The Cinemalaya Retrospective Section gives a chance for audiences to experience the award-winning films in the last edition of the country’s biggest independent film festival. This year, seven films – 4 full-lengths and 4 shorts – will return to the big screen during the Cinemalaya run from August 4 to 13, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and Tanghalang Igancio B. Gimenez (CCP Blackbox Theater).
Featured films in the Restrospective Section are:
The Baseball Player, directed by Carlo Obispo. The Cinemalaya 18’s Best Film follows the journey of a 17-year-old Moro child soldier whose father was killed in an all-out war in 2000 as he dreams to become a baseball player. Training extensively with his coach, he makes it to the final tryout of a local university. Unfortunately, another all-out war against Moro rebels breaks out in 2003, and he is confronted with making a choice between pursuing his dream or fighting in the war. The film also won Best Screenplay (Carl Obispo), Best Editing (Zig Dulay), and Best Actor (Tommy Alejandrino).
Blue Room, directed by Ma-an L. Asuncion-Dagñalan. Rebel Rebel, an indie rock band composed of woke albeit sheltered teens, gets its biggest break at a prestigious local music festival. But after their celebratory night at the local bar, they are arrested for drug possession. Instead of the standard procedures, they were hauled to the Blue Room, a VIP detention area where they can bribe their way out through rogue cops. The band members have to decide whether to use their privilege to go on with their lives or to own up to what they had been preaching. Blue Room won various awards in Cinemalaya 2022, including the Special Jury Award, Best Director (Ma-an L. Asuncion-Dagñalan), Best Supporting Actor (Soliman Cruz), Best Cinematography (Neil Daza), and Best Production Design (Marxie Maolen Fadul).
12 Weeks, directed by Anna Isabelle Matutina. After ending her toxic relationship with her boyfriend Ben, 40-year-old Alice discovers she is pregnant. With her age and current relationship status, her first instinct is to have the pregnancy terminated. As her body undergoes dramatic changes, Alice struggles and needs to decide what to do. Will she slide back into the arms of Ben? What will this mean for the child growing inside her? The film bagged the NETPAC Award and Best Actress (Max Eigenmann). It was also nominated for Best Picture at the 2022 QCinema International Film Festival.
Kargo, directed by TM Malones. When her entire family perished in a motorcycle accident at a rough highway in Maasin, Iloilo, Sara crashed into a deep depression, which was gradually replaced with an overpowering need to avenge them. Believing that her husband and daughter were murdered, she searches for the man who killed her entire family to find some closure. But at the end of her journey, she untangles something she did not quite expect – a discovery that could profoundly change her entire life. Kargo received the Audience Choice Award at the 2022 Cinemalaya. It won Best Film at the 2023 Porto International Film Festival-Fantasporto in Portugal.
If you miss the award-winning short films, this is your chance to watch them again. Featured short films are:
Black Rainbow, directed by Zig Dulay. Itan, a 12-year-old Aeta, is told to quit school and help his father in planting mountain crops so they can save up for the delivery of his pregnant mother. The young boy finds a flicker of hope when he learns about a scholarship opportunity that he could possibly receive on two crucial conditions: one, he has to learn how to operate a computer and two, he has to convince his father to allow him to return to school. Only then would he be able to realize his long-time goal to read through all the documents the Aeta community had been receiving. Only then could he understand why they were being forced to give up ancestral lands up in the mountain to give way for mining. Black Rainbow was Cinemalaya 2022’s Best Short Film. It also received the NETPAC Award and Best Screenplay (Zig Dulay). The film received nominations for Short Movie of the Year and Short Movie Director of the Year at the 2023 PMPC Star Awards for Movies.
Dikit, directed by Gabriela Serrano. Living in isolation and yearning for human connection, a woman afflicted with a dark curse develops an obsession with her new neighbors, a young couple with a secret of their own. As the days pass, she begins to witness things between them that ultimately force her to confront her nature, and perhaps save a life in the process. Loosely based on a lost silent film by Jose Nepomuceno, Dikit reimagines classic Philippine folklore into a contemporary diptych of feminine bodies, rage, and freedom. Dikit was awarded the Special Jury Award and Best Director for Short Film (Gabriela Serrano) at Cinemalaya 2022, and Special Mention at the 2022 Singapore International Film Festival.
Mga Handum Nga Nasulat Sa Baras (The Dreams That Are Written On The Sand), directed by Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay and Richard Jeroui Salvadico. Three young boys wake up to an announcement on a new educational system where parents must take an exam to determine whether they are fit to teach their children. Knowing that their parents are not as privileged and knowledgeable as they are, Makoy, Kaloy and Buknoy try their best to teach their parents what they need to know for their exam. The film depicts how parents become teachers to their children, and how children become teachers to their parents. This film received the Audience Choice Award in Cinemalaya 2022.
Catch all the competing and exhibition films at the Cinemalaya International Film Festival happening on August 4 to 13, at PICC and TIG. For more info, check the CCP website (www.culturalcenter.gov.ph) and official social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, and YouTube.