Cinemalaya showcases record number of 132 new works by filmmakers

This year's festival showcases 65 full-length features and 67 short films. Of these, 31 films will be in competition under the New Breed, Directors Showcase, Cinemalaya Shorts and Netpac categories. (CLICK HERE to read the synopsis of this year's entries)

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Tulad sa mga nakaraang taon, simple ngunit makulay at makabuluhan ang naging pagdiriwang sa pagbubukas ng Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival and Competition noong Biyernes, July 9, sa Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

Ganap na ika-anim ng gabi nang pasimulan ang programa. Muling napuno ang lobby ng Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) ng mga manonood na mga kabataang mag-aaral, taga-industriya ng pelikula, at iba pang sangay ng sining, at mga tagapamahala at kawani ng CCP. Kabilang ang PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) sa mga saksi sa naging kaganapan.

Nakalulugod, ayon nga sa pagkabanggit sa wikang Ingles ng CCP president at Ambassador Isabel Caro Wilson, sa kanyang opening speech, "to see so many young faces in our audience."

Dagdag pa ni Madame Wilson: "The excitement and enthusiasm for the Cinemalaya Film Festival and competition, which we are opening tonight, is part of it.

"At the very beginning, Cinemalaya was just a small event. But after all these—a short six years—I'm proud to say that it has made quite an impact... both in the industry and among film audiences, as well as in international film festivals. Cinemalaya has been one of the biggest crowd drawers at the CCP."

Laging bukas at sabay sa daloy ng mga pagbabago sa lipunan ang taunang Cinemalaya Film Festival and Competition. Ito ang unang taon na gaganapin ang Cinemalaya, sa loob ng sampung araw (Hulyo 9-18), sa ilalim ng bagong administrasyon ng Pangulong Benigno C. Aquino III.

Ito rin ang unang taon na may karagdagang limang pelikulang kalahok sa kumpetisyon, sa Directors Showcase category, bukod sa mga kumpetisyon para sa maiikling pelikula (Cinemalaya Shorts) at full-length features (New Breed). Last year, sinimulan din ang kumpetisyon para sa mga kalahok sa Netpac Awards, na itinayo naman ng Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema.

"This year's batch is the biggest number so far, with the addition of the Directors Showcase section, which features new independent films by veteran directors," banggit naman ni Nestor O. Jardin, dating pangulo ng CCP at isa sa mga tagapamahala ng Cinemalaya Foundation at ng Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

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"Tonight, we launched new works by 24 talented filmmakers, who are competing for this year's Balanghai Awards," dagdag pa ni G. Jardin.

Binanggit din niya ang kabuuang bilang ng mga pelikulang kalahok ngayong taon sa Cinemalaya.

"We feature a total of 132 indie films, consisting of 65 full-length features and 67 shorts [short films]. Of these, 31 films will be in competition under the New Breed, Directors Showcase, Cinemalaya Shorts and Netpac categories.

"These films were carefully chosen, by standards set by Cinemalaya," sabi pa niya. "What the filmmaker has to say, all the unique stories which reflect the Philippine experience, how the filmmaker wants to say it, or the filmic style and the innovative treatment used, and its public impact of how you, as audiences, will be affected by the film."

LAURICE GUILLEN'S SPEECH. Sa major press conference ng CCP noong July 16, hindi naka-attend ang premyadong filmmaker na si Ms. Laurice Guillen, chairperson ng Competition, dahil nasa ibang bansa bilang jurado sa isang international film festival.

Heto ang kabuuan ng kanyang speech noong opening, sa pagkalap ng PEP:

"Launching the competition is no easy task, despite the five years that Cinemalaya has [continuously done] in the competition, a process that takes an entire year, culminating in the month of July, and [wherein] the finished films are screened and judged. And despite the increase in audience viewership [and the] intention of good will, the challenges never seem to stop coming.

"This year, in particular, the entire production process is challenged by questions that are posed between them and the independents. Issues that often arise in a collective art form, which is at once an art, a science and a business.

"This year, for the first time, all the competing entries will be screened on high definition. So this very welcome change comes [as a most difficult] challenge for all participants.

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"Among the important learnings is that the science of filmmaking has never been so complex. And although digital technology is more accessible to aspiring filmmakers, its science and process must never be underestimated.

"Another significant addition to Cinemalaya is the participation of the five established directors in this year's competition, in a special section called the Directors Showcase. Given the same role... and grants of the 'new breed,' what independent works will they come up with?"

VARYING THEMES. In her speech, director Guillen also noted the varying themes of this year's Cinemalaya entries as among the many reasons "why we look forward to the 6th edition of the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

"This year, the themes range from rites of passage, in Limbunan and Mayohan; politics and the culture of politics, old and new, in Vox Populi, Sigwa, and Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio; gore and its impact on people, in Rekrut and Pink Halo-Halo; human and organ trafficking, in Halaw and Donor; blood and ethnic ties in Magkakapatid, Two Funerals and The Leaving; coping with change in Si Tetchie, Si Teknoboy at si Juana B; and a day in the life of the Filipino, in Sampaguita.

"To the competing films and directors of the New Breed, and the Directors Showcase, and to the Short Films finalists, congratulations!

"We thank, wholeheartedly, the selection committees of the features and shorts, the monitoring, subtitling and technical team, the jury, part of generous people who contributed in all ways possible for all participants.

"And, most especially, our patron and chairman, Mr. Antonio O. Cojuangco, for the selfless commitment and support. Thank you."

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS. Bukod sa mga pelikulang kasali sa Cinemalaya 2010, ang pormal na paglulunsad sa mga ito ay isang maganda at magarang spectacle of sights and sounds taon-taon sa bulwagan ng CCP.

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Kagabi ay isinaayos ang main theater lobby sa paraang kakaiba sa nakagawian. Ang dakong nagsisilbing mala-veranda ng gusali at vehicle port overlooking the huge CCP fountain and playground ay siyang kinapuwestuhan ng mga musikerong kabilang sa Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO). Dito rin nagmula ang mga performers ng Ballet Philippines, papasok sa main theater lobby, at ang mga tampok na filmmakers ng mga kalahok na pelikula, na isa-isang ipinakilala sa mga manonood.

Pinaka-highlight ng palabas ay ang pagtugtog ng musika ni Ruben Federizon, na inareglo para sa orchestra ni maestro Josefino "Chino" Toledo. Sa pag-introduce nina Gabe Mercado at Ariel Diccion, dalawa sa mga host ng opening night ceremonies (kasama ang isang female host), ang sayaw, sa saliw ng naturang musika, ay originally choreographed noong 1983 at re-choreographed para sa Cinemalaya 2010.

Ito ang musikang ipinarinig ng PPO with maestro Olivier O conducting, at sayaw na ipinamalas ng mga performers mula sa Ballet Philippines, ang Vision of Fire ni Edna Vida.

Later, ang mga mananayaw din ng Ballet Philippines ang nagpamalas ng tradisyunal na Balanghai dance, sa saliw ng Cinemalaya theme music, bago ang itinakdang pagpapalabas ng opening film.

OPENING FILM. Nagsilbing opening film ng Cinemalaya 2010 ang Ganap Na Babae na idinirek nina Rica Arevalo, Ellen Ramos at Sarah Roxas. Ito'y mula sa Hubo Productions ng indie film producer-director na si Will Fredo.

"It is a deeply moving film by women about women," pahayag ni Jardin. "It is Cinemalaya's way of acknowledging the achievements of our women directors. I would like to thank Mr. Will Fredo of Hubo Productions and directors Rica Arevalo, Ellen Ramos and Sarah Roxas, for giving us this privilege of having this world premiere tonight."

Sa pag-introduce sa pelikula, sa pamamagitan ng maikling programa, nagsalita si Ms. Ida Tiongson, isa sa mga producer ng Ganap Na Babae. Pinagkalooban ng plaque of appreciation ng CCP ang tatlong direktor ng obra, bagama't hindi nakadalo ang baguhang si Sarah Roxas. Sa mga bumubuo ng cast ay kabilang sa mga dumalo sina Mercedes Cabral, Sue Prado, Romalito "Rome" Mallari of Dinig Sana Kita fame at Ms. Boots Anson-Roa.

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Mixed reactions mula sa viewers ang natamo ng pelikula dahil sa ilang technical difficulties sa screening. Pero sa kabuuan, well-appreciated ng mga dumalo ang nasabing opening film, at napag-usapan ito sa cocktails na ini-sponsor ng Barbara's Restaurant pagkatapos ng palabas.

EXHIBITS. Kabilang sa mga naunang talumpati nina CCP President Isabel Caro Wilson at dating Pangulong Nestor Jardin ang pagbanggit sa iba pang magiging atraksiyon ng Cinemalaya 2010, tulad ng film retrospective series, courtesy of LVN Pictures (kabilang ang siyam na klasikong pelikula ng naturang movie company); book launchings (Anvil's Filipino Directors: Up Close by Bibsy Carballo, and Philippine New Wave ni Khavn dela Cruz); documentary features, Cine Taktakan (July 15-16); at Cinemalaya Film Congress, sa July 13 at 14.

Mayroon ding photo exhibit ng mga kalahok na direktor (mga larawang kuha ni Milo Sogueco, isa ring indie filmmaker); at painting exhibit, ang Maskarang Totoo: Mga Likhang Sining ni Juan Feleo, ng mga gawa ng late actor na si Johnny Delgado. Ang tunay na pangalan ng yumaong asawa ni Laurice Guillen ay Juan Marasigan Feleo, at isa siya sa mga naging tagasuporta ng Cinemalaya. Binuksan ang exhibit kahapon, July 10.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. Mahaba ang listahan ng mga nais pasalamatan ng dating CCP President Nestor Jardin, na binanggit din niya sa kanyang opening night speech.

"Allow me to publicly thank the people and all delegations who have supported Cinemalaya through the years.

"First and foremost, Mr. Antonio Cojuangco, chairman of Cinemalaya Foundation and holder, Econolink Investments; the Cultural Center of the Philippines and its president, Ambassador Isabel Caro Wilson, and its vice president and artistic director, Raul Sunico.

"Mr. Rolando Atienza, chairman of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), and FDCP officers, Lanie Suzara and Digna Santiago..."

Gayundin, sina Mr. Gil Chua, president of PBB Advertisng; Mr. Angelo Santos ng SQ Film Laboratories; Ms. Manet Dayrit ng Road Runner; Mr. Alan Chung, president at CEO ng Canon; Sony, MBC, at iba pang sponsors na sumusuporta sa taunang festival.

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Nagpasalamat din si Mr. Jardin sa mga opisyales ng CCP (kabilang si Ms. Irene Obligacion-Rada, ng PR and Linkages Department) and staff, "who worked so hard to put the Cinemalaya 6 together."

Pasasalamat din ang ipinaabot ni Jardin sa mga miyembro ng Cinemalaya Organizing Committee, "for the hard work and dedication." Kabilang sina Mr. Robbie Tan, head ng Monitoring Team, Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson, director of the Cinemalaya Congress, Ms. Tess Rances, festival coordinator, Mr. Ed Cabagnot, festival programmer, at si Ms. Laurice Guillen, chairperson of the Cinemalaya Competition.


(CLICK HERE to check the schedules of films to be screened at the CCP)


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