Ten filmmakers were supposed to compete in the full-length feature film category of Cinemalaya this year but one of them, Arnel Mardoquio, pulled out his entry titled Sheika. His film revolves around a woman ravaged by war in Mindanao and in her quest for peace, she transfers to a city. However, violence and death continue to haunt her.
According to former Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) President Nestor Jardin, Arnel was not able to comply with the requirements of Cinemalaya.
Vicky Belarmino of CCP also revealed that the filmmaker gave a letter saying that he will no longer proceed with his Cinemalaya entry.
"May mga terms kasi sa MOA [memorandum of agreement] that you have to submit this and if you're not complying with the basic terms in the MOA, e, medyo problematic yun. In the end, siya na rin mismo ang nag-backout. Before he was even disqualified, siya na ang nag-backout."
For this reason, only nine entries will be competing in the category also known as the New Breed of Filmmakers. They will compete for the prize of P200,000 and the Balanghai trophy. Now on its 6th year, the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival will take place at the Cultural Center of the Philippines from July 9-18.
Last May 12, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) awarded P100,000 to the finalists of the 6th Cinemalaya. Nine filmmakers received checks for their full-length feature films while the five veteran filmmakers competing in the Directors' Showcase also received funding from the FDCP. This is the third year that the FDCP has awarded the finalists.
Present at the awarding were the filmmakers in the full-length feature film competition, namely: Sheron Dayoc (Halaw), Gutierrez "Teng" Mangansakan II (Limbunan), Kim Homer Garcia (Magkakapatid), Dan Villegas and Paul Sta. Ana (Mayohan), Danny Añonuevo (Rekrut), Francis Xavier Pasion (Sampaguita, National Flower), Art Katipunan (Si Tetchie, Si Teknoboy at si Juana B), Dennis Marasigan (Vox Populi, Siya Ang Meyor Ko!), and Ian-Dean Loreños (The Leaving).
Two entries in the full-length feature film category tackle the culture and situation in the southern Philippines.
Maguindanaoan filmmaker Gutierrez Mangansakan II's Limbunan is a glimpse of the hidden world of the "limbunan" where Maguindanaon brides-to-be are kept away from public view. Meanwhile, Sheron Dayoc's Halaw is the journey of Badjao siblings as they attempt to make the illegal crossing to the island of Sabah.
The other Cinemalaya entries tackle a variety of themes ranging from the Philippine elections to relationships to the world of the military.
Mayohan is a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Maytime festivites in Quezon province. Magkakapatid is about a family, torn apart and brought together by tragedy. Rekrut is about the friendship of a devout Muslim and a Christian who belong to an elite group of young military recruits. Sampaguita, National Flower traces the journey of the sampaguita flower from buds plucked in the province to their final destination in the city where they are sold by street children. The Leaving depicts the social, moral and cultural issues that the new generation of Tsinoys must deal with. Vox Populi (Siya Ang Meyor Ko!) follows the campaign trail of a woman candidate on the last day of the campaign period.
DIRECTORS' SHOWCASE. In addition to the full-length feature film category, another section was introduced in this year's edition: the Directors' Showcase. The finalists present are: Jay Altarejos (Pink Halo-Halo), Mario O'Hara (Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio), Joel Lamangan (Sigwa), Gil Portes (Two Funerals), and Mark Meily (Isang Pirasong Buhay).
Pink Halo-Halo shows how the war in Mindanao will rob the innocence of a young boy from Masbate. Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio is a historical film that will shed light on the life and death of the Supremo of the Katipunan. Sigwa (which translates to Storm), spans 40 years of Philippine social unrest. The ensemble film is a composite of the lives of activists who survived the First Quarter Storm of 1970, the series of protest actions against the regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Two Funerals is about a grieving mother who goes on a road trip to reclaim her daughter's body.
Director Mark Meily wasn't able to make it to the awarding since he was out of the country at that time. He was represented by one of his staff members. His film is about a woman who marries an Arab so she can donate one of her kidneys to the sick man.
Present at the awarding, aside from the competing directors, were former CCP President Nestor Jardin, FDCP executive director Digna Santiago, and some members of the local entertainment media.
SHORT FILM CATEGORY. The organizers of Cinemalaya have recently come up with a list of ten finalists in the Short Films category.
The filmmakers and their respective entries are as follows: Joey Agbayani (Lola), Alistaire Christian Chan (Boca), Steven Flor (Breakfast With Lolo), Pam Miras (Wag Kang Titingin), Mikhail Red (Harang/Barriers), Jerrold Tarog (Faculty), Hubert Tibi (Hay Pinhod Oh Ya Scooter/I Want To Have A Bicycle), Rommel Tolentino ("P"), Borgy Torre (Crossing Michael), and Janus Victoria (Dalaw /Visit). One of these short films will win the prize of P100,000 and a Balanghai trophy.
The annual film festival is a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc., in partnership with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and Econolink Investments, Inc.
The 6th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival will be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines from July 9 to 18, 2010.