Cinemalaya Cinco!

Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival will be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on July 17-26, 2009.
The opening film will be Manila, a film directed by Adolfo Alix Jr. and Raya Martin. It stars Piolo Pascual with Rosanna Roces, Angelica Panganiban, Alessandra de Rossi, William Martinez, Iza Calzado, Baron Geisler, Jon Avila, Jay Manalo and the legendary actress Anita Linda. There are also special participations from John Lapuz, Katherine Luna, Aleck Bovick, Menggie Cobarrubias and Marissa Delgado.

It is open for public viewing, for free I think (but I doubt if you'll be able to see it if you're 'the others'...). Its a first-come-first-serve basis (line up at around 12nn... joke!) and the film will start at 7:30pm. I remember my experience with the premiere of Independencia last June 12, a little bird told me that the free viewing can only accomodate 20-30 (for 'the others') people. The other tickets were already reserved (at around 150-200 tickets) for the rest of the crew and their friends. I lined-up at around 3pm for the 6pm release (not typical of me lining up). Good thing there was another screening after 8pm just to accomodate 'the others'. But I was able to join the 8pm screening (the early bird, catches the worm). Anyway, if you're not that lucky, the commercial release of Manila will be next week, July 22, 2009 at selected cinemas nationwide. Star Cinema is the official distributor of the film.

Ten films will compete in the full-length category. Click on the titles for my reviews. These are 24K by Ana Agabin; Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe by Alvin Yapan; Astig by GP Sampedro; Colorum by Jon Steffan Ballesteros; Dinig Sana Kita by Mike Sandejas; Engkwentro by Pepe Diokno; Last Supper No. 3 by Veronica Velasco and Jinky Laurel; Mangatyanan by Jerrold Tarog; Nerseri by Vic Acedillo Jr. and Sanglaan by Milo Sogueco. For schedules, click here.

Aside from this, the first Cinemalaya-NETPAC competition will premiere nine films. These are Aurora by Adolfo Alix Jr.; Baseco Bakal Boys by Ralston Jover; Bayaw by Monti Parungao; Boy by Auraeus Solito; Handumanan by Seymour Barros Sanchez; Karera by Adolfo Alix Jr.; Latak by Jowee Morel; Prince of Cockfighting by Yeng Grande and Walang Hanggang Paalam by Paolo Villaluna and Ellen Ramos.

Special Screenings will also be held for the following films: Independencia by Raya Martin, Melancholia by Lav Diaz and Serbis by Brillante Mendoza.

For the LGBT community, a special screening will be held for recent full-length films. Click on the title for my reviews. These are Dose by Senedy Que; Heavenly Touch by Joel Lamangan; Jay by Francis Pasion; Quicktrip by Cris Pablo; Selda by Paolo Villaluna and Ellen Ramos; Thank You Girls by Charliebebs Gohetia and The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela by Olaf de Fleur Johanneson.

Lastly, there is another sidebar called Indie Ani: A Harvest of Recent Full-length Features. Click on the title for my reviews. These are 100 by Chris Martinez; Agaton & Mindy by Peque Gallaga; Alon by Byron Bryant; Bente by Mel Chionglo; Concerto by Paul Alexander Morales; Confessional by Jerrold Tarog; Ded na si Lolo by Soxie Topacio; Fausta by Felino Tanada; Forgotten War by Carlo Marco Cruz; Imburnal by Sherad Anthony Sanchez; Kamoteng Kahoy by Maryo J. delos Reyes; Kolorete by Rouello Lozendo; Litsonero by Lore Reyes; Manong by Arnold Argano; Motorcycle by Jon Red; Next Attraction by Raya Martin; Padyak by Aloy Adlawan; UPCAT by Roman Olivares and Yanggaw by Richard Somes.

Charlie Koon Recommends:

Two films that have gotten my attention in my one year of film reviewing are Alon and Independencia. Alon is directed by Byron Bryant and is the highest rating I have given so far (4.5/5) and is my top film of last year. The last time I saw an exceptional film was Kubrador by Jeffrey Jeturian. Its hard to praise any art film just for the sake of being different or too experimental. Cinematic Integrity is the most important of all. If you will ask me, I prefer a well-made story than style. Alon excelled in having a rich and well-knitted narrative and well-researched characters. This is a superior work. It could penetrate your soul; as this film conveys love on its simplest form. I admire Mark Gil's performance. He's subtle. He's got style. He's just an outstanding actor.
In terms of being a good technician and crafting a film with a lot of promise, Raya Martin is the man to beat. Take note, I did not like Indio Nacional and Next Attraction. Raya Martin impressed me with his unique approach towards storytelling. And it is mostly all about our Filipino heritage. There are flaws in this film like Sid Lucero's obscure acting style and way too lyrical dialogue executions. Its just not right. But Alessandra shines all-throughout without any effort with her minimalist acting approach, it looks very natural. The overall creation of an artificial backdrop did create a bit of controversy. For me, its what he intended to do in the first place and the execution was too obvious for us to validate its synthetic appeal. The important aspect is that, Martin's got balls to do this stuff and this film could be a turning point of his increasing maturity as a filmmaker
Special Mention:If you love comedies, I recommend Ded na si Lolo directed by Soxie Topacio.

Ticket Prices:
Regular Tickets are priced at 100 pesos while students can buy for only 50 pesos.
Day Pass are priced at 300 pesos. (5 screenings per day)
Festival Pass are priced at 1000 pesos. (All screenings)

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