Inilunsad last year (2016) ang pinakabagong independent film festival sa Pilipinas, ang TOFARM Film Festival na produced ni Dr. Milagros How, President ng Universal Harvester, Inc.
Kasama ang multi-awarded master director na si Maryo J. Delos Reyes bilang festival director, sinubukan ni Dr. How ang mag-establish ng isang film festival na may advocacy on farming and agriculture industries. Ang TOFARM ay acronym ng The Outstanding Farmer at para sa 2017 edition, mas nadagdagan ang number ng movie screens na kalahok sa naturang film fest.
Kung sa Year 1 nito ay SM Megamall lang at SM North Edsa ipinalabas ang TOFARM film entries, ngayon ay lima na: SM Megamall, SM Manila, Greenbelt 1, Robinsons Galleria, and Gateway Cinemas, in cooperation with Solar Pictures ni Mr. Wilson Tieng.
Now on its second year, “Planting the Seeds of Change” ang theme at gaganapin ang TOFARM Film Fest from July 12 to 18, 2017 sa mga nabanggit na sinehan.
Out of 180 submissions, ang mga napiling entries ay: Topel Lee’s Baklad, Tara Illenberger’s High Tide, Jason Paul Laxamana’s Instalado, Victor Acedilo Jr.’s Kamungay (Malunggay), Byron Brant’s Sinandomeng, at Joseph Abello’s What Home Feels Like.
Sa unang taon ng TOFARM ay nagbigay ng production grant na tig-P1.5 million pesos sa 6 official entries. Ginastusan rin ang awards night na ginanap sa Makati Shangrila Hotel hosted by Dingdong Dantes and Carla Abellana.
Ang Selection Committee sa first batch ay binuo nina Direk Erik Matti, Roy Iglesias, at Jake Tordesillas.
Sa awards night last year, hindi rin matatawaran ang lineup ng jury na binuo nina award-winning movie industry stalwarts Peque Gallaga, Ricky Lee, cinematographer Odyssey Flores, film critic Gigi Alfonso-Javier, at Cannes 2016 Best Actress Jaclyn Jose.
Ngayong 2017, renowned rin ang tatlong namili ng 6 official finalists: sina Direk Jun Robles Lana, Michiko Yamamoto, and Raquel Villavicencio.
This time, dumoble na ang bilang ng submitted scripts na nais lumahok. At mapapansing bukod sa farming and agriculture, pati fishing at environment ay naging tema na rin ng ilang film entries.
Kung opening film last year ang Biyaya Ng Lupa, ang pinili this year ay ang classic film na Banaue starring Nora Aunor at Christopher de Leon. Si Nora rin ang nag-produce nito under her NV Productions, na sinasabing isa sa most expensive film productions ng film company ni Ate Guy.
Directed by National Artist for Film na si Gerardo "Gerry" De Leon, ang opening film na Banaue ay ipapalabas sa hapon ng July 11 (Tuesday) sa Novotel Hotel, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.
Kinagabihan sa Opening Ceremonies (sa same venue), pagkakalooban naman ng Plaque of Recognitions ang mga artistang may mga sarili ring farms, namely: Christopher De Leon, Tirso Cruz III, Gary Estrada, Niño Muhlach, Isabel Rivas, Eagle Riggs, at Lorna Tolentino.
Inaasahang dadalo ang pitong celebrities na ito upang personal na tanggapin ang kanilang mga plaques mula kay Dr. How upang magsilbing inspirasyon sa lahat, na kahit na artista sila'y maryoon rin silang inaalagaang farms.
Narito ang 6 official film entries ng 2nd TOFARM Film Festival 2017:
Written and directed by Jason Paul Laxamana
Instalado is a social science fiction set in a farming village in the not-so-distant future. Victor lives in a time when the dominant form of education is through installation, a process wherein bodies of knowledge can be installed directly into people's brains using technology owned by big corporations.
However, like many others in the agricultural town of Porac , Victor cannot afford the sky-high cost of installation; which he believes is the key to escape his rural life. To raise money for installation, Victor abandons farming and works as the housekeep of a wealthy childhood friend who has become extremely successful after undergoing a series of installations.
McCoy De Leon, Junjun Quintana, Francis Magundayao, Archi Adamos, Joel Saracho, Barbara Miguel, Liya Sarmiento, Cecile Yumul, Bea Vega, and Kiko Matos.
PRODUCTIONS -- Universal Harvester Incorporated, Kamaru Productions, Petix Productions, Batang Ina Productions, Kapampangan Cinema Movement
Writer and Director -- Jason Paul Laxamana
Directed by Topel Lee
A coming of age story of a fishpen boy who is learning to dream big, triggered by his sexual awakening from his boss’ new lover. He starts to find ways to elope with the woman. But his dreams will only produce devastating results, not only for him but also for people around him.
This is the story of one of the most neglected people in the Philippine workforce and society --- the fishpen boys. They give us the fish we eat every day, but we never know that like the fishes, they are also drowning in sorrow and dreams of breaking free from the nets of poverty and swim towards freedom.
Ronwaldo Martin, Elora Españo, Rafa Siguion Reyna, also starring Hector Macaso, Alan Forte, BJ Go, John Vincent Servilla, Royce Cabrera, Raul Morit, DJ Jhaiho, Dess Versoza, Rowena Concepcion
PRODUCTIONS -- Universal Harvester Incorporated and Mighty Beanz Multimedia Production, Inc.
Director – Topel Lee
Writer -- Sigfried Barros-Sanchez
- HIGH TIDE
Written and directed by Tara Illenberger
When Unyok lost both his parents to super-typhoon Ising, he lost his ability to speak. He and his family used to live in a small island with about 20 other families, but due to climate change, the sea level has become so erratic and dangerously high that the small island has become a "no-man’s-land". As a disaster risk-reduction measure, the local government forcibly resettled all the families to the mainland.
Now, he lives in the mainland coastal village with his friends Dayday and Laila. Every low-tide they would go look for clams together in the shoreline. What little income they would get from selling clams they would give to their father, Tibor, who does back-breaking labor in the bangus fishpond of a rich man.
When the girls' mother becomes seriously ill, they frantically search for clams to help their father with the increasing hospital expense. Unfortunately, the supply of clams in the mainland coastline anymore is depleting.
In an attempt to help, Unyok leads the girls to cross his old island just when the tide is incredibly low. They discover that there’s an abundance of clams in the deserted island. But can the children go home safely before the high tide comes back in?
Arthur Solinap, Sunshine Teodoro, Dalin Sarmiento, also starring Forrest Kyle Buscato, Christine Mary Demaisip, Reina Christal Shin
PRODUCTIONS – Universal Harvester Incorporated and Bonfire Productions in cooperation with Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation
Writer and Director -- Tara Illenberger
- WHAT HOME FEELS LIKE
Written and directed by Joseph Abello
What Home Feels Like tells the home life of father and seaman, Antonio, who is forced to spend most of time at home upon learning that he can never aboard a ship again. Facing struggles as he doesn’t know what to do next, he follows the footsteps of his parents and buys a farm using their family savings.
Dealing with his forced retirement gives him several realizations. Spending his last 33 years as a seaman caused him to not know his family on a personal level. What's even worse is now that he has the chance to catch up, his kids are leaving and his wife is used to living without him.
Bembol Roco and Irma Adlawan, with Biboy Ramirez, Rex Lantano, Aaron Rivera, Elijah Filamor, and introducing Bianca Libinting
PRODUCTIONS -- Universal Harvester Incorporated and B17 Film Productions, in association with Crowning Glory Movie Equipment Services, Mariners’ Colleges System Bikol, Outpost Visual Frontier, Black Maria Pictures present a #TeamMSB Production
Writer and Director – Joseph Abello
Written and directed by Byron Bryant
When her husband unexpectedly died, Sinang had to take over their farm. A strong-willed daughter of an old farmer, she has the heart and the touch. While her sisters consider selling their inherited parcels of the land to a subdivision developer, Sinang firmly refuses to sell hers. Resolutely, she plows it, nurse the rice seeds, going through the whole process with diligence. The experience is filled with happy and sad moments, still in the end -- love for family and for their farm prevails.
Sue Prado, Julio Diaz, Lou Veloso, Lui Quiambao, Star Orjaliza, Gab Pangilinan, Jayvhot Galang, Introducing: Czel Santiago and Althea Oredina; with Anjo Padilla, Chesko Rodriguez, Paulo Cabañero, Keiko Jastillana, and CJ Estay
PRODUCTION -- Universal Harvester Incorporated
Writer and Director -- Byron Bryant
- KAMUNGGAI (MALUNGGAY)
Written and directed by Victor Acedillo, Jr.
Lolo Peping (65) built his backyard farm in his hometown in Mindanao, out of vegetable scraps or whatever edible plant life he could find in the garbage heap. His neighbors get free food from his garden while he does all the work. They don’t even bother to pay him or say thank you. So Lolo Peping decided to put a bamboo fence around his garden to keep neighbors out.
It was for him a good decision because he enjoyed the peace in his garden for a while, until one day a ten year-old boy, Kenken, invades his garden. The cute pain-in-the-ass little boy turns out to be his brother’s grandson. Even though he is not very fond of the wayward boy, he invites Kenken and his mother, Inday (30) to live with him because he lives alone.
Then after less than a week the boy’s mother disappears completely, abandoning his son and leaving the boy to Lolo Peping’s care. With a new unexpected responsibility, Lolo Peping tries his best to befriend Kenken. But how do you make friends with someone you hate and hates you back? Well, the malunggay tree can do amazing things, other than cure cancer.
Ma. Theresa “Dulce” Cruzata, Bayang Barrios, Skyzx Labastilla, Luis Banaag III, Kent Raymond Basa
PRODUCTION -- Universal Harvester Incorporated and Tupsan Films
Writer and Director – Vic Acedillo, Jr.
Sa 2016 edition ng TOFARM Film Festival, nanalong Best Picture ang Paglipay ni Zig Dulay, 2nd Best Picture ang Pitong Kabang Palay ni Maricel Cariaga, 3rd Best Picture ang Free Range ni Dennis Marasigan, at Special Jury Prize ang Pauwi Na ni Paolo Villaluna.
Tinanghal na Best Actress si Cherry Pie Picache for Pauwi Na, at nag-tie naman for Best Actor ang beteranong si Bembol Roco for Pauwi Na at ang Aeta non-actor na si Garry Cabalic for Paglipay.
Proud ang organizers ng TOFARM dahil ang Paglipay at Pauwi Na ay may multiple nominations rin sa 40th Gawad Urian Awards na gaganapin on July 20 (Thursday) sa ABS-CBN compound, with live coverage sa Cinema One Channel – bukod pa sa patuloy nitong pag-ikot sa iba’t ibang international film festivals.