By Trixie Dauz

“Totoo pong buhay na buhay ang ating industriya [film industry],” excitedly remarked Madonna Tarrayo, CineFilipino Festival Director and Unitel Productions President, during the press conference held a few days ago at Plaza Ibarra. “Hindi kami nakikipagkumptensiya sa isa’t isa ngunit nagbubukas kami ng pinto sa mga bagong tinig,” stated Competition Director Jose Javier Reyes.

                    

The festival started in 2013 and churned out eight feature films, some of which went to garner awards and even served as career launching pads for new discoveries like Teri Malvar of Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita and Karl Medina of The Guerrilla is a Poet. The theme of this year’s festival is “Kwento pa rin ang Hari (The Story is Still King).” Ang Turkey Man ay Pabo Rin, an underrated product of the festival, went on to become a romantic comedy series in a TV remake titled Kano Luvs Pinay which aired in last quarter of 2015 every Saturday on TV5.    The organizer of the festival is Unitel Productions in cooperation with the MVP Group of Companies. Each filmmaker for the full-length featured received 2 million pesos. Participants in other categories like documentary and television series also received seed money. Whistleblower, a film by Adolf Alix Jr. starring Nora Aunor, will be the opening salvo on March 15, 6 P.M., at Newport Cinema 4, Resorts World Manila.

12832325_10153495215842106_8751730871062941530_n12813998_10153495215677106_5320012415624682906_n 12809633_10153495214782106_5402911522163270832_nTen films were supposed to compete in the feature-length category. However, JP Habac, the director of the entry Oktopus in the shorts category, pulled out his full-length film I’m Drunk, I Love You from the competition for unverified reasons. The remaining nine films include Ang Tulay ng San Sebastian (Alvin Yapan), Ang Taba ko Kasi (Jason Paul Laxamana), Ned’s Project (Lem Lorca), Star na si Van Damme Stallone (Randolph Longjas), Buhay Habangbuhay (Paolo Herras), Straight to the Heart (David Fabros), Sakaling Hindi Makarating (Ice Idanan) 1st Sem (Dexter Hemedez and Allan Ibañez), and A Lotto Like Love (Carla Baful).

Yapan’s film tackles the origin of our fears rooted in superstition, while Laxamana’s film focuses of the preoccupation of a woman with her physical appearance because she wants to be loved. Lorca’s film is unconventional and features Angeli Bayani in a role which breaks gender stereotypes, a lesbian who wants to conceive a child with the help of a male friend. Longjas uplifts the cause of people with special needs in his film featuring Paolo Pingol from the Mcdo commercial “Kuya”. Herras indie comics takes the form of a film dealing with life and death, and how the two are not so different after all. The films of Fabros and Baful are romantic comedies which deal with love springing from unexpected situations, while Idanan’s film is a nostalgic ode to hopeless romantics who would travel as far as their feet would carry them just to have a possible glimpse of true love.

This year’s partner movie houses include Gateway Cineplex, Festival Cinemas, Eastwood Cinemas, Robinsons Galleria Movieworld, Robinsons Metro East Movieworld, Resorts World’s Newport Cinemas, EDSA Shangri-La Cineplex, and Greenhills Theater Mall Cinema. A grand total of 35 films will be shown which includes nine full-length features, five documentaries, five TV series, and 17 shorts (11 short films, 5 web-based films, and 1 film made using a mobile device).

For more information on individual screening schedules, you may visit pinoyscreenandstage.blogspot.com, an unofficial partner blog of the CineFilipino 2016. The festival is from March 16 to 22.

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