of a Tree is about a little girl living in an isolated place. Her father disappeared after Ronald killed her mother. A journalist’s invasion of her life makes her decide to seek out Ronald and ask him the ultimate question. Kara, the Daughter of a Tree was the first Indonesian film selected at the Director’s Fortnight in the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. It was likewise part of the Short: Asian Hot Houses at the 2006 International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Amanda Nell Eu’s It’s Easier to Raise Cattle tells the story of two teenage outcasts who form an uncanny friendship in their remote village. As one discovers the other’s dark secrets, she observes the changes in her new friend to the point of violence, monstrosity and affection. Eu’s film has participated in eight festivals in 2017, 31 festivals in 2018, and four festivals in 2019. The film received the Best International Short award at the 2018 Lago Film Fest, and the Best Female Filmmaker at the 2018 Vienna Shorts. It’s Easier to Raise Cattle has also received the special mention awards at the 2017 Uppsala International Short Film Festival, the 2018 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, and the 2018 Silhouette Film Festival. In 2019, the film received the Special Citation award from the Ngilngig Fantastic Film Festival.
In Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir’s Mountain Cat, a troubled teenage girl is coerced into seeing a local shaman for spiritual healing. Trapped by ancient beliefs that serve only to pacify her mother, she finds peace in the physical realm by unleashing her repressed, youthful spirit on the unsuspecting shaman when she realizes his true identity. Mountain Cat was part of the Official Selection of Cannes 2020. It has also received the Sonje Award at the 2020 Busan International Film Festival.
AFAN aims to start an informal consultative collective of Asian film agencies with similar visions to work closer within the region and foster development of a stronger Asian film culture. AFAN hopes to reach the younger and enthusiastic audiences attending the Cinemalaya to get to know and appreciate more Asian films and filmmakers.
An anthology of film and theater shorts stringed together, ShoutOut Pinas 2022 by Pelikulove captures the varied situations many Filipino youth face today – their fears, struggles, and triumphs as they try to find their voice vis-à-vis their need for survival. The chosen entries from 62 pitches were partnered with film and theater groups around the country and mentored by a board of festival directors, namely, Ricky Lee, Rody Vera, Jeffrey Jeturian, Issa Manalo Lopez, Raffy Tejada, and Cristina Juan of Sulat-UK.
The anthology includes: How to Make an Effective Campaign Ad by Roman Perez Jr.; No Trespassing by Julius De la Peña and Dada Grifon; When A Manananggal Loves A Man by Neil Arkhe P. Azcuna; Libro for Ransom by Arjanmar H. Rebeta; and Quarantine 5 by Sari Saysay.
How to Make an Effective Campaign Ad features two young videographers who set out to shoot an ad campaign for an imprisoned governor inside the Maximum-Security Prison and discover how it is to fall into the mercy of power.
In No Trespassing, two young journalists travel to Negros Island to cover the killing of sugarcane farmers who are standing up for their land rights and end up with a dangerous dilemma of putting their story, the farmers’, and their own lives at risk.
When A Manananggal Loves A Man tells the story of a young manananggal caught in a relationship with a mortal man is forced to choose between saving and protecting her kind or making a case for her love.
An award-winning broadcast journalist needs to find out the real story behind the 1961 theft for ransom of the most famous novels of Jose Rizal, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, in Libro for Ransom. Pitted against the popularity of new media and the prevalence of fake news, she and her newbie partner do everything beyond the typical documentary to save her show, her reputation, and commitment to truth.
Quarantine 5 tackles an online reunion of ex-student activists turns into a guild-ridden confrontation as they learn of their comrade, recently red-tagged and missing in action at the height of the 2020 pandemic. It turns out to be a spiral of brazen confrontation about their political contradictions, unresolved wounds in their past, disillusionment, and remorse – all surfacing in the face of the looming terror law challenging the power of friendship and shared dreams.
Cinemalaya alumni and filmmaker Ida Anita del Mundo’s Never Forget and Anna, Greta, Sophie, and the Rainforest complete the Cinemalaya Special Screenings Section.
Never Forget is del Mundo’s first venture into the Filipino-American struggle with history, memory, and identity. It centers on Filipino-American Vera, her estranged father Pablo, and undocumented nurse Jhason as they grapple with their discoveries when Pablo’s dementia brings painful memories from his past to the surface.
In Anna, Greta, Sophie, and the Rainforest, three generations of women use technology and memory to bring love and humanity into a desolate, dystopian wasteland. A mother and grandmother share the experience of discovering the forest, rain, and fresh air for the first time with a young girl who has only known a world where none of these exist anymore.
All Special Screenings Section exhibition films will be screened during the Cinemalaya run from August 4 to 13, 2023.
For more information, visit the CCP website (www.culturalcenter.gov.ph) and Cinemalaya website (www.cinemalaya.org). Follow the official CCP and Cinemalaya Facebook pages and other social media accounts in Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok.