Cinemalaya 2016 loses one entry; Nora Aunor, Judy Ann Santos among stars featured in 12th edition

by Mell T. Navarro
Jun 27, 2016
Cinemalaya 2016 will feature entries of Nora Aunor (left, lead star of Tuos) and Judy Ann Santos (right, lead actress of Kusina), among others.

A few weeks before the official launch of Cinemalaya 2016, one entry has officially backed out from the competition.

Ten finalists were chosen for the 12th edition of Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival that will run from August 5-14, 2016.

The full-length entries are Ang Bagong Pamilya ni Ponching by Inna Salazar; Dagsin by Atom Magadia; Hiblang Abo by Ralston Jover; I America by Ivan Andrew Payawal; Kusina by David Corpuz and Cenon Palomares; Lando at Bugoy by Vic Acedillo Jr.; Maselang Bahaghari by J.E. Tiglao; Mercury Is Mine by Jason Paul Laxamana; Pamilya Ordinaryo by Eduardo Roy Jr.; and Tuos by Derick Cabrido. (Philippine Entertainment Portal) found out that J.E. Tiglao will not be pushing through with his entry Maselang Bahaghari. The organizers of Cinemalaya will not be replacing this entry since there is not enough time to finish another movie for the August 5 opening.

The coming-of-age film Maselang Bahaghari had the following plot: “Adam is a 14-year-old charming and introvert boy, born with the secret of having both male and female genitals. As an intersex, he finds himself embarked and lost in a painful transformation -- a journey that takes him into the physical and spiritual limits of gender identity and into the ambiguities of fate and desires.”

"Break The Surface" is this year’s theme for Cinemalaya, which proves to be just as star-studded as past editions.

For the second time, Nora Aunor returns to Cinemalaya via the drama film Tuos. The Superstar previously topbilled the 2014 political thriller-drama film Hustisya.

Judy Ann Santos also marks her return to the film fest through the 2016 entry Kusina. The Young Superstar was part of the ensemble film Mga Mumunting Lihim that competed in Cinemalaya 2012.

The pioneer and popular local indie film fest in the country will be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Theaters in Roxas Blvd., Pasay City and participating Ayala Cinemas.

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Starting this year, the full-length films section will no longer be divided into veteran directors (category formerly called “Directors’ Showcase”) and newbie filmmakers (called “New Breed”), but just one category: the Main Competition Category.

Since its call for entries last year, this change was clear in the official announcement of 2016 Cinemalaya organizers, headed by Cinemalaya President Laurice Guillen, Festival Director Chris Millado, and Competition Chairman Mel Chionglo.

For this edition, the filmmakers received a cash grant of P750,000 to make their respective entries. The proponents were given the option to search for additional funding for the entire film production.

Here are the nine (9) finalists in the Main Competition Category of Cinemalaya 2016 -- with the writer, director, genre, cast, and synopsis (in alphabetical order according to title):


Directors: Inna Salazar and Dos Ocampo / Writer: Inna Salazar

CAST: Janus del Prado, Ketchup Eusebio, Odette Khan (others being confirmed as of press time)

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GENRE: Dark comedy / light family drama

SYNOPSIS: A religious man who does petty crimes, Ponching, gets into a new venture, text scamming, thinking it will not really hurt anyone. One day, his seemingly "innocent" text scam accidentally cons a recipient into thinking he is the bastard child of their late relative.


Writer and Director: Atom Magadia

CAST: Tommy Abuel, Lotlot De Leon, Benjamin Alves, Janine Gutierrez, Sue Prado, Marita Zobel, Rolando Inocencio, Yoshihiko Hara, Arpee Bautista. Introducing Alex Diaz

GENRE: Drama-Suspense

SYNOPSIS: After surviving the Death March, Martial Law and the loss of his legs, Justino (Tommy Abuel) became an atheist. But when his wife dies, a part of him is yearning to believe in life beyond death; just for a chance to be with her again. Searching for parts of her he can still hold on to, he devours her diaries for information into their past -- opening a Pandora's Box of secrets.

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Director: Ralston Jover / Writers: Ananias Estrella and Ralston Jover

CAST: Lou Veloso, Jun Urbano, Nanding Josef, and Leo Rialp; with Matt Daclan, Lui Manansala, Anna Luna, Angela Cortez, Mike Liwag, Flor Salanga, Rener Concepcion, Bernard Carritero, Cherry Malvar, and Rommel Luna.

GENRE: Drama

SYNOPSIS: Hiblang Abo speaks volumes of muted memories and infinite struggles among four men in their twilight years, confined in a hospice facility or home for the aged. Their gray hair grows and fades unnoticed, their lives enter the void of oblivion. Everything unfolds so naturally into their swan song until their body pains and heartaches yield the same intensity, when their hearing and their feelings become permanently impaired; and when their blurry vision and memories become “clear” signs that the inevitable state of death is as fleeting as the vibrancy of life itself.


Writer and Director: Ivan Andrew Payawal

CAST: Bela Padilla, Matt Evans, Thou Reyes, Joe Vargas, Sheena Ramos, Rob Rownd, Kate Bautista, Raflesia Bravo, Rhyzza Kafilas

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GENRE: Drama-Comedy

SYNOPSIS: I America is a dramedy about a complex half-Pinay, half-Caucasian lady looking for American living in Olongapo City (Philippines) who tries to get her passport and US visa in order to meet her father personally for the first time.

  1. KUSINA (Her Kitchen)

Director: David Corpuz / Writer-Director: Cenon Palomares

CAST: Judy Ann Santos, Gloria Sevilla, Luis Alandy, Joem Bascon, Bong Cabrera, Therese Malvar, Trina Legaspi, Czarina Yecla, Karen Gaerlan, Sarah Jane Biton, Elora Espao, Mike Liwag, Princess Ortiz, Criszha Mae Cruz, Yurianna Ashley Gracio, Kim Chloe Oquendo, Francis Grengia

GENRE: Drama

SYNOPSIS: Kusina (Her Kitchen) is the silent witness to the life and love of Juanita (Judy Ann Santos). It is her sanctuary, the place where she creates dishes for her family, her friends, even enemies and strangers. Through cooking, she gets to know the people around her, and in return, reveal herself to them.

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Writer and Director: Vic Acedillo, Jr.

CAST: Allen Dizon and Gold Azeron, with actors from Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Camiguin -- Rachel Anne Ang Rosello, Maricar Semitara, Carlos Penaloza, Benjie Criss Estrella, Reynald Mangao, Camilo Apugan, Roger Gonzales

GENRE: Drama

SYNOPSIS: Disrespected by his teenage son, a 40-year-old high school dropout tries to solve this problem by returning to school which only makes his son hate him even more. Amidst the struggle between them, an unexpected event changes everything.


Writer and Director: Jason Paul Laxamana

CAST: Pokwang and Bret Jackson, with Vincent de Jesus, Maey Bautista, Kristof Garcia, Leo Sarmiento, Justine Dizon, Bea Vega, Mitzi Ong, Waka Hasegawa, Uzziel Delamide

GENRE: Drama-Comedy

SYNOPSIS: Carmen (Pokwang), a middle-aged cook, is about to close down her eatery at the foot of Mt. Arayat when a white American teenage boy named Mercury (Bret Jackson) approaches her and begs for work in exchange of nothing but shelter.

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Writer and Director: Eduardo Roy, Jr.

CAST: Ronwaldo Martin and introducing Hasmine Killip, with Maria Isabel Lopez, Sue Prado, Ruby Ruiz, and Moira Lang; also with Karl Medina, Erlinda Villalobos, Menggie Cobarrubias, Paolo Rodriguez, John Bon Andrew Lentejas, John Vincent Servilla, Rian Magtaan, Myla Monido, Alora Sasam, Ruth Alferez

GENRE: Drama

SYNOPSIS: Jane and Aries are teenage parents. They make a living out of stealing on the streets... until fate hits back at them.


Director: Derick Cabrido / Writer: Denise O’Hara

CAST: Nora Aunor, Barbie Forteza, Flor Salanga, Ronwaldo Martin, Elora Espao, Ronnie Martinez

GENRE: Drama

SYNOPSIS: Pina-ilog (Nora Aunor) is chosen to be their village's "Binukot", a maiden selected as the fairest amongst the women in her village, confined to her house, never allowed to go outside. She is chosen to keep the traditions alive, memorizing the chants, dances, and performing them.

She is to pass the title and responsibility to her granddaughter Dowokan (Barbie Forteza). When the sanctity of the "tuos" becomes threatened, putting Dowokan in danger, Pina-ilog realizes that she cannot just stand aside. Pina-ilog finds herself coming face to face, literally, with the ghosts of tradition, which have shackled her into a life of solitary confinement.

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For CCP theater screenings, regular screening price is P150 each film, while the student price is P100 each.

As per “tradition” in Cinemalaya, there’s a discount of 20% for senior citizens, Persons With Disability (PWD), and government employees (CCP screenings only).

SHORT FILM CATEGORY. Apart from the full-length entries, viewers can also watch the ten short film finalists in Cinemalaya 2016. These are:

  1. Butas by Richard Cawed
  2. Fish Out of Water by Ramon Alberto Garilao (Mon A.L. Garilao)
  3. Ang Maangas, Ang Marikit at Ang Makata by Jose Ibarra Guballa
  4. Bugtaw by Noah del Rosario
  5. Pektus by Isabel Maria Luz M. Quesada
  6. Nakauwi Na by John Relano
  7. Ang Hapon Ni Nanding by Rommel Tolentino
  8. Mansyong Papel by Ogos Aznar
  9. Get Certified by Isaias Herrera Zantua
  10. Forever Natin by Cyrus Valdez

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Cinemalaya 2016 will feature entries of Nora Aunor (left, lead star of Tuos) and Judy Ann Santos (right, lead actress of Kusina), among others.
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