Cinemalaya 2021 Finalists (Official Guide)

(Official Press Release of Cinemalaya 2021)

WITH the ebb and flow of the global health crisis gripping the country, the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival navigates the social currents and plugs in the life support for the Philippine cinema industry as it journeys anew to the digital platform this coming August 6 to September 5, 2021, streaming on KTX.ph

Banking on the know-how built-up from last year’s edition, the country’s biggest independent film festival presents its second online edition this year with thirteen (13) short films competing for the prestigious Balanghai trophies

Here are the synopsis, director’s notes and profile of the finalists for Cinemalaya 2021:


CINEMALAYA NAVIGATES THE CURRENTS ON ITS 17TH YEAR 

On its 17th year, the film festival re-thinks its direction and strategy to remain significant in the contemporary time, while continuing to fulfill its mission of discovering, encouraging, supporting, training and recognizing gifted Filipino independent filmmakers. 

While Cinemalaya has remained the vanguard of the Philippine independent filmmaking since its inception in 2005, the Selection Committee has observed that submissions for the Main Competition have become predictable and followed recurrent themes such as gender, poverty, and social inequalities. 

To unearth new cinematic voices and develop a growing audience for independent cinema for its 2023 edition, the Cinemalaya introduces new direction and further expands its cinematic boundaries through the Cinemalaya Film Lab, a three-month-long film-laboratory mentorship program happening on September to November 2021. 

The CCP will open its ground with a hybrid drive-in cinema, dubbed Cinema Under the Stars, where film habitués can watch a film in the hybrid drive-in cinema at Liwasang Ullalim. The first audience-centered on-site event since the lockdown, the hybrid outdoor cinema welcomes everyone, whether they are riding their cars or bikes, or even just walking and jogging. 

Meanwhile, the Cinemalaya mainstays remain. Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, the longest-running independent film and video competition in Asia, will also continue its run this year. 

Visions of Asia, one of the major components of the film festival, will screen award-winning indie films from Asia; while IndieNation showcases notable and critically acclaimed feature length and short films produced in the past year that will have a continued run at Cinemalaya. 

Don’t miss out on other components such as the Cinemalaya Retrospectives, featuring past Cinemalaya films, and Cinemalaya Campus, among others. The film festival will also pay tribute to individuals who have made great contributions to the Philippine film industry, including director Mel Chionglo, former head of the Cinemalaya Competition and Monitoring Committee with the screenings of three of his best films.  

Catch the Premieres, featuring full-length and short films which have been produced in the past year and will be screened for the first time in the Philippines, as well as the book launching of the “Riding the Waves: 15 Years of Cinemalaya,” a complete guide to the colorful history of the country’s biggest independent film festival. 

For more updates, please visit the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Cinemalaya websites. Follow the official @culturalcenterph and @Cinemalaya social media accounts.


AN SADIT NA PLANETA
(THE LITTLE PLANET)

BY ARJANMAR H. REBETA

AN SADIT NA PLANETA (THE LITTLE PLANET) BY ARJANMAR H. REBETA
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (12:00 MINUTES) Experimental Narrative, Bicolano language
A young man explores a little planet.

SYNOPSIS: Awakened by a mysterious voice, Arjan finds himself alone on a small planet, called Planet I. Soon, he finds himself exploring the little planet for 40 days.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:

Nakatira tayo sa malawak na mundo subalit ngayong panahon, naranasan natin ang biglaang pagliit nito. Samu’t saring quarantines at lockdowns ang ating ginawa. Hindi rin tayo makabyahe saan mang panig ng mundo dahil sa mga restriksyon at limitasyon. 

Nagising na lang tayo bigla sa isang maliit na mundo. Nakulong hindi lamang ang ating katawan kundi pati ang mga emosyon at isipan. Nagsimula tayong makaramdam ng pagdududa maging sa katuturan ng sarili. Natagpuan ang sariling mag-isa sa pagkahulog sa “maliit na mundo” ng pagkalito at pagkawala kung saan nakulong ang sarili. Subalit sinubukan muling hanapin, kausapin at hilahin ng “Sarili” ang sarili. 

Sa munting pelikulang “An Sadit na Planeta,” maglalakbay tayo sa loob ng apatnapung araw – apatnapu na nagsisimbolo ng panahon ng pagsubok at pagsusuri sa sarili. Pagkatapos nito, lalabas tayo muli sa mas malawak na mundo bilang buo, bago at malayang sarili.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

ARJANMAR H. REBETA

ARJANMAR H. REBETA, a Bikolano filmmaker from Cabusao, Camarines Sur, is an alumnus of Ricky Lee Film Scriptwriting Workshop, Film & Media for Human Rights Advocacy Workshop and the Mindanao Screen Lab. He is also known as AstroNoy, a content creator character that inspired him of the treatment of his film “The Little Planet.” His short films include: “Super-Able,” “Viral Kids,” “My Father is an Astro-Not,” “The Complicated Dance to the Wheel of Life,” “A Boxing Country,” among others. His short film “Palabas” was nominated at the 42nd Gawad Urian for the Best Short Film. His films have been selected and awarded in different local and international film festivals. He is a recipient of Ani ng Dangal by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, a film ambassador by Film Development Council of the Philippines, and a recipient of Indie Bravo Award by Philippine Daily Inquirer.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Arjanmar H. Rebeta PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/ SCREENWRITER/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPY/ MUSIC SCORER/ EDITOR/ SOUND DESIGNER – Arjanmar H. Rebeta; PRODUCER/PRODUCTION DESIGNER / PRODUCTION MANAGER – Khaye Medina-Rebeta; EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS – Arjanmar H. Rebeta and Khaye Medina- Rebeta


ANG MGA NAWALANG PAG-ASA AT PANLASA
(THE LOST HOPES AND FLAVORS)

BY KEVIN JAY AYSON

ANG MGA NAWALANG PAG-ASA AT PANLASA (THE LOST HOPES AND FLAVORS) BY KEVIN JAY AYSON
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (19:57 MINUTES) Documentary
A documentary on the quest of finding “pagkaing Iloco” in the midst of a pandemic.

SYNOPSIS: Micro food establishments have been gravely affected by the pandemic. The film features the struggles faced by Ilocano food entrepreneurs and how they slowly rise amidst the challenges of this health crisis.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:

To say that we went through a great deal of difficulty making this documentary would be an understatement. By extensively expanding our vision and thoroughly learning the lives of the people involved, this project has come to life.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

KEVIN JAY AYSON

Currently based in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, KEVIN JAY AYSON finished his degree on computer engineering at Mariano Marcos State University, Batac City. The 29 year-old filmmaker pursued his passion for filmmaking through his own wedding video company Hearts in Motion. Aside from creating wedding videos, he directed short films that won awards in the different local film festivals in Ilocos Norte. His socio-political horror short film “Brad” won the grand prize and other major awards at the 2020 Lilia Cuntapay Short Horror Film Contest held during the Ilocos Norte Semana ti Ar-aria Festival. “Ang Mga Nawalang Pag-asa at Panlasa” won first runner-up at the 2021 Tan-ok ni Ilocano Film Festival.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Real-life Ilocano food entrepreneurs PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/ EDITOR/ SOUND DESIGNER – Kevin Jay Ayson; SCREENWRITER – Mark Moneda; PRODUCER – Marionne Moneda; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Darwin Macugay, Juan Carlo Uy; MUSIC SCORER – Romnick Arcartado; PRODUCTION DESIGNER – Marc Ryan Alejo; EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Marionne Moneda


ANG PAGDADALAGA NI LOLA MAYUMI

BY SHIRI DE LEON

ANG PAGDADALAGA NI LOLA MAYUMI BY SHIRI DE LEON
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (20:00 MINUTES) Drama
A virginal old woman hires a callboy to change her perspective about men.

SYNOPSIS: After years of being teased as the town’s old virgin, Lola Mayumi decides to hire a young callboy who never expected to have an elderly client. When the two meet, an unlikely connection forms between them. After a night of intimacy and vulnerability, Lola Mayumi and the callboy start to question their beliefs. Her belief on how she sees men is be tested, are they really all bad? Or are there actually good men out there?

DIRECTOR’S NOTES:

This film is the lovechild of my past experiences and beliefs as a young woman for the longest time. I was heavily exposed to the Filipino culture of how they treat sex as a “taboo” topic because of the influence of religion. I also have witnessed and know firsthand the effect of it being a taboo topic, it limits the lack of sex education to people and a lot of people fall into its abuse, not knowing if it’s normal or not. I was inspired to write this film as therapy, if you call it, a weight off my chest as I wanted to simply tell a story about what it really means to be a “true woman.” Hence the title, Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi.

As a college student currently pursuing my degree in film, I already have my friends who are exceptionally skilled in what they do and production was easy with them. They felt my intention to the film and they added more flair to it. I have had the idea of doing it as a stylistic way to give homage to the Golden Age of Cinema films. I also wanted the overall colors to be quite unexpected with this theme, such as the color green and yellow which are undertone colors of sexual energy and passion besides red. 

I already wrote this character with Ruby Ruiz in my mind, fortunately she loved the script and gave so much life to Mayumi that I’d ever dreamed of. Casting Julian Roxas was a big risk for me because he didn’t really look like the character that I envisioned but he was the perfect complement to Ruby and their chemistry was breathtaking to watch.

Mayumi believes that “all men are terrible” and the callboy believes that “I need to prioritize money above everything.” These are the two beliefs that I have always wanted to clash and see if their beliefs will be tested or not. This film is really a part of my heart and experiences and this film can hopefully start conversations about this topic.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

SHIRI DE LEON

Currently pursuing her film degree at Meridian International College in Pasig City, “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi” is SHIRI DE LEON’s first short film. She learned filmmaking from her family members who are all media practitioners. She fell in love with the art of storytelling and aspires to be a messenger of stories who pushes the beliefs of humanity and tackles topics and issues that are important and can be translated universally. She aspires to break the stereotypes on female filmmakers, and hopes to work and collaborate with different people, adding a piece of them and her heart in her work. 

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Ruby Ruiz, Julian Roxas, Xenia Callista, Darlene Ballano, Michelle Gallero PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/EDITOR – Shiri De Leon; SCREENWRITER – Shiri De Leon, Darlene Ballano, Bryant Gali; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Roy Ocampo; MUSIC SCORER – Denise Ballano; SOUND DESIGNER –Jeremiah Villardo; PRODUCTION DESIGNER – Bryant Gali; EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Darlene Ballano


ATE O.G. 

BY KEVIN MAYUGA

ATE O.G. BY KEVIN MAYUGA
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (16:57 MINUTES) Drama
A struggling aging house helper finds herself going through an unexpected and uplifting experience.

SYNOPSIS: ATE, an aging household helper, struggles with the slow, dull, day-to-day depression of home quarantine in the midst of a nationwide lockdown. Her two teenage employers also struggle and cope in their own way, but seem to take out their negative feelings on her. After running a series of stressful chores for them, Ate finds a familiar medicine that gives her an unexpected form of relief and a newfound connection with the teenagers in her care.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

KEVIN MAYUGA

KEVIN MAYUGA was born in the cinema when he started kicking in his mother’s womb while she was watching Goodfellas in a movie theatre, thankfully there was a nearby hospital. Since then, he’s been obsessed with the audio visual arts, with a little bit of disco. His career roots are in advertising as a creative writer where he eventually got jaded and slowly started shifting into filmmaking. He has directed and produced multiple digital content, commercials, music videos and short films with various production outfits. Kevin is now shifting his sights and finding his voice in narrative filmmaking – focusing on his first feature film, web series, short films and finally watching Goodfellas again.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Merle Cahilig, Kara Mayuga, Keenan Mayuga  PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/ SCREENWRITER/ EDITOR/ PRODUCTION DESIGNER/ DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY/ EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Kevin Mayuga; MUSIC SCORER – Roger Wang, Mia Palacios; SOUND DESIGNER – John Michael Perez


BEAUTY QUEEN

BY MYRA AQUINO

BEAUTY QUEEN BY MYRA AQUINO
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (17:59 MINUTES) Drama, Historical Kapampangan language
A young woman struggles to find herself after losing her father during World War II.

SYNOPSIS: Set in Pampanga in 1940, Remedios Gomez is a classic woman through and through, and she has the town’s beauty pageant crown to prove it. But when the Empire of Japan invades the Philippines, plunging the country into unmitigated chaos and violence, her quiet provincial life is completely overturned. After her father is tortured and killed by the Japanese for his refusal to obey them, Remedios runs to the mountains with her brother Oscar to join the Hukbalahap resistance and find renewed purpose in the war. Once she arrives in the thick jungle encampment, however, she discovers that not only does being a woman limit her options in the resistance, but her suppressed grief over her father’s death continues to persist. She must grapple with both obstacles as she tries to find the strength to be who she needs to be for her country, while still unapologetically being herself.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:

Growing up, I had limited exposure to inspiring women who looked like me in the films I watched, and that void bore a burning desire to bring stories about Filipino women to life. And I couldn’t imagine a better story than that of Remedios Gomez: a beauty queen who transformed into a fearless resistance leader. Making this film was important to me because it is a reminder that we all have grace and courage within ourselves that we can express without ever giving up who we are.

Telling this story, however, required much more than myself. Capturing a 1940s authenticity — in the same jungle of Mt. Arayat that Remedios had marched through — required research, interviews with her descendants, and perhaps most importantly, the tireless passion and hard work of the communities of Pampanga. 

Those communities brought in a talented, hard-working crew, and people with limited acting backgrounds who diligently honed their craft through workshops and rehearsals. Together, we braved mosquitoes, a treacherous monsoon season, and a tight production schedule to deliver the beauty you see on screen. 

I am eternally grateful for this experience and privilege to share a small part of Remedios’ tremendous story to the world.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

MYRA AQUINO

MYRA AQUINO is a writer-director who grew up in Guam and the Philippines. She graduated in 2020 with an MFA in Directing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. She is passionate about telling stories that explore the impacts of multiculturalism and globalization on Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander, and other underrepresented communities.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Febie Agustin, Lau Apostol, Norman King, Bajun Lacap PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/ EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Myra Aquino; SCREENWRITERS – Myra Aquino, Eric Hwang; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Tey Clamor; MUSIC SCORER –Nathan Matthew David; EDITORS – Lawrence Fajardo, Myra Aquino; SOUND DESIGNER – Matt Yocum; PRODUCTION DESIGNER – Juan Pablo Pineda III; PRODUCERS – Tita Pambid, Reuben Domingo


CROSSING

BY MARC MISA

CROSSING BY MARC MISA
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (07:45 MINUTES) Suspense, Drama
A desperate robber is forced to choose whether he should become a hero to his victims or fall victim to a robbery himself.

SYNOPSIS: driven by desperation, security guard Gabriel Arkanghell resorts to robbing a bus. Just before he could commit the crime, two seasoned robbers beat him to the punch. As one of then approaches his seat, Gabriel tightens his grip on his concealed firearm and struggles to make the decision whether to become a hero and take the robbers down or fall victim to the robbery himself.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:

The ambiguous character of Gabriel jumps from one role to the other, forcing audiences to repeatedly change their judgment as to whether he is a hero or a villain. 

In the end, the film reveals our own narrow-mindedness as we oversimplify our definition of morality into those two basic categories: hero and villain, or good and evil. 

Instead, we should look upon the actions and motivations of people and see if those are right or wrong. The result of failing to recognize the complexities of human beings is often stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice.  

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

MARC MISA

MARC MISA is a writer and filmmaker based in Antipolo, Rizal. He produced and directed his first feature film “Askal” in 2010 through a grant from the National Commission for Culture and Arts. He then went on to direct commercial advertisements and online content with PaperbugTV. He has also worked on various projects as a screenwriter for Star Cinema. He is currently a graphic designer for a gaming company and working on literary fiction. Whether writing stories or directing films, all his endeavors are geared toward his love for storytelling.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Niño Mendoza, Arrian Labios, Oscar Ante PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/PRODUCTION DESIGNER/ EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Marc Misa; SCREENWRITER – LC De Leon; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY –Edsel Abesames; MUSIC SCORER – LC De Leon; EDITOR – Edsel Abesames; SOUND DESIGNER – LC De Leon, Joel Mondoneo


KAWATAN SA SALOG
(A TOY IN THE RIVER)

BY ALPHIE VELASCO

KAWATAN SA SALOG (A TOY IN THE RIVER) BY ALPHIE VELASCO
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (18:36 MINUTES) Mystery, Drama Bicolano language
A mischievous child learns the value of time and life as he finds his way back home to his father.

SYNOPSIS: Santi, an ill-behaved child, steals a dinosaur toy which makes his father mad. After he runs away from home, Santi accidentally drowns in the river but wakes up on a mysterious island where odd traditions are meant to be followed. He is then sentenced to clean the shore full of trash as punishment for stealing the revenant’s sacred boat. Luckily, an old woman helps him and they form a strong bond. But after helping the old woman achieve her peace, the revenant finally allows him to leave their sanctuary. He returns home but his father is nowhere to be found. Instead, he finds the dinosaur toy floating on the river.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:

When watching movies, I always think about how fun is it to live in a fictional world different from reality. 

Back when I was still an innocent child, I reluctantly visited my mother’s hometown, Caramoan. But once I’d arrived, I was captivated of how simple and beautiful that place is. 

So I made a story based on my experience, yearning the days I’m blissfully living with my late grandmother. I also mixed in some personal thoughts on how I view the cycle of life and religion. I primarily dedicate this film for my parents.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

Alphie Velasco

Currently residing in Imus, Cavite, Alphie Velasco is a  film student from Asia Pacific Film Institute. His fascination with films began when he was working as an auditor in a BPO company. He enjoys mystery and cult stories, especially character-driven films, such as Nymphomaniac, Mulholland Drive, 8 1/2, Watchmen, Grindhouse, etc. His favorite film directors are Lars Von Trier, Gaspar Noe , Quentin Tarantino, Darren Aronofsky and Roman Polanski. He loves reading manga and watching Japanese animations, especially the works of Satoshi Kon and Junji Ito. His music taste varies from psychedelic to progressive metal.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Kyle Kaizer Almenanza, Marc Felix, Lui Manansala  PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/ SCREENWRITER – Alphie Velasco; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Dayne Garcia; MUSIC SCORER – Ivan Cortez; EDITOR – Juan Bonifacio Corpuz; SOUND DESIGNER – Kat Salinas; PRODUCTION DESIGNERS – Vanerie Lumaque, Cathrene Anne Joseph; PRODUCER – Nestor Velasco; EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Flor Velasco


KIDS ON FIRE

BY KYLE NIEVA

KIDS ON FIRE BY KYLE NIEVA
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (19:00 MINUTES) Dark Comedy
A prepubescent boy discovers the power of his sexuality during a religious camp.

SYNOPSIS: J.C., a prepubescent boy, slowly learns of his special role in the impending apocalypse during a religious camp. As he participates in the camp activities, he gets confused between constantly emerging sexual fantasies and his divine calling.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:

“Kids On Fire” is a a satirical portrait of bewildered prepubescent children passing through the threshold of sexual awakening while being subject to religious indoctrination. 

Inspired by Christian doctrines and eschatological concepts that horrify and confuse children at times, the film explores how faith can be driven by fear and how we use our religious beliefs–or a lack thereof–to make sense of life’s greatest mysteries.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

KYLE NIEVA

A Filipino producer and director, KYLE NIEVA co-founded the Manila-based creative agency and production company Screen Asia. At 18, he began exhibiting his directorial work in various institutions including the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. The films he directed and produced have since been selected for various international film festivals such as Berlinale, San Sebastian, Busan, and Vancouver. His recent work as producer, “Filipiñana,” won the Silver Bear at the 70th Berlinale and was nominated for Best British Short at the British Independent Film Awards and at the London Critics Film Awards. His latest film as director, “Kids On Fire,” premiered at the 25th Busan International Film Festival and at the 47th Film Fest Gent. He is an alumnus of Tribeca Film Institute’s Talent Lab and the 73rd Festival del Film Locarno’s Open Doors Lab. Aside from directing and producing, he has been involved in marketing, distribution, and festival programming of shorts and features in the Philippines.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Mystica, Alexis Negrite, Ces Aldaba  PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER – Kyle Nieva; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Tey Clamor; MUSIC SCORER – Len Calvo; EDITOR – Carlo Francisco Manatad, Kyle Nieva; SOUND DESIGNER – Kat Salinas; PRODUCTION DESIGNER – Alvin Francisco; PRODUCERS – Carlo Francisco Manatad, Kyle Nieva, Gian Carlo Librojo, Krizzia Nieva; EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS – Anna Weeks, Maan Villareal


LOOKING FOR RAFFLESIAS AND OTHER FLEETING THINGS

BY JAMES FAJARDO

LOOKING FOR RAFFLESIAS AND OTHER FLEETING THINGS BY JAMES FAJARDO
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (20:00 MINUTES) Coming-of-age, Drama
A tikbalang transforms into a teenage boy to disprove the rumor that horse demons are killing civilians in the mountain.

SYNOPSIS: A community fears the tikbalang (horse demon) which is mistakenly blamed for various killings in the forest. Gubat, a tikbalang, transforms into a teenage boy and searches for the truth. In the mountain, he meets Darren, an American botanist who is looking for rafflesias. His interactions with the American unravel his inner desires that he has never faced before. This pushes him to reveal his identity and puts his life at risk.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:

“Looking For Rafflesias and Other Fleeting Things” attempts to deconstruct the representation of tikbalang as dangerous creatures in films, literature and other forms. 

In this way, the filmmaker sought to fulfill its objectives such as, first, to illustrate the weaponization of folklore beliefs in order to serve the interest of the state and the ruling class; and, second, to introduce the process of queering mythological creatures that challenges its previous heterosexist influences. 

For the filmmaker, mythological creatures such as tikbalang should be loved, if not, befriended.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

JAMES ALLEN FAJARDO

JAMES ALLEN FAJARDO graduated magna cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a degree in film in 2020. He has taken courses on Gender and Media Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands for his exchange program in 2019. His previous works include: “A Letter to the Person I Have Met on Tinder” and “The Boy Who Bleeds in the Middle of the Sea,” which were awarded and selected in different international and local film festivals. He won the Gold Prize at the Viddsee Juree Awards Philippines 2020. He is currently working as a freelance multimedia artist for different international brands while pursuing his passion in filmmaking.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Reynald Raissel Santos, Kevin Andrews, Ash Nicanor  PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/SCREEWRITER/ EDITOR – James Fajardo; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Rocky Morilla; MUSIC SCORER – Janell Pangilinan; SOUND DESIGNER – Janell Pangilinan; PRODUCTION DESIGNER – Angel Tomas; PRODUCER – Christine Daisy Dela Paz; EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS – Arsenio “Nick” J. Lizaso, Al Ryan S. Alejandre and Marichu G. Tellano


MASKI PAPANO (I MASK GO ON)

BY CHE TAGYAMON AND GLENN BARIT

MASKI PAPANO (I MASK GO ON) BY CHE TAGYAMON AND GLENN BARIT
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (05:00 MINUTES) Comedy
A disposed facemask turns into a humanoid and starts an adventure looking for its previous owner.

SYNOPSIS: After getting disposed of, a facemask starts to turn into a humanoid figure. It searches for its previous owner, but finds him already with a new and better face mask. It gets heartbroken then wanders around different places in Manila, and eventually finds another similar looking facemask figure.

DIRECTORS’ NOTE:

Covid brought about lots of things – from revealing government incompetence to contain the virus, to isolation and massive unemployment (which we’ve experienced firsthand as filmmakers.) 

We wanted to highlight this feeling of being disposable as workers and at the same time showing our need to find a community while still being playful and comedic.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

CHE TAGYAMON

CHE TAGYAMON is a director, editor, and animator from Manila, Philippines. She is an alumna of the Berlinale Talents 2019, SGIFF Southeast Asian Film Lab 2018, Busan Film Commission’s FLY Film Lab 2019, Docs by The Sea 2020 and ASEAN ROK’s FLY where she was given the Best Fellow Award 2017.In 2019, she was among the grantees of the first edition of Southeast Asian Short Film Grant by the Singapore International Film Festival. Her previous works often address the subjects of diaspora, class, and memory in relation to women’s psyche.

GLENN BARIT

GLENN BARIT is a Filipino director, sound designer and musical scorer. He uses elements of play in his works to ease the burden of filmmaking as well as to bring into light different societal issues. His short film “Aliens Ata” won the NETPAC Jury Prize in Cinemalaya 2017. It has also been part of Kaohsiung Film Festival 2017 and SeaShorts 2019 among others. His short, “Nangungupahan” also premiered in Cinemalaya 2018. “Cleaners,” his debut feature film, premiered in the QCinema IFF 2019 where it won Best Film, Best Screenplay and Audience Choice Award in the Asian Next Wave section. It is a coming-of-age film about high school students and the pressures they are boxed in. It has since premiered in Busan IFF, Taipei Golden Horse IFF, Torino Film Festival among others.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Maski Papet PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTORS/ EDITORS/ PRODUCTION DESIGNERS – Che Tagyamon, Glenn Barit; SCREENWRITER – Che Tagyamon; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Glenn Barit; SOUND DESIGNER – John Michael Perez; PRODUCERS – Che Tagyamon, Jo Torlao; EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Havas Ortega Group


NAMNAMA EN LOLANG (GRANDMOTHER’S HOPE)

BY JONNIE LYN P. DASALLA

NAMNAMA EN LOLANG (GRANDMOTHER’S HOPE) BY JONNIE LYN P. DASALLA
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (05:00 MINUTES) Drama  Kankana-ey language
A grandmother and her baby grandson find solace ineach other and face the harsh reality of the pandemic together. 

SYNOPSIS: Entirely shot using a mobile phone, the film depicts life during the quarantine. It focuses on the story of Lolang Keyag who lives in isolation with her baby grandson Eli, as she was left to take care of him during the lockdown period. Despite the difficulties faced in this trying time, she tries her best to be hopeful for her grandson.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:

This concept was created as a form of documentation of the society’s present condition. It preserves the memory of our experiences, the pressing issues, and the hurdles we need to face during this health crisis. It also serves as a platform to give voice to our frontliners who are risking their lives to serve the people. 

Above it all, the film also brings a message of hope that despite everything that’s happening around us, we still keep the faith and continue to live for our loved ones.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

JONNIE LYN DASALLA

JONNIE LYN DASALLA is a budding filmmaker from Baguio City, Benguet. She is currently taking her master’s degree in Media Studies (Film) at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She is working full time as a digital media editor at GMA Network Inc. 

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Concepcion P. Dasalla and Jaeceelizeon Alhexys P. Dasalla  PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/ SCREENWRITER/ PRODUCER – Jonnie Lyn P. Dasalla; PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS – Jimbo P. Dasalla, Kathlyn P. Dasalla, Irish Lyn P. Dasalla; EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Concepcion P. Dasalla


OUT OF BODY

BY ENRICO PO

OUT OF BODY BY ENRICO PO
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (14:53 MINUTES) Suspense
A young model is coerced into a macabre commercial shoot.

SYNOPSIS: Elle, a young model new to the industry, arrives to the set of her first commercial job to discover that the initial idea was scrapped. A mysterious new concept has been developed, but the crew and director keep forgetting to let her know what it is. However, after an afternoon of tight costume fittings, rough prop work, and meetings with creepy producers, Elle begins to suspect something else might be afoot.

DIRECTORS’ NOTES:

Growing up,I spent a lot of time on commercial sets. Every now and then, you’d see that same face, mostly from the women, whether it be over going overtime, costume choices, weird direction, etc. 

Everytime, they’d just have to get over it and go to work. What struck me most is that no one really noticed, sometimes even the women themselves. 

Later in life when I was in school, I was working on a project that had some aesthetic elements of BDSM. A young actress came in to meet about the project, unaware of the BDSM elements of the project. 

When I showed her some reference images, her face dropped. I asked her if she was ok, and she choked out “Uhm…yeah…sure…” It was clear she had been blindsided, and after our meeting I sent a long email clearing things up. It was my fault as I had not properly briefed the producer. 

Thankfully we were able to clear things up, came to some compromises and both had a great time working on the project, which turned out well. But I will never forget how easy it was to not notice and simply let things be.

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

ENRICO PO

ENRICO PO is a young Filipino filmmaker based in Manila. A film buff since childhood, he graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts majoring in Film & TV. Since returning to the Philippines, he has worked on various documentary, narrative, and commercial projects.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Kelley Day, Nelsito Gomez, Joel Saracho, Dylan Talon, Leo Rialp, Tarek El Tayech  PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/ SCREENWRITER/ EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – Enrico Po; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Tey Clamor; MUSIC SCORER – Kristofer Crouch; EDITOR – Benjamin Tolentino; SOUND DESIGNER – Mikko Quizon; PRODUCTION DESIGNER – Katrish Aristoki; PRODUCER – Alemberg Ang


THE DUST IN YOUR PLACE

BY DAVID OLSON

THE DUST IN YOUR PLACE BY DAVID OLSON
SHORT FEATURE COMPETITION (20:00 MINUTES) Drama
Career and friendship are on the line when a comic strip artist tells her writer the truths about his relationships. 

SYNOPSIS: After witnessing an awkward fight between her writer and his girlfriend, a comic strip illustrator decides to tell him what is plaguing his relationships with other girls. The conversation explodes into a discussion on relationships, social norms, their history, and their possible future, and it becomes increasingly clearer that the trajectory of their career and friendship are on the line.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE:

As a filmmaker, I am drawn to stories that lend themselves to an exploration of social psychology. 

When I was first shown the script, I felt an instant connection to the story and the way it was told. This film was born from an idea my producers (Warren Carman and Joaquin Coromina) and I had late at night in a garage one weekend. 

The development, filming, and finishing of this film were done in five days with the best cast and crew anyone could ask for. 

Dialogue-driven films by storytellers, like Ingmar Bergman and Sydney Lumet, have influenced who I am today as a storyteller. This project is a love letter to films that excel at the art of conversation, delivering cinematic entertainment with long and rich dialogue. 

The story of Rick and Claire is one of two long-time friends who find themselves in a tense situation. Unresolved issues and unanswered questions have been brewing in their minds for years — hovering in the air like dust. 

You may go from siding with a character to hating them in a blink of an eye or the turn of a sentence. Are some friendships worth it? Or is it worth taking the risk?

FILMMAKER PROFILE:

DAVID OLSON

DAVID OLSON has been working in the industry for 10 years as a director, cinematographer, editor, and producer. He has worked on films, TV, documentaries, music videos, commercials, and video advertisements. In 2011, he edited his first short film. Since then, it has been a never-ending educational experience for him, experiencing filmmaking from many viewing angles: From cameras and concepts to keyframes, call sheets, and coffee-making.

MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Boo Gabunada, Chaye Mogg PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/SOUND DESIGNER – David Olson; SCREENWRITER – Joem Antonio; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – JC Gellidon; MUSIC SCORER – Miguel Abella; EDITORS – David Olson, Sebastian Olvidelo; PRODUCTION DESIGNER – Katrish Aristoki; PRODUCERS – Joaquin Coromina, Andrew Ramsay; EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS – Warren Carmen, Michael Stamati

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