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11 films competing in Cinemalaya 18

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THE 18th edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, which carries the theme “Breaking Through the Noise,” will feature 11 full-length films and 12 short features. After two consecutive years of online streaming, Cinemalaya returns to onsite screenings, with the competing films to be screened in venues around the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) from Aug. 5 to 14, in partner cinemas from Aug. 10 to 17, in regional theaters from Aug. 22 to 29, and online via the CCP’s Vimeo account from Oct. 17 to 31.

The 11 full-length films in this year’s film festival are: 12 Weeks by Anna Isabelle Matutina, Angkas by Rain Yamson, Bakit ’Di Mo Sabihin? by Real S. Florido, Batsoy by Ronald Espinosa Batallones, Blue Room by Ma-an L. Asuncion-Dagńalan, Bula Sa Langit by Sheenly Gener, Ginhawa by Christian Paolo Lat, Kaluskos by Roman S. Perez, Jr., Kargo by TM Malones, Retirada by Milo Alto Paz and Cynthia Cruz-Paz, and The Baseball Player by Carlo Obispo.

The short films in the main competition are: Ampangabagat nin Talakba ha Likol (It’s Raining Frogs Outside) by Maria Estela Paiso, Black Rainbow by Zig Dulay, City of Flowers by Xeph Suarez, Dikit by Gabriela Serrano, Distance by Dexter Paul de Jesus, Duwa-Duwa by Nena Jana Achacoso, Kwits by Raz de la Torre, Mata Kang Busay by Nińo B. Maldecir and Cypher John T. Gayorgor, Mga Handum nga Nasulat sa Baras (The Dreams that are Written in the Sand) by Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay and Richard Jeroui Salvadico, See You, George! by Mark Moneda, Si Oddie by Maria Kydylee Torato, and Roundtrip to Happiness by Claudia Fernando.

RETROSPECTIVE OF SHORT FILMSCinemalaya will also be screening the Retrospective Shorts section on Aug. 7, 9, 10, and 12 at the CCP’s Tanghalang Manuel Conde. The Retrospective Shorts section gives a chance for audiences to see the short films of the 16th (2020) and 17th (2021) editions of Cinemalaya.

Award winners Tokwifi (Star) by Carla Pulido Ocampo, Pabasa Kan Pasyon by Hubert Tibi, and Quing Lalam Ning Aldo (Under the Sun) by Reeden Fajardo will be shown on Aug. 7, 9 p.m. and Aug. 9, 3 p.m., along with finalists Ang Gasgas na Plaka ni Lolo Bert (The Broken Vinyl Record) by Janina Gacosta and Cheska Marfori, and Fatigued by James Robin Mayo.

Living Things by Martika Ramirez Escobar, and Ang Pagpakalma Sa Unos (To Calm the Pig Inside) by Joanna Vasquez Arong, which received the Best Direction and Special Jury Prizes, respectively in 2020, will be screening on Aug. 9, 6:15 p.m., and Aug. 10 at 9 p.m., along with Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss by Sonny Calvento, The Slums by Jan Andrei Cobey, Utwas (Arise) by Richard Salvadico and Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay.

Audience Choice Award, Special Jury Prize, NETPAC Jury Prize winner during Cinemalaya 2021, An Sadit na Planeta (The Little Planet) by Arjanmar H. Rebeta is among the films showing on Aug. 9 at 9 p.m., and Aug. 10 at 3:30 p.m. Cinemalaya 2021 Best Short Film Beauty Queen by Myra Aquino will be screening on Aug. 10 at 6:15 p.m., and Aug. 12 at 9 p.m.

TALKBACK SESSIONSCinemalaya 18 will feature eight days of Talkback sessions with the directors of the films in competition, from Aug. 3 to 13. The sessions will provide an opportunity for the audience to acquire deeper insights about the film they have watched through an interactive discussion with the filmmakers themselves.

The following is the schedule for the Talkback sessions for the competition films (full-length films and short features), which will primarily take place at the CCP Cinemalaya Tent and the Main Gallery.

There are three planned at chosen malls: SM Megamall, Glorietta, and TriNoma:

On Aug. 6, 5:30 p.m., director Rainerio C. Yamson II will his film Angkas (The Backride) at the Cinemalaya Tent. Angkas tells the story of two estranged friends mending their broken past as they embark on a journey while riding a habal-habal to fetch the corpse of their deceased pal. At 6:30 p.m. in the same venue, Bakit Di Mo Sabihin (Tell Her) director Real S. Florido will discuss his film, which is about a deaf couple who discovers that what is separating them is not their inability to communicate verbally or audibly.

On Aug. 7, 5:30 p.m., director Ronald Espinosa Batallones will talk about his film Batsoy, at the Cinemalaya Tent. Batsoy is about two young brothers who start on a fantastical adventure to satisfy their intense hunger for batsoy. Later at 8:30 PM, director Roman S. Perez, Jr. is set to talk about his film Kaluskos (Rustles) at the same venue. His film follows a single mother who is in the midst of a custody dispute who discovers something under her daughter’s bed that will make her doubt whether she truly loves the child.

On Aug. 8, 5:30 p.m., director Sheenly Gener’s talkback for Bula sa Langit (Trigger) is slated at the CCP Main Gallery. Her film is about a young soldier who returns home after surviving a siege. The talkback for Shorts A is slated for 8:30 p.m. at the Cinemalaya Tent.  Shorts A comprises six films namely: Roundtrip to Happiness by Claudia Fernando, Mata Kang Busay (Vision of The Falls) by Niño B. Maldecir, Ampangabagat Nin Talakba Ha Likol (It’s Raining Frogs Outside) by Maria Estela Paiso, Kwits (Quits) by Raz de la Torre, Mga Handum Nga Nasulat sa Baras (The Dreams That Are Written On The Sand) by Arlie Sweet Sumagsay and Richard Jeroui Salvadico, and City of Flowers  by Xeph Suarez.

On Aug. 9, 5:30 p.m., director Carlo Obispo talks about his film The Baseball Player at the Cinemalaya Tent. It is about a Moro child soldier who dreams of becoming a baseball player in the midst of an all-out war. The talkback for Shorts B follows at 8:30 p.m. in the same venue. Shorts B is composed of six films: Si Oddie by Maria Kydlee Torato, Duwa-Duwa (The Play) by Nena Jane Achacoso, Distance by Dexter Paul De Jesus, Dikit by Gabriela Serrano, See you, George! by Mark Moneda, and Black Rainbow by Zig Dulay.

On Aug. 10, 6:30 p.m., director Christian Paolo Lat will talk about his film Ginhawa (Solace) at SM Megamall. It’s about an aspiring boxer who gets punched by the harsh reality of the sport. At 8 p.m. at Glorietta, director TM Malones expounds on his film Kargo (Cargo), about a woman who finally exacts retribution on the person who killed her whole family.

On Aug. 11, 5:30 p.m., 12 Weeks is open for discussion with its director Anna Isabelle Matutina at the CCP Main Gallery. Her film tackles the struggles of a single, 40-year-old woman as she is pushed to deal with the thoughts of motherhood. Following at the same venue is another talkback for Ginhawa (Solace) at 8:30 p.m. with director Christian Paolo Lat. At 3:30 p.m. at TriNoma, directors Cynthia and Milo Paz will discuss their film Retirada (The Retiree), about a retired government official’s new hobby which causes existential crisis and financial difficulties.

On Aug. 12, 8:30 p.m., director Ma-an Asuncion will talk about her film Blue Room at the Cinemalaya Tent. The film follows the members of a progressive rock band who must decide whether to choose freedom or to stick to their principles.

On Aug. 13, 3 p.m., there will be another discussion on Kargo (Cargo) with TM Malones at the Cinemalaya Tent. Following at 8:30 p.m., the last talkback is with directors Cynthia and Milo Paz for their film Retirada (The Retiree).

GAWAD ALTERNATIBOOne of the highlights of the Cinemalaya film fest is the Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video or Gawad Alternatibo. Established in 1987, it is recognized as the longest-running independent film and video competition of its kind in Asia.

It will showcase this year’s finalists at the Tanghalang Manuel Conde on Aug. 6-14.

There are four main categories — Animation, Documentary, Experimental, and Short Feature. There will be 10 entries for Animation, 10 for Documentary, 11 for Experimental, and 15 for Short Feature.

Talkbacks will be held on Aug. 6 for Documentary, Aug. 7 for Experimental and Animation, and Aug. 8 for Short Feature.  There will be exhibition sections such as the Curated List and Retrospective films feature the GAWAD Alternatibo Winners from 2020 to 2021.

The Gawad Awards Night will be on Aug. 13, 6:15 p.m., at the Tanghalang Manuel Conde.

Visit www.gawadalternatibo.org  and www.facebook.com/gawadalt to learn more about Gawad Alternatibo. For information on the 18th Cinemalaya Film Festival screening schedules and other offerings, follow the official CCP and Cinemalaya social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  For additional information, go to the CCP website at www.culturalcenter.gov.ph.

Tickets are available at Ticketworld https://premier.ticketworld.com.ph/shows/show.aspx…; SM tickets https://www.smtickets.com/cinemalaya and at the CCP Box Office. The Festival Passes (P2,500) are still available at the CCP Website and CCP Box Office.