By Trixie Dauz
From shorts to full-length, who do you think will shine brighter this year?
As the cocktails ended, VIPs and participants of the film festival were ushered in by fresh-faced and cheerful people from Team Manila, the PR group behind the said event. The host then announced the opening act which is Triple Fret, the first Filipino all-female guitar ensemble. They serenaded the crowd with instrumental versions of the videoke favorite, Bohemian Rhapsody, as well as the well-known OPM song Noypi by Bamboo.
The jurors for the different categories were introduced, including accomplished directors Joey Reyes and Mark Meily, who are both currently active in the film program of DLS-CSB. Veteran director Raymond Red and Reyes are the jurors for the shorts category, while the main category (full-length) jurors, names in the list are Ishizaka Kenji, Philip Chea, and Roger Garcia, all have been to different international filmfests. The categories this year include Samsung Cinefone as well as the feature length and shorts category. The wine toasting was led by founder Wilson Tieng then Brillante Mendoza officially opened the festival by hitting the gong.
Among the full-length entries, Jay Altarejos’ TPO is the most controversial since it revolved around a provision under the Republic Act 9262, known commonly as the anti-violence against women and their children act. With the increase of documented cases of violence against women, which went up from 3,687 in 1997 to 23,865 in 2013, according to PNP, the movie will be definitely an eye-opener as to what steps Filipino women can take to protect themselves.
Mes de Guzman’s Dyamper tackled the modus operandi of three guys who skulk Dalton Pass just as the sun’s about to rise so they can jump down and snag goods from the back of delivery trucks so they can get their daily bread. They unknowingly steal drugs which eventually gets them into trouble and the only way to get their freedom back is to take on a risky mission. This is also the comeback film of Timothy Castillo (formerly known as Tim Mabalot), the boy possessed by a demon from the 2014 critically acclaimed film Violator.
Adolf Alix Jr. who also made the film Adela in 2008, again has an elderly women as his protagonist in Mrs. The film explored the dynamics of a 70-year old woman and her loyal housekeeper when the latter needed to move out. It focused on the cruelty of life on those who are left alone in their old age. Both Lila and Expressway tackled familiar territory with the former focusing on the story of a young woman who finds her old tenant’s diary and gets caught up in paranormal events while the latter, similar to OTJ, deals with the mentor-mentee relationship of two killers as the master tagged his protégé along on his last assignment.
After the opening ceremony, held at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura Premier, Yann Arthus-Bertand’s Human, a documentary which meditated on the core of our existence and helped define what humanity was really about, was screened at Cinema 1.
“I am one man among seven billion others. For the past 40 years, I have been photographing our planet and its human diversity, and I have the feeling that humanity is not making any progress. We can’t always manage to live together. Why is that? I didn’t look for an answer in statistics or analysis, but in man himself,” said the film’s director, who concocted this visual feast after having interviewed 2000 people across 60 countries.
(The festival runs from April 21 to 26 in select SM cinemas. The photos are from https://www.facebook.com/SinagMaynila which is the official Facebook page).