Astig, Cinemalaya 2009's top grosser, will compete in the New Currents section of the 14th Pusan International Film Festival, which will be held in South Korea from October 8 to 16.
The public announcement was made at the screening of Astig earlier today, July 29, at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.
During the awards night of Cinemalaya Cinco held last July 26 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Astig emerged as the most-awarded film with four Balanghai trophies—Best Director for GB Sampedro, Best Supporting Actor for Arnold Reyes, Best Editing for Bebs Gohetia, and Best Sound for Ditoy Aguila, Junel Valencia, and Mark Locsin.
This indie film about four tough guys operating in various streets of Manila is the first Cinemalaya Cinco entry to be invited to an international film festival. Astig is topbilled by Dennis Trillo, Arnold Reyes, Edgar Allan Guzman, and Sid Lucero.
In the 2008 Pusan IFF, two Filipino films brought home top prizes. The comedy-drama 100 bagged the KNN Audience Choice Award while the short film Andong shared the Sonje Award with the Korean film Girl.
Astig director GB Sampedro is glad to be given this privilege. "I'm so honored that our film Astig got invited to the prestigious Pusan International Film Festival. As a first-time director, I'm blessed to have a great team backing me up—from Tito Boy Abunda, Boy So, Noel Ferrer, and Jerry Gracio, to all the great actors, production staff and crew—these are the people who deserve the recognition both here and abroad! Now, we think not only of ourselves, it is now team Astig-Philippines!"
Supervising producer Noel Ferrer narrated, "I had the honor of meeting the Pusan festival director Kim Dong-Ho and programmer Kim Ji-Seok at the CCP during Cinemalaya. They are marveling at our film output. I am grateful that they chose Astig as the competition entry and the Pusan invitation sets us in the right direction in terms of international film festivals, and an Astig victory is a triumph for the Filipino film industry."
"VANILLA ICE CREAM SYNDROME." Indie filmmaker Jim Libiran recently commented that the popular support given to Astig can be attributed to the "vanilla ice cream syndrome."
Direk Jim pointed out, "We know how vanilla ice cream tastes like. We buy it to play safe. We don't want to experiment on other flavors. I hope the audience would be open to watching the other entries."
It is interesting to note that Jim Libiran (director of Tribu, 2007 Cinemalaya Best Film) had a cameo in the Cinemalaya 2009 entry Engkwentro.
Mr. Ferrer remarked, "Dedma na. Sana masaya na lang siya para sa amin. Vanilla ice cream na pang international na!"
Here is the invitation letter that Mr. Ferrer received from the Pusan IFF:
Dear Noel Ferrer,
Greetings from Pusan International Film Festival!
It is our pleasure to invite ASTIG to the 14th Pusan International Film Festival, which will be held from 8 to 16 October 2009.
Enclosed, please find the official invitation letter from the festival directors.
The film will be screened on New Currents section. It is the competition section to discover innovative movements, and is only eligible for the new filmmaker from Asia.
Be advised that the film has to be World or International Premiere, which means that the film must not be screened in public before the festival.
It would be grateful of you to take a moment to review the entry regulations and to return the entry form filled and completed along with other entry materials no later than 16 August. Your support would be essential for the success of the festival.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Program Director | Pusan International Film Festival