Riding the Waves: 15 Years of Cinemalaya (Hardbound)


Riding the Waves, 15 Years of Cinemalaya revisits the past. The essays in the first edition remain intact, but there are new essays that were commissioned. Lito Zulueta continues his review of the full-length films in competition with “Cinemalaya 2014-2019: The Indie Flame Burns Brighter.” During that period, there were five editions of Cinemalaya full-length features; in 2015, Cinemalaya had some issues with funding and the festival during that year was limited to the short film entries, the documentaries, and other special screenings. For the foreign perspective, Max Tessier, an avid follower of Philippine Cinema, writes “A European/French Look at Cinemalaya.” Tessier discusses what films appeal to a European viewer or a French critic like him. Another perspective is provided by Ben Suzuki, entitled “Independent Counterattack: Philippine Cinema and Her Self-Portrait as Seen by an Awakened Japanese Citizen.” Basing his essay on a book in Japanese he had recently published, Suzuki avidly watches the films that paint images of the country and its people and presents his analysis from the perspective of a Japanese who happens to be a long-time observer of Filipino films and culture. Jose Javier Reyes, a prolific filmmaker who is now actively involved with Cinemalaya in overseeing the production of the grantees’ films, looks at some of the outstanding screenplays of the festival in “Writing in the Spirit of Independent Filmmaking,” while Marjorie Evasco, poet and academician, takes a closer look at some women Cinemalaya filmmakers in “Indie Women Directors: Telling Stories that Matter.” A major oversight in the first edition is the absence of an essay about the Cinemalaya short films; we are correcting that oversight in this new edition. Although it is not possible to write about all 148 short films in competition from 2005 to 2019, I hope that my essay “Cinemalaya Short Films: Ripples Rushing Like Waves” will do justice to the importance of short films in Cinemalaya; certainly, the short films in competition are not merely added features to the festival. Michael Kho Lim, who focuses his research on film marketing, contributes his expertise in “The Philippine Film Distribution Landscape.” Finally, in “What I Miss about Cinemalaya,” Chris Millado, Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, shares his thoughts on the Cinemalaya experience that could not be replicated by an online edition. Besides these essays, the reader can still refer to the equally interesting topics written for the first edition by Doreen Yu, Lito Zulueta, Bayani San Diego, Philip Cheah, and Jessica Zafra.


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Publication Date: 2021