Nora Aunor, Jaclyn Jose among stars featured in 2016 QCinema Film Festival

by Mari-An Santos
Oct 6, 2016
The QCinema International Film Festival will run from October 13-22, 2016. Nora Aunor (upper left frame) stars in Hinulid, Jaclyn Jose (upper right frame) is part of Patay na si Hesus while Ryza Cenon (lower left frame) is the lead actress of Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B. The erotic lesbian thriller The Handmaiden (lower right frame) will be the opening film.

Instead of eight entries, there are now only seven full-length movies competing in the 2016 QCinema International Film Festival.

Now on its fourth year, the film fest organized by the Quezon City through its Film Development Commission will run from October 13-22, 2016.

The theme for QCinema 2016 is “One City for the World.” The films will be screened at the following venues: Trinoma, Gateway, Robinsons Movieworld Galleria, and UP Town Center.

During the press conference held at Gateway Cubao, QCinema festival director and Quezon City Film Development Commission executive director Ed Lejano explained why the entry Gusto Kita with all my Hypothalamus by director Dwein Baltazar was pulled out from the lineup.

“At the last minute, after talking to potential financiers, they couldn’t get one. That is a challenge of being a finalist in QCinema: to find the right backers for your project. We gave them ample time...until it was very late. We couldn’t bring in another entry to take the place of the film. But we still have a good set of films in competition.”

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The annual festival gives seed grants to young Filipino filmmakers amounting to P1 million each to produce their screenplays into full-length feature films while retaining rights to their movies. The short film grant is P100,000 each.

Lejano says that out of 7 entries in the Circle Competition, four are regional. “This proves that there are other film scenes going on throughout the country. Being a filmmaker is the new rock star; technology is at your fingertips. Filmmaking has spread beyond the confines of NCR. In addition, there are 8 entries for #QCShorts, the only local funding platform for short films. That is a wide, diverse lineup of different genres,” he says.

Some of the directors shared their thoughts regarding their entries.

Poet-filmmaker Kristian Cordero says: “I wrote Hinulid, based on a story by Carlos Ojeda Aureus, who is also from Naga. It was very clear to me while writing the script that I wanted Nora Aunor to play the lead role. This is going to be Ms. Aunor’s first movie in our native Bicolano. Getting the right lead actress was very important for me.”

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HF Yambao’s Best. Partee. Ever. is based on true events. He reveals, “I was inspired because I was part of the story, the partying. Now seems like the opportune time for this movie, as the country wages war on drugs. This is our contribution to educating the Filipino youth.”

Prime Cruz’s Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B was borne of the director’s desire “to make a love story involving a monster. I have had a fascination with manananggals.”

Sheron Dayoc’s Women of the Weeping River is set in Jolo, Sulu and tackles a common practice among tribes in Muslim Mindanao, in this case, a Tausug family, of blood feud. “This is based on real accounts. Beyond the conflict happening in Mindanao, I want people to see that there are real people involved, struggling... And that even if there is political reconciliation, it does not address the more deeply-rooted problems [of the area].”

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Meanwhile, the films under Pinoy Spotlight will premiere at QCinema: Blanka by Kohki Hasei of Japan that was shot in the Philippines; and Area by Louie Ignacio, starring Ai-Ai delas Alas as an aging prostitute. It recently won the Special Jury Prize in the 12th Eurasia International Film Festival held in Kazakhstan.

The Back ThrowBack section will feature remastered versions of Philippine cinematic classics Kasal (1980) by Laurice Guillen and Haplos (1982) by Butch Perez.

Cinema Rehiyon will feature regional titles from Mindanao Rising, Across Luzon and Visayas, and Ilonggo Tales of Horror and Imagination.

QCinema will pay homage to auteur Mike De Leon by screening three of his restored titles: Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising, Hindi Nahahati ang Langit, and the riotous Kakabakaba Ka Ba?

The festival will open with the 2016 Cannes Film Festival winner The Handmaiden by Park Chan-wook. This erotic lesbian thriller stars Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, and Tae Ri Kim.

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The Asian Next Wave section features young filmmakers from the continent. “Screen International” gathers recent highly-acclaimed films from the film festival circuit for their Philippine premieres.

Tribute to Kieslowski will commemorate the 20th death anniversary of director Krzysztof Kieslowski by screening his acclaimed triptych: Blue, White, Red.

Aside from the film festival, there will be film forums held at the Quezon Memorial Circle’s Quezon City Experience (QCX) Mini Theater from October 17-21, 2016. These are free and open to the public.


Circle Competition

  1. Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B directed by Prime Cruz

Manananggals are known as creatures who separate from their lower bodies. By day, they are attractive women who lead quiet lives. By night, they transform into winged monsters that terrorize people. But most people don’t know that manananggals get lonely, too. This is the story of Jewel, the manananggal in Unit 23B.

Jewel lives a routinary life. Intense emotions trigger her transformation into a manananggal. So she has settled into the kind of life that will prevent her from destroying herself and other people. She still kills and eats every now and then, but she tries her best to live a normal life. That is, until she meets Nico, a broken-hearted guy who sneaks into her heart. She is torn between wanting to love him and wanting to eat his heart. Can a manananggal ever find love or is she destined to be alone forever?

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Cast: Ryza Cenon, Martin del Rosario, Cholo Barretto, Vangie Labalan

(To learn more about this movie, read: Ryza Cenon on shooting indie film: "Mas mahirap sa akin ang sex scene kaysa sa masturbation scene.")

  1. Baboy Halas (Wailings in the Forest) directed by Bagane Fiola

An indigenous family, one of the last forest people of old, copes with the unusual changes in their environment including the imposing lifestyle and customs of the more sociable tribes on the plains.

Cast: (indigenous people in Mindanao) Omeles Laglagan, Ailyn Laglagan, Jeah Mae Laglagan, Vangeline Panihao

  1. Best. Partee. Ever. directed by Howard “HF” Yambao

Mikey, a young, discreet gay man from the affluent class, spends five years in a city jail while his case for drug pushing is being heard. In prison, Mikey holds back to adapt to the culture and stratification among inmates. Eventually, Mikey becomes a "Mayor" (cell leader) to a group of gay inmates called Gang-da. Together they thrive to survive the dangers of life behind bars including: several gang riots, the mundane, and decay of human dignity.

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Cast: JC de Vera, Mercedes Cabral, Kristoffer King, Jordan Herrera, Aaron Rivera, Acey Aguilar, Raul Morit, Odette Khan, Angela Cortez, Richard Manabat, Shandii Bacolod, Xixi Maturan, Cataleya Surio, Apollo Abraham

  1. Hinulid directed by Kristian Sendon Cordero

A woman, carrying the ashes of her only son, returns to Cagbunga, Camarines Sur, a village over which the Tolong Hinulid (Three Dead Christs) keep watch. She rides an old train that circles her universe like the tandayag, the primordial serpent.

Cast: Nora Aunor, Jess Mendoza, Kirby Pila, Ken Balmes, Delia Enverga, Jesus Volante, Vernon delos Trino, Liwayway Ferrer

  1. Purgatoryo directed by Roderick “Derick” Cabrido

Purgatoryo tells the story of Ilyong, who was killed by the police after he was caught stealing. This is the beginning of his story, his death.

Soon after, he was brought into a sleazy funeral home, and was stacked along with other dead bodies in a tub filled with formalin. He was given a funeral--only it was under a different name. It’s as if he was reborn as another person--he has a wife, a crying lady named Violet, and a new job--as a prop so that the gambling lord, Simon, who will be allowed to hold “sakla,” a form of gambling played whenever there is a wake.

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Cast: Bernardo Bernardo, Kristoffer King, Mara Lopez, Lou Veloso, Arnold Reyes, Jess Mendoza, Elora Espao, Che Ramos-Cosio, Rolando Inocencio, Chrome Cosio, Japo Parcero

  1. Patay Na Si Hesus by Victor Villanueva

Patay Na Si Hesus is a Cebuano comedy-drama road film. Iyay is a single mother who managed to raise her four children: Judith, the eldest child, a butch lesbian who lives with her unfaithful partner; Hubert, their second child with Down syndrome, who occasionally shits in his pants; Victor, the engineering degree holder, who keeps on failing the board exam; and Vera, the over-competitive student. The status quo of their dysfunctional and emotionally bankrupt family takes a wild turn as they receive the bad (or good) news: Hesus, their estranged father of 13 years, has passed away.

The single mother drags her family on a road trip from Cebu to Dumaguete to attend the funeral. Iyay drives her tiny multicab on a journey that yields unexpected stopovers, detours, and revelations.

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Cast: Jaclyn Jose, Chai Fonacier

  1. Women of the Weeping River by Sheron Dayoc

Satra, a widow, is caught in an escalating blood feud stretching back generations. Satra takes on the role of men in delivering goods and selling them in town. There is an unwritten code that women are spared from bloodshed for it is deemed shameful and dishonorable for men to harm them. Satra initially seeks vengeance for the death of husband and uncles but finds herself being convinced by Farida to leave the land after the death of her only child, Amiya.

A conflict arises within the family as Mustafa and her brothers refuse to leave and would rather die fighting for it. Beyond the will of her family, she secretly meets up with Shadiya, the matriarch of the rival clan to seek possible reconciliation to protect the lives of her family.


Here are the short films of the 2016 QCinema IFF:

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  1. Victor Nierva harnesses the power of melodrama for his piece, Sayaw sa Butal.
  1. Aedrian Araojo captures the sad story of a mother and son relationship in Hondo.
  1. Gabrielle Tayag gives a new spin to the airport experience in the short film Padating.
  1. Janus Victoria melds the concepts of art and goth in Viva, Viva Escolta.
  1. Eduardo “Dodo” Dayao uses the found footage style for his horror entry If You Leave.
  1. In art, age is just a number. This is what sixteen-year-old Joshua Joven proves through his LGBT-themed short, Kung Saan May Naiwan, co-directed with Kaj Palanca.
  1. Mihk Vergara incorporates the concept of superhero in Nang Lumipad ang Batang Agila.
  1. Inshallah Montero's Papa’s Shadow uses elements of shadow plays in her film.

The 2016 QCinema screenings will be held at Robinsons Galleria, Trinoma, Gateway Cinemas, and UP Town Center.

For updated information and screening schedules, CLICK HERE.

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The QCinema International Film Festival will run from October 13-22, 2016. Nora Aunor (upper left frame) stars in Hinulid, Jaclyn Jose (upper right frame) is part of Patay na si Hesus while Ryza Cenon (lower left frame) is the lead actress of Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B. The erotic lesbian thriller The Handmaiden (lower right frame) will be the opening film.
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