From December 18 to 24, 2013, five full-length indie films will be shown as part of the New Wave Section of the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

Five animation films as well as three student short films will be screened along with the full-length films at SM Megamall and Glorietta 4.

A mix of mainstream and independent artists are featured in the New Wave entries including Agot Isidro, TJ Trinidad, Ejay Falcon, Baron Geisler, Raquel Villavicencio, Perla Bautista, Irma Adlawan, and Biboy Ramirez.

The New Wave section serves as a prelude to the main competition featuring eight entries that will open by December 25.

(To learn more about the eight mainstream entries, CLICK HERE)

At a recent press conference, Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, who is also the overall chairman for the MMFF, appealed for public support for the said film entries.

“We assure you of good entertainment when you watch and see these New Wave films by our young and budding filmmakers who crafted them in different genre such as drama, romantic comedy and action drama,” said Chairman Tolentino.

Winners for Best Picture stand to win as much as P300000, P100000 and P50000 for the full feature, animation and student short film categories, respectively. Awards will also be given for Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Actor for the full-length film entries.

The MMFF’s New Wave section was introduced in 2010 to cater to independent or “indie” producers and aspiring student filmmakers from various colleges and universities in the country.

Moviegoers can watch the following films that will be screened at Glorietta 4 (Makati City) and SM Megamall from December 18 to December 24, 2013. Tickets are priced at P100.


Mga Anino ng Kahapon 

Written and directed by Alvin Yapan

Cast: Agot Isidro, TJ Trinidad, Carlo Cruz, Carl Acosta, Upeng Galang-Fernandez 

Produced by Vim Yapan/Alem Chua Productions in partnership with Janssen Philippines

Agot Isidro plays the role of Irene—wife, mother and nurse. Irene was inspired to get into the medical profession because she saw how her own mother (also a nurse) cared for wounded rebels during Martial Law. When Irene’s husband Ed goes abroad to work, her schizophrenia is triggered, signaling the journey of Irene and her family in dealing with her condition.

TJ Trinidad plays Irene's husband, Ed, who is frustrated by his wife's denial of her disease. Young actor and commercial model Carlo Cruz is cast as Irene’s brother-in-law Carlo, child actor Carl Acosta is cast as Irene and Ed’s son Brian, and Upeng Galang-Fernandez plays Irene’s mother-in-law Flor.

“The film has an important message to convey,” says Agot, who prepared for the role by watching documentaries about schizophrenia and going on an immersion at the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in Mandaluyong.

“The cast and production team were given a briefing about schizophrenia by the director of NCMH. We also visited and talked with the patients at NCMH up close. It was [an] eye-opening experience,” Agot adds.

Director Alvin Yapan explains the intense role Agot plays in the movie: “The film shows the different levels of [schizophrenia], from the mildest to the acute levels… Agot would go through all in one shooting day. She would be okay in one scene and go through a breakdown in the next!”

The film was made to raise awareness about schizophrenia, erase the stigma associated with mental illness and show the struggles of patients and families living with the condition.

Island Dreams  

Written by Aloy Adlawan

Directed by Aloy Adlawan and Gino M. Santos

Cast: Louise Delos Reyes, Alexis Petitprez, Irma Adlawan, Chanel Latorre, Natasha Villaroman, Hector Macaso, Junar Vidal, Ronaldo Baxafra

Produced by Kenau Pictures Production

Filmmaker, writer, producer, director and composer Aloy Adlawan is behind the movie Island Dreams. It depicts the story of an underprivileged Filipina who dreams of becoming a singer. Her life changes when she meets an American on the island where she lives.

GMA-7 actress Louise delos Reyes plays Julie, an aspiring singer who needs money to prepare for an audition to a talent reality show. She usually makes money by serving as a tourist guide to visitors of the resort island where she lives with her blind mother. 

She gets her chance when she meets an American named Zach (played by Alexis Petiprez), a visitor in search of True Love’s Peak. It’s a secluded place in the island surrounded by a myth that anybody who sets foot on its grounds is bound to find true love.  

Alexis was born in Paris, France and took drama courses as a hobby. Theater stalwart Irma Adlawan plays Julie’s mother.


Written and directed by Armando “Bing” Lao

Cast: Willy Layug, Raquel Villavicencio, Bor Ocampo, Mark Joseph Grisworld, Hazel Thea Lelay, Mary Grace Martinez, Petite Dobles, Rhea Angela Lim, Zelinda B. Sotto

Produced by Center Stage Productions (Brillante Ma. Mendoza)

In Kapampangan, “dukit” means “carved in wood,” and this film with the same title tells the real-life story of known sculptor Wilfredo “Willy” Tadeo Layug from Pampanga.

In the movie, the lead character is Waldo, played by Willy himself, who was born to religious but impoverished parents. At an early age, Waldo suffered his first personal tragedy when his father abandoned the family for another woman. He suffered his second tragedy when his mother died.

Waldo assumed the role of the breadwinner to support his three sisters, and continued to do so even after getting married to his childhood sweetheart.

The early years of marriage were times of struggle, especially financially, but sheer genius, industry, discipline and perhaps faith, all helped to turn the tide in Waldo’s favor. Through his affiliation with the Catholic church, Waldo rose from rags and obscurity to riches and fame.

According to producer Brillante Mendoza, “One year in the making [itong movie] dahil kinapture niya ang mga social events sa Pampanga. So year-round ito. Major props din yung inukit na mukha ni Jesus Christ, so sinundan ang proseso [ng paggawa nun].”

For Willy, his reason for accepting the project lies in the opportunity to inspire others. “Nagmula kami sa hirap. It’s not impossible to dream big,” he says. “At the same time, we also want to promote our culture and arts sa Betis, [Pampanga].”

Ang Maestra

Written and directed by Joven Tan

Cast: Biboy Ramirez, Perla Bautista, Dennis Padilla, Jenine Desiderio, Dexter Doria

Produced by Pixel Works Enterprise / Scenema Concept International

Ang Maestra depicts the life of a teacher named Antonia Dela Vega (portrayed by Perla Bautista). She 1ived her retirement under the care of her grandson Raphael (played by Biboy Ramirez). The movie captures how this caring, dedicated, and passionate teacher deals with the present and remembers a glorious past, all while coping with senility.

Biboy, who also co-produces the film, shares that the movie pays tribute to teachers. “What makes this movie different from other entries is that kami lang yata ang medyo melodramatic. May kurot, may iyak. Sa texture pa lang, ito yung drama na tipong papanoorin ng mga mommy at mga lola,” he says.

According to director Joven Tan, “Ang pelikula [at] musika [ay] dalawang bagay na kapag pinagsama ay makakabuo ng kakaibang damdamin. Isang malaking karangalan na maging bahagi ng dalawang mundong ito, mundo na ninanais ng karaniwang tao na maging parte ng pag-ikot nito.”

Saka Saka

Written by Manuel R. Buising

Directed by Toto Natividad

Cast: Ejay Falcon, Joseph Marco, Baron Geisler, Toby Alejar, Perla Bautista, Kathleen Hermosa, and Mon Confiado

Produced by Cinebro