Cinemalaya films Donor and Sigwa will compete in the 37th Brussels IFF

Donor director Mark Meily (left) plans to attend the 37th Brussels International Film Festival in Belgium this November with lead actress Meryll Soriano (middle). Baron Geisler (right) is not yet sure if he can attend the filmfest where their film is in competition. Another Filipino film invited to the Brussels IFF is the Cinemalaya entry Sigwa.


Two Cinemalaya 2010 entries, Donor and Sigwa, will be competing in the 37th Brussels International Film Festival, which will take place in Belgium from November 2-7.

Brussels IFF festival director Mr. Robert Malengreau told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) earlier today, July 30, why he chose these two films: "They are the best that I saw in Cinemalaya. They are interesting even outside the country. They have good quality and they are really strong."

Previously titled Isang Pirasong Buhay, Donor is about a woman named Lizette (Meryll Soriano) who decides to marry a Jordanian so she can circumvent a law prohibiting Filipinos from donating a kidney to a foreigner. She asks permission from her live-in partner Danny (Baron Geisler) if he would be okay with this arrangement. He agrees to the deal and later on, asks Lizette for a portion of the P100,000 payment so he could purchase a gun.

Director Mark Meily plans to attend the filmfest in Belgium with Meryll. (CLICK HERE to read PEP's review of Donor.)

Joel Lamangan helms the period film Sigwa, which tackles the intertwining lives of activists who lived during the First Quarter Storm of 1970. The film has a star-studded cast composed of Dawn Zulueta, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Gina Alajar, Tirso Cruz III, Marvin Agustin, Pauleen Luna, Lovi Poe, Megan Young, Allen Dizon, Jay Aquitania, and Jim Pebangco.

(CLICK HERE to read more about Sigwa.)

Aside from the Philippines, entries from Egypt, Morocco, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Germany and England, Chile and the United States will be competing in the international competition of the Brussels IFF.

In last year's edition, two other Cinemalaya entries bagged two major awards. Dinig Sana Kita earned the Grand Prix in the Special Competition - International Deaf Cinema Section. Lou Veloso won the Best Actor award in the international competition for the film Colorum.

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ORGAN DONOR TRADE. Last Wednesday, July 28, PEP interviewed Donor director Mark Meily during the film's screening at the Film Institute of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

"Na-invite na ako dati sa Brussels in 1988 for my short film Ang Pangako ng Bagong Simulain starring Pen Medina and Ricky Davao. Dati kasi filmfest lang siya ng mga short films na lumaki nang lumaki. Nakakatuwa nga kasi twenty-two years later, babalik ako doon," says the director who also had a cameo role in Donor.

In the 6th edition of Cinemalaya, Donor bagged the Best Film award in the Director's Showcase category. It also won awards for Best Performance of an Actor (Baron Geisler), Best Performance of an Actress (Meryll Soriano), Best Performance of a Supporting Actress (Karla Pambid), and Best Production Design (Aped Santos).

Direk Mark revealed that Donor was supposed to be set in North America, particularly in a place bordering Mexico and Texas. However, in the course of his research, he learned about organ transplants that take place in the Philippines. He then went to the Gawad Kalinga village in Baseco, Tondo. He found out that almost all the tricycle drivers in the said area have donated a kidney in exchange for a huge amount of money.

Baron Geisler was present during the screening of Donor and he told PEP that it was his first time to watch Donor on the big screen. He says that he is very proud of being part of the film.

Did he ever think that their film would be invited to international film festivals?

"Hindi ko naisip yun... Naisip ko lang kung gaano kami kasaya sa set," said the actor.

When asked if he is afraid of being typecast in "bad boy" roles, he said, "I think kung sa stereotype, wala namang mawawala sa akin. I'm about to step out of the shadow of the bad boy image."

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Aside from starring in ABS-CBN's primetime series Noah, Baron is also doing an indie film with Direk Joel Lamangan titled Bihis.


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