The 2019 edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival goes nationwide by tapping major malls and microcinemas to screen this
year's independent cinematic works.
Cinemalaya 2019 will run from August 2 to 11 at the CCP venues, and August 7 to 13 at selected Ayala Malls Cinemas and Vista Malls in Manila, Pampanga, Naga and Legaspi in Bicol, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Davao.
The Cinemalaya Foundation, in partnership with the Cultural Center of the Philippines, marked its 15th year by being cited as the winner of this year's Nikkei Asia Prize for culture and community.
It was cited “in recognition of its tireless efforts to discover gifted filmmakers and invigorate the Philippine film industry by organizing a big independent film festival.”
Cinemalaya 2019 features a diverse lineup of films that range from sci-fi projects to suspense-thrillers to romance films that depict May-December affairs.
The 10 full-length films in competition are: ANI (The Harvest), directed By Kim Zuniga and Sandro Del Rosario; Belle Douleur (Beautiful Pain), directed by Joji V. Alonso; Children of the River, directed by Maricel Cabrera–Cariaga; Edward, directed by Thop Nazareno; Fuccbois, directed by Eduardo Roy Jr; Iska, directed by Theodore Boborol; John Denver Trending, directed by Arden Rod Condez; Malamaya (The Color of Ash), directed by Danica Sta. Lucia and Leilani Chavez; Pandanggo Sa Hukay, directed by Sheryl Rose Andes; and Tabon, directed by Xian Lim.
The 10 short films competing this 2019 are: Disconnection Notice, directed by Glenn Lowell Forneste Averia; Gatilyo (Trigger), directed by Harold Lance Pialdal; Heist School, directed by Julius Renomeron Jr; Hele ng Maharlika (Lullaby of the Free), directed by Norvin De Los Santos; Kontrolado Ni Girly Ang Buhay N’ya (Girly Is In Control of His Life), directed by Gilb Baldoza; Sa Among Agwat (In Between Spaces), directed by Don Senoc; Sa Gabing Tanging Liwanag Ay Paniniwala (Belief As The Light In Darkness), directed by Francis Guillermo; Tembong (Connecting), directed by Shaira Advincula; The Shoemaker, directed by Sheron Dayoc; and ‘Wag Mo ‘Kong Kausapin (Please Stop Talking), directed by Josef Gacutan.
Opening Cinemalaya 2019 is the Lav Diaz film Ang Hupa (The Halt), which will be screened on August 2 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
Piolo Pascual and Shaina Magdayao star in this sci-fi/horror film that runs for four hours.
The film is set in the year 2034 AD. Southeast Asia has been literally in the dark for the last three years because the sun hasn’t shone due to massive volcanic eruptions at the Celebes Sea in 2031.
President Nirvano Navarro (Joel Lamangan) is the dictator who controls Manila in 2034. Living in this tumultous dystopian future is Haminilda, a.k.a. Hammy (Shaina Magdayao), a history teacher who sidelines as sex worker Model 37 as well as Hook Torollo (Piolo Pascual), a militant with a mission to assassinate the president.
This marks the Philippine debut of Ang Hupa after it made its world premiere at the Director's Fortnight in the 72nd Cannes Film Festival in May 2019.
This year, Cinemalaya partners with microcinemas in Metro Manila and in the regions for “Kinse sa Sandaan: Cinemalaya Wave at the Microcinemas.”
The closing film is the crime-comedy movie Mina-Anud by Cebuano filmmaker Kerwin Go.
Dennis Trillo, Jerald Napoles, Matteo Guidicelli, and Lou Veloso top-bill this movie, which is based on true events. In 2009, cocaine bricks washed up in the shores of Samar, disrupting the lives of residents.
Mina-Anud will be screened at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo at the CCP next Saturday, August 10, 2019. It is scheduled to be released nationwide in Philippine cinemas starting August 21.
Misterio Dela Noche is another Filipino film that will make its Philippine premiere during the annual film fest.
Solenn Heussaff and Benjamin Alves top-bill this movie that is set in the 1800s.
During the time of Spanish tyranny and oppression, a woman raised in the enchanted woods by nymphs experiences love for the first time from a man from town. When she is later betrayed and experiences heartbreak, hell hath no fury indeed like a woman scorned as she she transforms into the
mythical Aswang out to avenge her pain and let the man suffer forever.
It will be screened on August 4 (Sunday) at 6:15 PM at the CCP Little Theater.
One of the special activities of Cinemalaya 2019 (Year 15) is the launch of Ricky Lee's Film Scriptwriting Workbook. The book launch will take place this Saturday, August 3, at 4:30 PM at the MKP Hall, 4th floor of the CCP.
His new book titled The Ricky Lee Film Scriptwriting Workbook contains tips on writing, story and character templates, guidelines on fleshing out the premise, checklists for stories and for troubleshooting the script, creative triggers and exercises, plus blank pages for notes and doodles.
Considered to be the most-awarded screenwriter of Philippine cinema, Ricky Lee's film writing catalog is made up of Himala, Moral Karnal, Anak, and Jose Rizal. He also wrote the play Himala the Musical as well as the popular scriptwriting manual, Trip to Quiapo.
The book launch is free and open to public brought to you by CCP’s Film, Broadcast and New Media Division and Intertextual Division.
Cinemalaya will pay tribute to actor Eddie Garcia, actress Armida Siguion-Reyna, and production designer Cesar Hernando – all of whom made significant contributions to the Philippine film industry before passing away.
The Cinemalaya 2019 awards night will be held on August 11, 2019, at 7 pm, at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).
Here is the PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) Guide to the full-length entries of Cinemalaya 2019:
Director: Xian Lim
Cast: Christopher Roxas, Ynna Asistio, Dexter Doria
Tabon is the directorial debut of Xian Lim. The ABS-CBN actor described his Cinemalaya 2019 entry by saying, "The story of a man coming back home to the province to find out what happened to his father or why it happened to his father coz his father was killed.
"This story revolves around him and three suspects who believe three versions of truth."
According to Xian, he conceptualized this film in 2016, Back then, he had a fascination for caves and the hidden secrets they may contain.
Two years later after the birth of the concept, the plot was further expanded when Xian became a fellow in Ricky Lee's batch 17 scripwriting workshop. Tabon raises questions about one's belief and the lengths we are willing to endure to uncover the absence of meaning in our life.
2. ANI (The Harvest)
Director: Kim Zuniga and Sandro Del Rosario
Cast: Zyren dela Cruz, Ricky Davao, Miguel Valdes
This sci-fi film is set in the Year 2050 at the Federal State of Bicol. A newly orphaned boy named Mithi moves to a farm to live with his estranged grandfather Mauricio.
When Mauricio falls ill and as the crops in their farm seem to fall ill with him, Mithi embarks on a quest with his malfunctioning robot to search for magical grains that he believes will save the old man’s life.
3. Belle Douleur (Beautiful Pain)
Director: Joji Alonso
Cast: Kit Thompson, Mylene Dizon, Marlon Rivera
Elizabeth (Mylene Dizon), a self-made woman in her late 40s, is bent on living on her own for the rest of her days. After her mother passes from years of suffering from a lingering illness, she meets Jon (Kit Thompson), a man 20 years her junior, who convinces her that love knows no age and
that there are no limits to life’s starts. They embark on a May-December affair that is very promising, until Liz realizes that Jon has dreams that she cannot be part of.
In her director's note, Atty. Joji Alonso points out that despite this day and age, the perception of what defines a woman remains. Society continues to confine women because of age, maternal expectations, and others. In Belle Douleur, Liz has been trapped for so long. In her newfound journey
with a younger man, she learns the freedom of loving and letting go, on her own terms, but also for the person she unconditionally loves.
4. Children of the River
Director: Maricel Cabrera–Cariaga
Cast: Noel Comia Jr., Ricky Oriarte, Dave Justin Francis
Children of the River is a coming-of-age film that was inspired by the Marawi siege. Noel Comia Jr. plays the lead character Elias. He and and his three friends are trying to live a normal life, battling their own demons and taking care of their respective families while their fathers are away.
Life becomes more exciting when a certain Ted (played by Juancho Trivino) vacations in their provincial town.
Their eagerness then turns into dread when they receive news about their fathers who are soldiers stationed in Mindanao. Elias and his three friends suddenly need to grow up and take on the responsibility their fathers left as they went away in a battle they can’t surely win.
Director: Thop Nazareno
Cast: Louise Abuel, Dido dela Paz, Elijah Canlas
A young boy named Edward is forced to live under the hospital bed of his ailing father. Estranged from his father Mario and his half-brother Renato, Edward treats the hospital ward his own playground, unmindful of the hopelessness that surrounds him. His careless attitude changes when he meets and becomes enamored with Agnes, a young patient in the hospital. Finding refuge and comfort in each other, Edward and Agnes bond and connect.
Director: Eduardo Roy Jr.
Cast: Royce Cabrera, Kokoy de Santos, Ricky Davao
Ace (Royce Cabrera) and Miko (Kokoy de Santos) desperately want to become famous actors, but it seems like they are on the wrong path and the universe has a different plan for their lives.
Direk Eduardo Roy Jr. explained why he deliberately asked the two lead actors to remove the plaster that covered their private parts while they were doing the sex scenes for the movie.
"May isang eksena kami na walang plaster kasi nag-iilang takes kami kasi nakikita yung plaster. Nung time na sabi ko tanggalin niyo na kasi nahahagip talaga, e, one long take siya. Nung tinaggal na nila, hindi nga nakita. Mas naging maingat sila.
"Sabi ko, yung DOP [director of photography] lang naman makakakita niyan [their private parts] kasi nasa kabilang room kami. So kayo lang. Puro lalaki naman sila so game sila. Tinanggal nila yun."
When asked how he felt about shooting a sex scene with a guy, Royce admitted, "Iba pa rin kasi kapag andoon na eksena kasi siyempre madaming tao. Yung cameraman namin lalaki at ang daming tao tapos isipin mo hubad ka sa harapan nila. Pero iniisip lang namin, si Ace [my character] yan.
Kumbaga, hindi naman pwede pabebe kami dito, e."
Director: Theodore Boborol
Cast: Ruby Ruiz, Soliman Cruz, Ricky Rivero
After 40 years in the entertainment industry, Ruby Ruiz was chosen to be the lead actress in a full-length movie. In Iska, she is cast as a photocopier working at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus.
She works as a photocopier by day and a loving but impoverished grandmother of an autistic child. She wants to take her 10-year-old autistic grandson to a special needs orphanage, but she is accused of mistreating her grandson.
Her heart breaks when she is deemed unfit as a guardian by the media and the government.
8. John Denver Trending
Director: Arden Rod Condez
Cast: Jansen Magpusao, Meryll Soriano, Glenn Mas
The film revolves around John Denver Cabungcal, a Grade 8 student. All he really wants is to do well in school and get good grades to please his mother. One day, a classmate accuses him of stealing an
iPad worth P45,000. After the classmate’s persistent allegation, John Denver snaps and assaults his classmate. Unluckily for him, someone records the incident and posts the video on social media.
In just five days, this ordinary farmboy’s life is suddenly turned upside down.
Shot entirely in Pandan, Antique, this film is based on true events. John Denver Trending is a cautionary tale that bookmarks a period in our lives when we allow social media to reshape our mindset.
9. Malamaya (The Color of Ash)
Director: Danica Sta. Lucia and Leilani Chavez
Cast: Enzo Pineda, Sunshine Cruz, Raymond Bagatsing
Malamaya takes the viewer on a sensual journey through the eyes of Nora, a 45-year-old unmarried visual artist (played by Sunshine Cruz) who is in an undefined relationship with a fellow artist named Jim (Raymond Bagatsing), a potter who is recovering from the death of his wife.
Nora’s dull and uninspired life takes a colorful turn when she pays a visit to the university where her friend Alice (Bernadette Allyson) teaches. Here, Nora meets Migs (Enzo Pineda), a young, up-and-coming photographer. The attraction between the two is instant. Visual artist and photographer then embark on a passionate love affair that ignites their respective lives and artistic endeavors.
10. Pandanggo Sa Hukay
Director: Sheryl Rose Andes
Cast: Iza Calzado, Ybes Bagadiong, Acey Aguilar
A small-town midwife named Elena prepares for her job interview abroad. Unfortunately, she gets kidnapped by armed men.
Iza Calzado says about her Cinemalaya 2019 entry, "Istorya ito ng single mother na midwife o kumadrona na gusto niyang itaguyod ang anak niya at bigyan ng magandang kinabukasan. Sa isang gabi, malalagay sa peligro ang buhay niya."
How did she prepare for her role as a midwife? Iza revealed that she watched child birthing videos online.
"Never pa kong nakakakita ng nanganganak. Nag-workshop ako sa UST saka sa isang lying-in clinic.
"It's traumatic. May isa water birth, may isa sa hospital...yun yung medyo traumatic. Sobrang up close and personal! Na-traumatize ako."
After watching the birthing videos, Iza jokingly told her British husband Ben Wintle back then: "Sabi ko sa asawa ko, 'I don't know if I can give you a child."