Eight new feature-length films will be rolled out for the third Cine Filipino Film Festival starting May 9, 2018 at the Gateway Cinema and other selected cinemas.
The eight finalists for the Feature-Length category this year were given a grant of P2 million each. Cash prizes will also be rewarded to the winners of the category, as well as the Short Feature and Digital Film categories at the grand awards night on May 12 at the KIA Theater.
The eight full-length films are Delia & Sammy directed by Theresa Cayaba, Excuse Me Po directed by Ronald Espinosa Batallones, Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus by Dwein Baltazar, Hitboy by Bor Ocamhoupo, Mata Tapang directed by Rod Marmol, Mga Mister ni Rosario directed by Allan Habon, Poon directed by Ronie Supangan, and The Eternity Between Seconds directed by Alec Figuracion.
Rosemarie Gil, Jaime Fabregas, Mon Confiado, TJ Trinidad, Glydel Mercado, Joross Gamboa, Elizabeth Oropesa, Yeng Constantino, Edgar Allan Guzman, Soliman Cruz, Adrian Cabido, and Kate Alejandrino are some of the actors that are featured in this year's crop of films.
The return of veteran actress Rosemarie Gil to the silver screen is one of the highlights of the festival, as she stars with another veteran, Jaime Fabregas, in Delia & Sammy by Theresa Cayaba.
Ms. Gil was not present at the press conference, but Fabregas praised his co-star for making a successful comeback after more than a decade.
“It's her return to the screen after more than 12 years, so at first, her daughter Cherie Gil told me that she was scared to do it,” said Fabregas. “I told her that it's like riding a bicycle, it will come back to her naturally. She was fantastic.”
The movie revolves around an aging actress (Rosemarie Gil) who finds out that she is dying and looks for someone to care for her husband (Jaime Fabregas), who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Using their trusty old Mercedes Benz, the two travel far in the hopes of finding forgiveness from Sammy's estranged family.
For his role in the movie, Fabregas did research on patients by watching videos and documentaries.
“What we see is the physical manifestation of the disease, but ang gusto kong malaman is yung kung ano pumapasok sa ulo nila,” he said. “So medyo nahirapan ako sa research. I just hope I gave the role a good run.”
Yeng Constantino also returns to the movies after five years with The Eternity Between Seconds, written and directed by Alec Figuracion.
The movie features TJ Trinidad as Andres, a depressive best-selling Filipino self-help book author and motivational speaker, while Yeng Constantino is Sam, a Korean-Filipino girl who meets her father for the first time. They cross paths at Incheon Airport, where they bond over their loneliness, conversations, and neuroses.
Melai Entuna, the producer of the movie, told reporters of some of the challenges that they experienced in filming the movie in South Korea.
“When we shot this film in Korea, there were only 10 of us, so there was no personal assistant for the actors,” she said. “I'm thankful to Yeng and TJ, kasi despite that, the whole day we were walking, masakit sa paa kasi ang laki ng Incheon Airport. We did it from 7 AM to 8 or 9 PM. It was also challenging physically, because that was winter and the temperature as -15 degrees.”
Glydel Mercado stars with Shy Carlos in Poon (The Image), a horror film entry which tells the story of a loyal church servant and her daughter who experience disturbing things after bringing a mysterious statue of San Vargas to their home. Glydel's character discovers bloody tears from the statue's eyes, and she believes it to be a miracle. What follows is a series of deaths and a change in Claudia that leads her to darkness.
Mercado, who in real life collects images of saints, talked about the challenges of her role at the press conference.
“When I saw that lines about the images in the script, I thought, ako 'to, so tinanggap ko agad. Ang challenge sa akin dito, ngayon lang ako nakagawa ng pelikula na lahat ng movement, may shots. Yung breakdown scene ko, siguro 15 times ginawa in different angles,” she revealed.
For fans of action-adventure, there's Hitboy, a film about Alex, a full-time kid who plays a game of survival as a part-time gunman for hire working for a syndicate. When he finds out he is about to be a father at age 15, he decides to get out of his dangerous job--that is, if his underground world allows him to.
It stars Adrian Cabido, who won the FAMAS Best Child Actor award in 2014, as well as Mon Confiado, Soliman Cruz, Rea Molina, Juan Miguel Emmanuel Salvado, and Rosanna Roces, with Paolo O’Hara, James Lomahan, Arrian Labios, Nichol Martinez, Isaac Aguirre, and Tarek El Tayech.
Cabido admitted to feeling challenged for this role because of its uniqueness. “Yung mga pumapatay po ay mga matatanda po, wala pa po akong nakitang batang naging hitman, pero tinulungan naman po ako ni direk,” he said.
Mon Confiado, who stars in the movie as a gangster also named Mon Confiado, said that he had to work hard to separate the role from his personality. “Ni-request ko lang na iba yung atake ng konti, para hindi po ako mapagkamalan na totoong gangster,” he joked.
Soliman Cruz also couldn't help but joke about his role in the movie, as well as in Poon. “Nag-enjoy ako sa Hitboy. Yung hirap sa paa lang at paghawak ng baril,” he said. “Sa Poon naman, nahirapan ako kasi sa edad ko ngayon, nagkaroon ako ng bed scene, dalawa pa. Tapos kilala ko pa yung nanay ng ka-eksena ko. Sana 'pag napanood ng nanay niya, mapatawad ako.”
Mata Tapang (Brave Eye) by Rod Marmol stars Edgar Allan Guzman and Ahron Villaflor, with Jerald Napoles, Ritz Azul, and Migs Almendras.
This "dramedy" (drama-comedy) film is inspired by the true story of the filmmaker's father who was a soldier. The role of the father, named Sergeant Hardrock--who loses his left eye and his entire squad on a military mission but gains a third eye to help his fallen brothers fulfill their life missions--is played by Edgar Allan Guzman.
Guzman also shared some details about making the movie. “Pinaka challenging na from Deadma Walking na baklang bakla ako, ngayon naman lalaking lalaki. Mahirap yung prosthetics sa left eye. Makeup starts at 5 AM, tapos natatapos yung shoots at 4 AM. Mahirap matulog, mahirap din i-stress yung kailangan na expression sa mata. Sa awa ng Diyos, natapos at naibigay ko naman po,” he said.
The cinema also features romantic comedies like Mga Mister ni Rosario by Allan Habon, starring Joross Gamboa and Kate Alejandrino, with Kim Molina, Dax Carnay, Rap Robes, and Kiki Baento.
The film is about method actor Yogi Juan (Gamboa), who carries his many film roles back to his home. When Sari (Alejandrino) learns that Yogi's upcoming role is a serial killer, she tries to revise the script to avoid her morbid fate.
Alejandrino, who stars as the titular wife Sari, shared her experiences of working with Gamboa.
“Mahirap mong makatrabaho si Joross Gamboa, kasi alam po nating lahat na totoong may saltik siya," she quipped.
Turning serious, she said, "Pero in all honesty, mahirap siyang sabayan kasi beterano na siya sa comedy, and this is my first, [so] mahirap sabayan yung comedic timing,” she said. “May habit pati siya na sinusurprise niya na lang ako sa eksena, na imbes na magrereact yung character ko, natatawa na lang ako, kasi ang galing ni Joross dito.”
Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus stars Nicco Manalo, Dylan Ray Talon, Soliman Cruz, and Anthony Falcon. It is produced by Bianca Balbuena and Giancarlo Abrahan, written and directed by Dwein Baltazar.
Scientifically, they say that the heart doesn’t recognize love or any other emotional activity but it is controlled by the “hypothalamus,” a small part of the brain.
In the film, it’s in Avenida, Rizal where the fate of the four men intertwine. Each of them are longing for something they cannot quite put their hands on; in the story that missing puzzle piece is a mysterious girl named Aileen. Four men fall in love with the same woman for different reasons: provincial boy Caloy wants a wife, widower Lando desires a whore, college student Alex finds a soulmate, and Oneng the thief longs for a companion.
Excuse Me Po, top-billed by veteran actress Elizabeth Oropesa, is written and directed by Ronald Batallones.
Oropesa plays former film extra Hilda who uses her acting talent to con people for loose change. She unapologetically does this to raise money for her husband’s medication. When her scam is exposed to the public, a young writer picks up her story and gives her the chance to tell her side of the story. Will this be another act or is she finally telling the truth?
Produced by Tara Illenberger, Jedd Dumaguina, and TM Malones, it also stars Matt Daclan, Anna Luna, Angellie Nicholle Sanoy, Chanel la Torre, Sunshine Teodoro, Rener Concepcion, Shandii Bacolod, Dalin Sarmento, Emman dela Cruz, and Ricci Jereza, among others.
For the first time, Cine Filipino entries will be screened in strategically selected cinemas from north to south. The films of the 3rd edition will be shown from May 9-15 in the following cinemas: Gateway, Greenbelt 1, and the 8 SM branches of Cine Lokal of the Film Development Council of the Philippines namely Megamall, North Edsa, Southmall, Mall of Asia, Fairview, Manila, Sta. Mesa, and Bacoor.
The awards night will be held at the KIA Theater on May 12, 2018.