UPDATE: Last January it was announced that CineFilipino will take place from June 26 to July 3, 2013.
However, during the September 10 press conference of CineFilipino, it was revealed that the 1st edition of this film fest will run from September 18-24, 2013. Venues this year are Newport Cinemas at Resorts World Manila, Lucky Chinatown Mall and Gateway Cineplex. Entries will also be screened at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri-la Plaza Mall from September 21-22.
CineFilipino is a new film festival that will show the works of its pioneer batch starting this 2013.
Its mission is “to seek out, support and develop new cinematic works of artistic merit by up‐and-coming and established filmmakers that help define the human experience through a Filipino perspective.”
Spearheaded by the PLDT-Smart Foundation, MediaQuest, Studio 5 (the movie arm of TV5) and Unitel Entertainment, CineFilipino gives a production grant of P1.5 million each to the eight chosen filmmakers.
“We are at the threshold of producing eight new films that I believe have the potential to be future Filipino classics,” declared CineFilipino filmfest director Vincent Nebrida during the official press launch held at the Passion restaurant at the Maxim’s Hotel, Resorts World Manila.
Mr. Nebrida has high hopes for the pioneer batch of CineFilipino. He said, “Gusto namin na mapanood ito ng maraming tao at makarating sa maraming festivals. Gusto namin ma max out ang potential ng pelikula nila. Yung mga pinili namin, hindi namin sinasadya, but there is something for everyone. May dalawang coming-of-age love stories—yung isa straight, yung isa girl who falls in love with an older woman; may dalawang comedies; may psycho-thriller; may docu-drama; and there is a drama with music and a lot of youthful appeal.
“Gusto namin ang mga films na magugustuhan ng madla.”
Out of 146 submitted entries, the 8 finalists are as follows:
1. Miguel “Mike” Alcazaren — Puti (Achromatopsia) - a psycho-thriller about a forger who figures in a freak car accident that caused him to develop achromatopsia. This condition renders the person to see only the colors black/white/gray and nothing else)
2. Ato Bautista – Mga Alaala Ng Tag-Ulan (a coming-of-age love story of a young man‘s first encounter with love, romance and heartbreak)
3. Sari Dalena and Kiri Dalena — The Guerilla Is A Poet (this narrative film has elements of a documentary in depicting an activist‘s journey during Martial Law until his capture in the mountains and the nine years of imprisonment that followed, leading to his birth as a poet)
4. Sigrid Andrea Bernardo – Ang Huling Cha-cha Ni Anita (tells the story of a 12-year-old girl who falls in love with a 35-year-old woman; years later, a girlhood crush blossoms during the fiesta of Santa Clara in Obando, Bulacan)
5. Janice Perez — The Muses (singer Kitchie Nadal conceptualized the plot, which is inspired by the Biblical story of Martha and Mary; The Muses' vocalist, Marthe, discovers hidden truths about fame, music, family, and herself when her guitarist younger sister, Marie, does not show up at the all-important awards night of the music industry)
6. Mes de Guzman — Ang Kwento Ni Mabuti (features a healer named Mabuti who finds a bag containing P5 million)
7. Randolph Longjas — Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin (a cross-cultural comedy about a Filipino-American couple who have to deal with superstitious in-laws, immigration laws, and an unexpected pregnancy)
8. Byron “Ron” Bryant — Bingoleras (a comedy about six single women whose lives intersect when a bingo marathon is launched in their church for the barangay fiesta)
Director: Miguel “Mike” Alcazaren
Puti depicts the story of a forger who loses his sense of color because of a freak car accident. While recuperating, he starts seeing strange images.
The international title of the movie, Achromatopsia, refers to a rare hereditary vision disorder wherein the person can only see the colors black, white and gray.
Direk Mike explained the struggle to be faced by the lead character: “Since forger siya, hindi niya ma-distinguish ang colors. He also cannot differentiate reality from imagination.” He revealed that this movie can be considered his tribute to Mike de Leon’s suspense-drama Itim (1976). “Visually and yung style ng pelikula ay gagawin kong parang homage kay Mike De Leon, but the story is very different."
Puti, on the other hand, has horror elements since its underlying theme is about life and death.
Direk Mike is a freelance TV commercial director who has won several Ad Congress awards. He also won First Prize for a screenplay in Pilipino during the 2007 Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature.
Mga Alaala ng Tag-ulan
Director: Renato “Ato” Bautista
Mga Alaala Ng Tag-Ulan is a coming-of-age love story of a young man‘s first encounter with love, romance and heartbreak, told in bits and pieces of poetic and melancholic memories that began on one rainy night.
Direk Ato recalled, “The script was written seven years ago. It’s a coming-of-age story of a boy named Santi who is dealing with his first love, first kiss, first everything. It’s a combination of the pains and frustrations about love.”
Direk Ato has won acclaim and recognition for his films such as Blackout (2007) and Carnivore (2008).
The Guerilla Is A Poet
Co-directors: Sari Dalena and Kiri Dalena
According to Kiri, “The Guerilla Is A Poet is about an aging revolutionary who is in the twilight years of his life. He takes us back to his youth when they believed they could chance society and change the world.”
This film will make use a non-linear type of storytelling to depict the young Jose Ma. Sison who eventually became the founding chairperson of the re-established Communist Party of the Philippines. It will depict his life during Martial Law until his capture in the mountains and the nine years of imprisonment that followed, leading to his birth as a poet.
Ang Huling Cha-cha Ni Anita
Director: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Sigrid Andrea Bernardo says she wrote the script of Ang Huling Cha-cha Ni Anita eight years ago. She says, “It’s about a 12-year-old girl who falls in love with a 35-year-old woman. I wanted to make a feature-length film about women’s desires on how to be independent, to love freely, and to have children or be childless. The setting is in Obando, Bulacan where they have the fertility dance.”
Director: Janice Perez
Janice Perez is a former accountant based in New York. When she met Kitchie Nadal four years ago in New York, the singer asked Janice’s help in creating this film.
“The original story concept was really hers,” says Janice about Kitchie. “She will also play the younger sister in the movie.
"[The Muses] is a modern-day adaptation of the Bible story of Martha and Mary, the two sisters in the gospel of Luke, but it's set in the world of the Philippine rock music industry."
The movie tells a story of sibling rivalry in the music business. The Muses' vocalist, Marthe, discovers hidden truths about fame, music, family, and herself when her guitarist younger sister, Marie, does not show up at the all-important awards night of the music industry.
Direk Janice pointed out that their film aims to show that “family dynamics change when someone gets fame.”
Janice’s directorial debut, Sabongero (2009), was screened at the short film corner at the 2009 Festival de Cannes.
Ang Kwento Ni Mabuti
Director: Mes de Guzman
According to Mes de Guzman, “ang konsepto ng pelikula ay paano ba tayo maging mabuting tao? Tungkol ito sa isang nanay na nakapulot ng P5 milyong piso at ano ang gagawin niya rito. Set ito sa Nueva Vizcaya. May mga pwersa na pipigil para isauli niya ang pera.
“Minimalist ang approach at sana non-actors yung maging artista ko.”
Direk Mes helmed Diablo, which won four awards in the 2012 Cinemalaya: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress (for Ama Quiambao) and Best Cinematography (for Tristan Salas).
Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin
Director: Randolph Longjas
This cross-cultural comedy is about a Filipino-American couple who have to deal with superstitious in-laws, immigration laws, and an unexpected pregnancy.
Randolph Longjas pointed out: “Na-conceptualize ito sa Greenbelt 3 kung saan nandun ang Café Havana na kung saan maraming foreigners na kasama ang mga Filipinas. We realized that it’s a part of society and even our family. In real life, I have a cousin who got married to a foreigner.
“Our film is a celebration of life and love between a couple through communication gaps, expressions, Filipino superstitions, and realizing the American Dream."
Director: Byron “Ron” Bryant
This comedy features six single women whose lives intersect when a bingo marathon is launched in their church for the barangay fiesta.
“Tungkol ito sa anim na babae na nabulabog ang buhay nila. Buhay nila na jumble-jumble, naghalo-halo. Comedy siya, magulo, topsy-turvy,” said Direk Ron.
In 2009, he made his first full-length documentary The Cinema of Celso Ad Castillo as an ode to the late veteran director.