Check Out Cinemalaya 2022 Feature Films
Budding boxers, lost soldiers and hungry children are just some of the characters in this year’s films
AFTER two years of online screenings of short films, the 2022 edition of the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival returns with on-site screenings of competing features and shorts in August.
The 18 of the festivale year, themed “Breaking Through the Noise,” will screen 11 feature films and 12 short films from August 5 to 14 at various venues in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
This year’s feature films were the selected finalists for the 2020 and 2021 editions of the film festival.
The 11 feature films at this year’s film festival are:
• Angkas by Rain Yamson
The story follows two estranged friends rebuilding their relationship while traveling together to retrieve the body of a deceased friend.
• 12 weeks by Anna Isabelle Matutina
In the film, a 40-year-old woman finds out she’s pregnant just weeks after ending a romantic relationship.
The film is set in 2017 and includes events in Mindanao such as the Siege of Marawi, the film’s director, Anna Isabelle Matutina, said at a July 6 press conference at the main CCP theater.
“It’s a story of modern Filipina women who continue to struggle in a very conservative and deeply patriarchal country where anti-woman laws continue to exist,” said Ms. Matutina, director and editor of the documentary series. I testifywrote in his director’s notes.
• Bakit’ Di Mo Sabihin? by Real S. Florido
Real S. Florido’s personal thesis on communication, the film follows a deaf couple whose marriage fails.
“Lahat tayo kaya natin magsalita… pero naipaparating ba natin doon sa kausap natin ang gusto nating sabihin? (We can all talk…but do we really effectively express what we want to say to those we talk to?),” the film’s lead actor, JC De Vera, said of the story’s message.
For hearing audiences, the film includes translations from the Filipino Sign Language (FLS) as well as the gay FLS used in the film.
• Batsoy by Ronald Espinosa Batallones
The film follows two young siblings on a fantastical adventure to quench their thirst for batsoy Where batch (a noodle soup made from pork offal).
Director Ronald Espinosa Batallones recalled that as a child, he and the kids in their town craved the local delicacy like they would food from a new fast food joint.
“The film will bring to light the noble and supreme love of the eldest for his younger brother,” Mr. Batallones wrote in his filmmaker’s notes.
• Blue Room by Ma-an L. Asuncion-Dagńalan
The film follows young rock musicians who are arrested for possession of illegal drugs.
“As a writer, I just want to tell the story of using power in the right way. Don’t abuse it or misuse it,” director Ma-an L. Asuncion-Dagńalan said. , adding that in the film, the young characters use their musical talents as a source of power.
• Bula Sa Langit by Sheenly Gener
In the film, Wesley, a soldier who fought in a siege, faces a different battle when he returns home..
“Something you celebrate can be a scar for other people,” said director Sheenly Gener in English and Filipino. “We see soldiers as heroes, [but] how they pass from the war to their families does not come to mind.
“How do they bridge the gap knowing that when you’re a soldier, they’re weapons of war and don’t convey a lot of emotions. When they come back to their families, [the problem is] how do they change [back to] to be a member of the family,” she said.
• Ginhawa by Christian Paolo Lat
Director Christian Paolo Lat is a boxing enthusiast and heard stories from his trainers when he got into amateur boxing. These inspired the film which is about an aspiring boxer who is exposed to the dark reality of the sport during his training.
“Amateur boxers fight blood, sweat and tears just for a chance to train in Manila at a boxing stable. Their managers promise them the world at hand, but often return to their province with less than what they had with them,” Mr. Lat wrote in his filmmaker notes.
“We are so proud of our athletes, but we don’t see what they had to go through to get there. [to the] high,” he said.
• Kalouskos by Roman S. Perez
A psychological thriller about a single mother fighting for custody of her child, “this film reminds us not to belittle women, especially mothers, as they continue to find ways to solve different problems in all the ways that can also come from the society we live in,” director Roman S. Perez wrote in his notes.
• Kargo by TM Malones
The film is about a woman who seeks revenge on the man who killed her family.
“Born from a short film concept confronting a past traumatic experience, Kargo became a feature film about life and redemption. This film is the story of one of countless fellow Filipinos that I would love to tell,” director TM Malones wrote in his Filmmaker Notes.
• Took of by Milo Alto Paz and Cynthia Cruz-Paz
A film about finding purpose in their twilight years, it follows a retired government worker whose new hobby leads her to despair and financial trouble.
“We usually value youth and do whatever we want while we’re young,” said co-director Milo Alto Paz in English and Filipino.
• The baseball player by Carlo Obispo
The film is about a Moro child soldier who aspires to be a baseball player.
“As in any war, lives are lost, families are broken, hope is lost; and dreams, especially those of children, if they were even lucky enough to have any, are shattered,” director Carlo Obispo writes in his notes.
Meanwhile, the 12 main shorts in the competition are:
Ampangabagat nin Talakba ha Likol (It’s raining frogs outside) by Maria Estela Paiso is about a girl who resists the attempts of her childhood home to destroy her with her own personal story.
black rainbow by Zig Dulay (Luzon) follows an Aeta boy who pursues his dream of going to school to learn how to read the legal documents handed over to their community and understand why they are being forced to abandon their ancestral lands.
city of flowers by Xeph Suarez talks about a couple’s attempt to survive the devastating performance of their flower farm and raise money for the birth of their first child
Dikit by Gabriela Serrano follows a young woman with a monstrous secret who desperately longs for another body. The arrival of a new couple next door gives him a chance.
Distance by Dexter Paul de Jesus is about a mother and her son who haven’t seen each other for seven years. The reunion forces the couple to tackle their estranged relationship.
Duwa-Duwa by Nena Jana Achacoso tells the story of a girl on the run who comes home to steal her mother’s precious cock, only to find it’s not worth as much as she thought.
Kwits de Raz de la Torre follows a man struggling to cope in the time of COVID-19 and fights to get his Ayuda (government assistance).
Mata Kang Busay (Vision of the falls) by Nińo B. Maldecir and Cypher John T. Gayorgor tells the story of a father who makes a wish on a waterfall to meet the demands of life.
Mga Handum nga Nasulat in Baras (The dreams that are written in the sand) by Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay and Richard Jeroui Salvadico follows three boys who become their parents’ teachers following the announcement of a new education system where parents must pass an exam to determine if they are fit to teach their children.
See you soon, George! by Mark Moneda follows a group of hospital workers commemorating the life of a deceased colleague through a virtual memorial service.
If Oddie by Maria Kydylee Torato tells the story of a delivery man who struggles to find his untraceable customer while racing against the clock to also pay for his mother’s medical needs.
Back and forth to happiness by Claudia Fernando is an experimental film shot with Google Earth. Amid the pandemic, friends Ara and Hiro visit Google Earth and travel virtually to places like Quezon, Banaue and Disneyland. Then, their conversation and virtual tour are interrupted by a power outage.
The festival will open on August 5 with the screening of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival Jury Prize winner Leonor will never die, written and directed by Martika Ramirez Escobar. Starring Sheila P. Francisco, the film follows a retired screenwriter who falls into a coma and finds herself the protagonist of her unfinished screenplay. The festival will close with two documentaries: Karl Malakunas’ Delikado, on illegal logging in Palawan, and Stafanos Tai We don’t dance for nothing, on the lives of overseas Filipino workers during the protests in Hong Kong.
The films in competition will be screened in partner cinemas across the country from August 10 to 17. Regional screenings will follow in select cities from August 22-29. Online screenings of the film festival will take place from October 17 to 31 via the CCP Vimeo account.
For more details, visit CCP and Cinemalaya’s websites and social media pages. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman