The Philippines' first ever World Premieres Film Festival is ongoing now until July 8, 2014.
Organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), along with the International Film Expo, the World Premieres Film Festival Philippines (WPFFP) is unique in that it gives Filipino audiences the chance to watch and enjoy a selection of international films premiering in the country and experience the cultures of 27 countries--all through the shared love of cinema.
The June 29 opening night at the One Esplanade was graced by foreign dignitaries consisting of ambassadors and cultural attaches and chancellors, as well as foreign and local celebrities, actors and filmmakers of note.
FDCP Chairman Briccio Santos, in his remarks to formally open the 10-day WPFFP, noted:
"Being Asia's first Republic and as one of the oldest film cultures in the world, the Philippines, through the IFX, serves as a link to global film community for international expo.
"It has also attracted much solid support and widespread participation, from key industry players and film enthusiasts."
Stressing the importance of a new beginning for the Philippines and its place in the map of world cinema, Mr. Santos also said:
"Tonight, we witness the opening of one more occasion of historic significance.
"The Philippines' first ever World Premieres Film Festival, celebrating global cinema, will also be celebrating global narratives--and audiences.
"Despite some of us coming from various countries, with very different cultures, ways of life and socio-political circumstances; and despite the many changes that the medium itself has undergone, film remains to be the one art form that can mesmerize us altogether.
"At the very core of each successful film is a real human story we can all understand and relate to.
"In this manner, the magic of film lies in the ability to communicate beyond mere words and cultural barriers.
"The World Premiere Film Festival Philippines is a celebration of the richness and diversity of distinct film cultures around the world.
"It highlights the synergy the Philippines has fostered in various nations from all corners of the world."
ESTABLISHED AND EMERGENT FILMMAKERS. A highlight of the opening ceremonies programme was the introduction of the different sections of the World Premieres Film Festival Philippines 2014.
The WPFFP highlight reel was then presented, after the special performance of Spanish musician Munro and Chairman Briccio Santos' opening remarks.
The highlight reel presented an interesting clip showing the very impressive glass crystal trophy sculpted by award-winning Filipino sculptor, Impy Pilapil. The coveted trophies will be awarded to winners of the Main Competition and the Cine Verde section.
"As we proceed," Briccio Santos noted further, "we will all be acquainted with acclaimed features from filmmakers, both established and emergent."
Hosted by Asian celebrity Vivien Tan and Sarge Lacuesta of the FDCP, the WPFFP 2014 opening night was a well-attended event.
Except for the directors of the main competition entries from Iran and the Philippines, all six filmmakers made it to the event and were introduced onstage.
Award-winning Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz was chosen by the FDCP to represent the Philippines through his entry titled Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon.
Direk Lav was unable to attend the event but he was represented by lead actor Perry Dizon, and an official of Sine Oliva, the producer of the period film set in 1972.
At the close of his welcome speech, Chairman Briccio Santos welcomed and thanked a number of these foreign dignitaries, including: His Excellency Thomas Ossowski, Ambassador of the Embassy of Germany; Sayed Akmer Moradi, acting Cultural Chancellor of Iran; Adan Michael Ledin of the Embassy of Israel; Dung Ho Ang, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Cinema Department; Edwin Nazir, of the Indonesian Movie Council; and other top officials from the Embassies of India, Argentina, and Cambodia, among others.
Also present were network officials from Laos, represented by the Director General of the Laotian National Television and two of the Speakers of the recent IFX Conference, Susana de la Sierra, Director General of the Instituto dela Cinematografia y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA) and Syamsul Lussa, Adviser to the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia.
Briccio Santos also welcomed noted Hollywood movie producer, Scott M. Rosenfelt (best known as a producer of Home Alone), and a Japanese film producer, whom he said are on a visit for possible co-production ventures with Filipino investors and talents.
The Philippine team of this year's WPFF is headed by FDCP Director General Mr. Teodoro Granados, Festival Coordinator, with Lucenio Martin "Nonoy" Lauzon of the University of the Philippines Film Institute as Consultant.
Attendees to the event from the Philippine cinema industries, included: Mara Lopez (of the forthcoming Cinemalaya Film Fest entry K'na, The Dreamweaver) and her mother character actress Ma. Isabel Lopez; actress Althea Vega, actor Alex Medina, production designer-actor Perry Dizon (lead actor of the WPFFP Philippine film entry Mula Sa Kung Ano Ang Noon). Other stars present at the event were Rhian Ramos of GMA-7's My Destiny, Bianca King, and Iza Calzado of ABS-CBN's Hawak Kamay.
Local filmmakers and industry heads were represented by Film Academy of the Philippines Director-General Leo Martinez, Tikoy Aguiluz of Cinemanila International Film Festival; film and TV director Joel Lamangan, Directors Guild of the Philippines Inc. (DGPI) representatives Gil Portes, Maryo J. delos Reyes, Soxy Topacio, Elwood Perez; and talent managers Girlie Rodis and Ronnie Henares, among many others.
JURY MEMBERS. During the June 29 luncheon conference held at the SMX Function Rooms, FDCP Director General Teddy Granados mentioned to PEP the composition of the WPFFP 2014 Main Competition Jury. They are namely John Vandalur McTallan from Indonesia; Benjamin Ilo from France (Jury from Cannes' Directors' Fortnight) and Roger Garcia, head of the Hongkong International Film Festival.
The Cine Verde Jury, on the other hand, is composed of Jennifer Lao of the Taipei Film Commission; Christian Miller from Bangkok; and Ma. Jocelyn Cara Magsanoc Alikpala from the Philippines.
COMPETITION AND EXHIBITION SECTIONS. The WPFFP 2014 sections include: The Asean Skies, an Exhibition of 8 film entries; Euroview, with releases from the European continents (6 films); the Ibero-America, a spotlight of films from Spain and the Latin American regions; the South African special features (2 films); and Out of Competition Section (2 films).
The Main Competition features 8 films from countries representing various continents: the Philippines, Brazil, Ecuador, Iran, Turkey and Spain (with 3 entries).
Meanwhile, the Cine Verde section features 9 entries. This competition section is slated for films that espouse a diverse environmental cause that the Philippines is most committed to uphold, especially given the recent events that affected vital parts of the country.
The Cine Verde films in competition are as follows: A Flash In The Tropics (Brazil) by Iara Cardoso; Walter & Tandoori's Christmas (Canada) Animation by Sylvain Viau; A Thirsty World, 90-minute documentary (France) by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Thierry Piantanida & Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire; Green Umbrella (Iran) by Naser Refaie; The White Slopes (Iran) by Mohammad Ebrahim Moayyeri; The Ideal City (Italy) by Luigi Lo Cascio; Coast Of Death (Spain) by Los Patino; Holy Water (Spain) by Octavio Guerra; and Home (Turkey) by Muzaffer Ozdemir.
From the Main Competition Section, the entries are: The Sharks of Copacabana (Brazil) by Rosario Boyer; Mono Con Gallinas / Open Wound (Ecuador) by Alfredo Leon Leon; Romantic Nostalgia (Iran) by Reza Azamian; Mula Sa Kung Ano Ang Noon / From What Is Before (Philippines) by Lav Diaz; Autopsia de Un Amor / Autopsy of Love (Spain) Documentary by Arturo Prins; Crustaceans (Spain) by Vicente Perez Herrero; New York Shadows (Spain) by Juan Pinzas; and Our Hodja (Turkey) by F. Serkan Acar and Yilmaz Okumus.
Regular screenings start on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, up to Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, SM Mall of Asia, SM Manila and SM Sta. Mesa.
The World Premieres Film Festival Philippines (WPFFP) 2014 Awarding Ceremonies will be held on Tuesday, July 2, at the Centerstage of the SM Mall of Asia.
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