Handumanan, an indie film starring Chin-Chin Gutierrez, Jason Abalos (right) and Akihiro Sato (left) will be screened in IndieSine starting July 29.

Handumanan  (Remembrance) will compete for the prestigious Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) award. The first full-length film of Seymour Barros Sanchez will compete against eight other films that have been previously announced by the screening committee.  

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The sidebar competition, the first in the Philippines, will be part of the fifth Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival (Cinemalaya Cinco) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  Handumanan  will have its world premiere at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theatre) on July 22, Wednesday, 9 p.m.

Handumanan tells the story of three people who seem to have lost hope of their worlds until their fateful encounter in a resort in Negros Oriental.

It stars Asian Television Awards Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress winner Chin Chin Gutierrez, Gawad Urian Best Actor awardee Jason Abalos, and introducing Japanese-Brazilian model Akihiro Sato. Aside from Negros Oriental, the film has had locations in Zambales, Cavite, and Metro Manila.

Chin-Chin stars as Solita or Sol Biglete, a romance novelist who hides under the pseudonym Soledad Miranda.  She quits her job and goes back home to Dumaguete after repeatedly shunning the demands of her publisher, played by Dido dela Paz, to write erotic pocketbooks.

Jason, on the other hand, is Alejandro or Lean Tan, a government auditor who wants to be an accomplished writer someday.  He finished a course in accountancy upon the wish of his mother, played by Gina Lumauig, but, deep inside him, he has other far more important things in mind.

Akihiro, who acts in his first film after gracing the catwalk of countless fashion shows and appearing in several commercials, is Carlos Silva, a model who is searching for his roots.

After Sol leaves her job for Dumaguete through the help of her colleague and friend (Lexter Tarriela), she finds out about blogging from her niece (Nadie May Orillana) and makes use of this new tool to continue writing.  Carlos, who finds his face on the cover of one of Sol's pocketbooks, searches for her on the Internet and gets hooked with her writing, expressing his wish to meet her personally in the process. Meanwhile, Lean is assigned to audit in Dumaguete but his reclusive attitude leads him to Sol, whose romance novels play an unusual role in his life.

The script, which was selected as one of the six finalists to the third Produire au Sud (Producing from the South) workshop during the sixth World Film Festival of Bangkok last year, was co-written by Sanchez and Richard Legaspi. The two were batchmates at Ricky Lee's 14th scriptwriting workshop.  The latter is set to direct his own indie film titled Cyclone Loop for Cinema One Originals.

Handumanan is produced by Red Room Productions from a 500,000-peso grant provided by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). The film will then be shown at the Robinsons Galleria Indie Sine from July 29 to August 4 before touring schools nationwide and other film festivals abroad.