Ralston Jover's first full-length film Bakal Boys (international title: Children Metal Divers) depicts the dangerous hobby of boys who scavenge for metal in murky waters surrounding Baseco, Tondo. Real-life bakal boys auditioned for this indie film, which is now making rounds in the international film circuit. The film stars first-time actors as well as vetreran stars Gina Pareño and Simon Ibarra, among others.
Bakal Boys will compete in two European film festivals this month: at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece (November 13 to 22) and at the Torino International Film Festival in Italy (November 16 to 22).
Prior to these two festivals, Bakal Boys was screened in Vancouver, Canada (where it was given a Special Mention in the Dragons and Tigers competition section) and in Pusan, South Korea.
The official website of the Vancouver IFF says that the film is "so realistic that it's a virtual docu-drama, the film achieves a miraculous rapport with its mostly non-professional cast."
In the coming months, Bakal Boys will take part in the Stockholm International Film Festival in Sweden (November 18-29), at the Asia Film House in London, Great Britain (December 2-5), at the Tallinn Black Night Film Festival in Estonia (November 27 to December)and at the Palm Springs International Film Festival to be held in California by January 2010.
Bakal Boys is the first feature film of Jover who wrote Jeffrey Jeturian's Kubrador and Brillante Mendoza's Manoro, Tirador, and Foster Child. This is the first production of former model/TV star Bessie Badilla and Albert Almendralejo. It stars Gina Pareno, Simon Ibarra and real Bakal Boys Meljon Guinto, Edgar Olano Jr. and Vincent Olano.
(CLICK HERE to read PEP's review of this indie film)
COUNTRY IN FOCUS. The Philippines is currently the country in focus at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
Aside from Bakal Boys, the following Filipino independent films will be screened:
Adela, Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr., 2008, Philippines
Engkwentro, Pepe Diokno, 2009 , Philippines
Imburnal, Sherad Anthony Sanchez, 2008 , Philippines
Independencia, Raya Martin, 2009 , Philippines / France / Germany / Netherlands
Kinatay, Brillante Mendoza, 2009 , France / Philippines
Lola, Brillante Mendoza, 2009 , Philippines
Manila, Adolfo B. Alix Jr.& Raya L. Martin, 2009 , Philippines
Melancholia, Lav Diaz, 2008 , Philippines
The Muzzled Horse Of An Engineer In Search Of Mechanical Saddles, Khavn de La Cruz, 2008 , Philippines
Slingshot (Tirador), Brillante Mendoza, 2007 , Philippines
A Song for Indio Nacional (O Ang Mahabang Kalungkutan Ng Katagalugan), Raya Martin, 2005 , Philippines
Todo Todo Teros, John Torres, 2007 , Philippines
Tribu, Jim Libiran, 2007, Philippines
Filipino director Lav Diaz is a member of the international jury of the Thessaloniki IFF where Bakal Boys is competing.
The seven-member international jury called to judge the films of the International Competition section and to award the Golden and Silver Alexanders plus a number of additional awards, is composed of:
Theo Angelopoulos, director (Greece), president; Lissy Belaiche, festival consultant Trust Nordisk (Denmark); Mirjana Karanovic, actress (Serbia); Eugenio Caballero, Production designer (Mexico); Lav Diaz, director (Philippines); Gyorgi Palfi, director (Hungary) and Amos Poe, director (USA).
Bakal Boys is distributed locally and internationally by Ignatius Films Canada's Ferdinand Lapuz and Antonio de Guzman Jr.