Laurice Guillen defends Cinemalaya decision to scrap New Breed category

Cinemalaya Foundation President Laurice Guillen says that Cinemalaya no longer makes a distinction between New Breed and the Director’s Showcase.

Now on its 11th year, Cinemalaya will be held on August 7-15, 2015 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and other festival venues.

The 2015 edition of this annual film fest will feature a major change since only short film entries will compete this year.

The ten finalists were selected from a total of 150 submissions.

The ten competitors in the Short film Category are: Apasol by Ryan Joseph Murcia, Gatilyo ng Baril by Glenmark Doromal, Kyel by Arvin Belarmino, Lisyun Qng Geografia by Petersen Vargas, Mater by Annemikami Pablo, Nenok by Rommel Tolentino, Papetir by Darwin Novicio, Pusong Bato by Martika Ramirez Escobar, Sanctissima by Kenneth Dagatan and Wawa by Angelie Mae Macalanda.

The full-length competition will resume next year.

In the 2016 edition of Cinemalaya, veteran filmmakers will compete against newbie directors in just one category.

This is because Cinemalaya decided to scrap the New Breed (for new and up-and-coming directors) and Director’s Showcase (veteran filmmakers) categories and replaced it with one category that’s open to all.

In an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Laurice Guillen defended Cinemalaya's decision to pit veteran filmmakers against newbie directors.

The new president of Cinemalaya Foundation explained that all entries are competing on a level playing field since the members of the selection committee will base their decisions on the quality of the submitted work.

“Kasi yung selection process, we do not select on the basis on the old or the new or kung sino ka.

“As a matter of fact, the one selecting does not even know [the identity of the filmmaker].

Direk Laurice pointed out that members of the selection committee do not have access to the names of the filmmakers who submitted entries.

“Wala, once they submit hindi naman nilalagyan ng pangalan yung [submission] nila so it gets to the selection committee without the names.

“It doesn’t matter because if you are veteran like myself you will see that ideas are not always original.”

She pointed out that talent does not pick any age.

“It doesn’t have to do anything with the age. It's how you direct it...but you know talent does not necessarily only come to mature [filmmakers]. Talent can come from a complete newbie.

“Nakita naman naman natin 'yan, kahit when you watch the selection from the Director's Showcase maganda technically mas maayos sila mag-plan ng production because they have more experience in production management but the exciting films are in the New Breed.

“I can speak for these people because I’m also a veteran. When I go and watch, and when people go and watch the film nagugulat din sila. 'Saan galing itong idea na ito? Paano niya naisip 'to?'”

ON KIDLAT TAHIMIK. This decision to merge all entries into one category has been met with resistance and protest.

Kidlat Tahimik, who has been dubbed as the Father of Philippine Independent Cinema, spoke up against this decision to do away with the New Breed category.

He even declared that he’d return the Gawad Balanghay Lifetime Achievement Award that he received during last year's Cinemalaya to signify his protest.

Kidlat revealed that he was returning his Lifetime Achievement Award “to provoke” a discussion regarding Cinemalaya's decision to merge the New Breed section and the Director’s Showcase.

When asked if they already talked with Kidlat Tahimik, Cinemalaya Festival Director Chris Millado said, “We took his reaction as not completely understanding what Cinemalaya is going through for the next years.

“We did talk to him over the phone, and he told us that he didn’t actually really return the award but just left it at UP [University of the Philippines] for safekeeping.

“Hopefully, when we see him face-to-face, we will make him appreciate this exciting, wonderful phase of Cinemalaya.”

“But it is a non-issue really because Cinemalaya is practically pursuing its original vision.”

From among 120 full length feature proposals, there were 22 semi-finalists that were shortlisted.

They will be further trimmed down to 10 finalists that will compete in next year's edition.

These 10 finalists for Cinemalaya 2016 will receive production grants of P750,000 each.

This figure is much higher compared to the P500,000 given out in previous years.

The Final 10 full-length entries will be announced during the awards night of Cinemalaya 2015.

The Best Film will receive a cash award of P250,000.

The 12th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival will be held on August 5-14, 2016 at the CCP and other venues.

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Cinemalaya Foundation President Laurice Guillen says that Cinemalaya no longer makes a distinction between New Breed and the Director’s Showcase.
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