Pormal na binuksan kahapon, July 15, simula sa ganap na ika-6:30 ng gabi, ang 7th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Festival 2011, sa pamamagitan ng simpleng palatuntunan na taun-taon ay isinasagawa sa lobby ng Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) ng Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), sa Roxas Boulevard Pasay City.
Nagbigay ng masiglang opening remarks si Ms. Emily Abrera, CCP Chairman. Muli niyang ipinahayag ang malaking naging pagsulong ng Cinemalaya Film Festival, mula sa pagsisimula nito noong 2005 hanggang sa kasalukuyang taon; at ang mga natatanging lineup ng mga pelikulang mapapanood, sa iba’t ibang kategorya.
"Fifty one films are in competition, [belonging to the] New Breed full-length feature categories, Short feature categories, Directors’ Showcase, and NETPAC (Network for the Promotions of Asian Cinema) premieres," pagtukoy ni Ms. Abrera.
Sinundan iyon ng pormal na pagpapakilala ni Ms. Laurice Guillen, Competition Committee Chairman, sa mga kalahok na filmmakers sa Short Features, New Breed, at Directors’ Showcase categories, ng Cinemalaya 2011.
Ang pagpapakilala ni Guillen sa mga competing filmmakers ay isinagawa matapos ang pagpapalabas ng mga piling tagpo, o trailers ng mga film entries.
MESSAGE. Ang mensahe ni Nestor O. Jardin, Festival Director, bilang panghuling tagapagsalita, ang nagpahayag ng kumpletong nilalaman at kabuuang saysay ng binubuksang independent film festival.
Narito ang kabuuan ng mensahe ni G. Jardin:
"Inilunlunsad natin ngayong gabi ang ika-pitong edisyon ng Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.
"Sa susunod na siyam na araw, magkakasama-sama na naman tayo, upang panoorin ang mga pelikula na malayang nagsasaad ng iba’t ibang kuwento ng katotohanan; at hinagpis, kalayaan, nakaraan, karangyaan, [at] pagkamapusok...
"Mga kuwentong hindi natin kalimitang nakikita sa pelikulang Pilipino.
SEE THE UNSEEN. "’See the Unseen’ is Cinemalaya’s theme this year," patuloy ni Jardin. "Themes that tell us stories about the infinite Filipino life experience; themes that boldly portray the good and the bad in our society; themes that depict our rich cultural heritage.
"This year, we are featuring a total of 181 independent films; 65 full-length and 116 [shorts] from all over the country.
"51 of these films are in competition, for the New Breed, Directors’ Showcase and NETPAC Philippines’ premieres.
"We’re very excited about this year’s festival, because of the new things that are being introduced in Cinemalaya, for the first time:
"First, we’re going to have simultaneous festival screening, at the CCP and Greenbelt Cinemas, courtesy of Ayala Theaters Management.
"This will allow for more screenings of the festival films and accommodate the growing number of Cinemalaya audiences.
"Second, for the first time in Cinemalaya, we will open a new section called Focus Asia, featuring indie films from Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
"In line with this regional thrust," dagdag pa ni Jardin, "the Cinemalaya Congress, scheduled on July 19 and 20, at the CCP Little Theater, will deal with the theme, ’Building Bridges On Indie Filmmaking In Asia.’
"Third, a new section called Cinemalaya Documentary will feature 17 full-length and 4 documentaries, by some of our most talented filmmakers."
FPJ FILMS RETROSPECTIVE. Ugnay sa ikatlo, at ikaapat na bahagi ng festival, ay pinasalamatan ni Jardin ang Calaca Corp. at ang Society of Filipino Archivists for Films (SOFIA), "for supporting this festival."
"Fourth, the Cinemalaya Retrospective will feature the Ronwaldo Reyes Retrospective, a tribute to National Artist Fernando Poe, Jr., showcasing 9 films which he directed or wrote scripts for.
"We wish to thank the FPJ Productions, San Miguel Corporation, and the SOFIA for helping us mount this section.
CO-PRESENTORS. "Finally, the Independent Film Cooperative, or IFC, and the Cinemalaya Foundation are presenting the first Manila Film Financing Forum, on July 17, which I hope our indie filmmakers will attend and take advantage of.
"My heartfelt thanks go to our co-presentors: the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), represented tonight by its Chairperson, Emily Abrera; Econolink Investment and its Chairman, Antonio Cojuangco; and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and its Chairman, Briccio Santos.
"Maraming Salamat sa inyong lahat!"
ESSENCE OF CINEMALAYA. In particular, Nestor Jardin cited the contributions of the independent filmmakers of the annual festival.
"My gratitude also goes to all our partners who have wholeheartedly lent us their support," he said.
"I also wish to thank director Laurice Guillen, for allowing us to have Maskara, her first indie film, as the opening film of Cinemalaya 2011.
"But most of all, I wish to thank and congratulate this year’s batch of filmmakers, for giving us new films that I am sure will entertain us, teach us new lessons in life, feed our imagination, [and] tell us what it takes to be a Filipino.
"The independent filmmaker is the essence of Cinemalaya. It is for you that we organize this festival.
"And to all of you—our very supporters and audiences, thank you for helping us make what Cinemalaya is today.
"Maraming salamat po!"
PERFORMERS. Sa opening ceremony ay naging malaking atraksiyon din sa mga manonood, kabilang ang mga foreign guests, local celebrities at media representatives, including PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), ang mga kinatawan ng mga grupong pang-kultura, tulad ng Seven Contemporary Dance Company at Philippine Dance Ensemble.
Sa makukulay nilang kasuotan ay nagpamalas ng mga katutubong sayaw ang PDE; habang ang mga kalalakihan ng SCDC, na naka-topless ang iba, ay nagsayaw sa mga matataas na entabladong bakal.
Isang makapigil-hiningang tagpo ang ginawa ni Liwliua Peralta Jr., rapeller, na bumiting patiwarik mula sa ikatlong palapag ng makeshift iron stage pababa sa audience area. Ang choreography ay mula kay Christine Santillan.
Naghandog ng awitin si Camille Molina, soprano, sa saliw ng musika nina Butch Roxas (guitar), Herrick Ortiz (cello) at areglo ni Naldy Rodriguez. Bukod kay Santillan, ang iba pang choreographers ay sina Marciano Viri, ng Philippine Dance Ensemble, at Kristoffer Legarde, ng SCDC.
Kabilang ang Bruganda Drumbeaters sa Redux musical number, at sa Cinemalaya Remix, in Light, Dance and Sound, featuring Son et Lumiere: Katsch S.J. Catoy; with original music by Bob Aves; vocals by Grace Nono; lyrics by Nicanor Tiongson; remix arrangement by Robbie Factoran and Mike Villegas; and video by Rodel Valiente.