Welcome to the 3rd Issue of #MakeEverydayAwesome Newsletter by Our Awesome Planet!
Cinemalaya Fever in Manila coincidentally starts on the first day of the Manila Lockdown this Friday, August 6. If this is your first time watching Cinemalaya, listen to Chris Millado, Cinemalaya 2021 Festival Director on what to expect in this year’s festival. I’ve talked to all the filmmakers and you can watch the backstory of each short film here.
Make sure to watch all the short films and they are grouped into 2 categories and budget ₱300 for pay per view to watch them in KTX.PH.
I’m most excited to watch the following short films (with link to KTX)
I’m equally excited about watching the Filipino films premiering at Cinemalaya 2021:
• HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN by JASON PAUL LAXAMANA (₱250) – August 15-16
• LOVE AND PAIN IN BETWEEN REFRAINS by JOSELITO ALTAREJOS (₱250) – August 22-23
• TAO PO by MAE PANER – September 3 in Cinema Under the Stars, hybrid drive-in cinema
I’m so excited and don’t miss watching Cinemalaya during the ECQ — Congrats!
Cinemalaya 2021 Finalists (Official Guide)
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:
Read more: Cinemalaya 2021 Finalists (Official Guide)
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.
HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN by JASON PAUL LAXAMANA
SYNOPSIS: One evening, Martin, a broadcasting student, is invited for coffee by Lawrence, the TV reporter he idolizes. During the days that follow, Martin shares with his friends separately three versions of what transpired during his meeting with Lawrence: what happened, what really happened, and what might have actually happened. Through conversations with friends, Martin comes to terms with the idea that his idol – a dignified newsman who is supposed to be a paragon of virtue – is not who he appears to be on television. This marks the Sinag Maynila debut of renowned director Jason Paul Laxamana.
FILMMAKER PROFILE: JASON PAUL LAXAMANA started his winning streak in 2010 when he received the Audience Choice Award for Astro Mayabang at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival. A graduate of Broadcast Communication from the University of the Philippines – Diliman campus, Laxamana’s films have since been screened locally and internationally, receiving numerous honors. His film Magkakabaung won the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film at the 3rd Hanoi International Film Festival in Vietnam in 2014, among other accolades. At the 2016 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, his film Mercury is Mine won the Special Jury Prize and Best Screenplay. Knowing the pulse of his young audiences, his succeeding films 100 Tula Para Kay Stella (2017), Bakwit Boys (2018), The Day After Valentine’s (2018) had all received the same recognition – the Audience Choice Award in the Main Feature Films category of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP).
MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Elijah Canlas, Enzo Pineda, Pearl Lagman, Migs Campanilla, Lara Fortuna, Gio Gahol, Marnie Lapus and Iman Ampatuan PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/ WRITER/ PRODUCER – Jason Paul Laxamana; EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS – Brillante Mendoza, Wilson Tieng; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Emmanuel Rei I. Liwanag; EDITOR – Mai Calapardo; PRODUCTION DESIGNER – Lars Magbanua; MUSIC – Paolo Protacio; LINE PRODUCER – Dolly Dulu
HIGHEST PEAK by ARBI BARBARONA
SYNOPSIS: In an effort to cope with the loss of his wife and son, a man decides to follow through with his family’s plan to climb the highest mountain peak in the Philippines. Soon, he finds himself in a journey of redemption, closure, and healing. It’s the first ever full-length film shot predominantly in Mt. Apo. The Highest Peak marks Arbi Barbarona’s return to Sinag Maynila, who won multiple awards for his 2017 entry Tu Pug Imatuy.
FILMMAKER PROFILE: ARNEL “ARBI” BARBARONA is a Davao-born cinematographer and director who hails from the indie film movement in Mindanao. He has worked on films and documentaries centering on the lives of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao such as Ang Pagpukaw sa Akong Damgo (2014), Ang mga tigmo sa akong pagpauli (2013) and Kaaway sa Sulod (2019). He jumped to renown with his debut feature film Tu pug imatuy (2017), which swept awards across film festivals and landed him the FAMAS Award for Best Director. In 2020, Barbarona released Highest Peak, a film shot entirely in the misty slopes of Mount Apo. The film made it to the 10 Premium Selection list of the 4th Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. Among a lineup of distinguished never-before-seen films or titles that had limited release, Highest Peak won the awards for Best Sound Design and Best Supporting Actor.
MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Dax Alejandro, Mara Lopez, Henyo Ehem, Roweno Caballes, Jea Lyka Cinco, Johnny Hager, Buggy Amplayo, Jun Alcover, Bong Artil and Ferdinand Mesias PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/ EDITOR/SOUND DESIGN/MUSIC – Arbi Barbarona; SCREENWRITER – Arnel Mardoquio; LINE PRODUCER – Ethel Mendez; DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Arbi Barbarona, Bryan Jimenez; PRODUCTION DESIGNER – Buggy Amplayo; PRODUCTION MANAGER – Laiza Mangaron; ASSISTANT DIRECTORS – Bong Artil, Ethel Mendez; LIGHT DESIGNER – Bordie Carillo; PRODUCTION CREW – Jenevy Macapobre, Jun Alcover, Rogien VIllamor; PRODUCER – Arnel Barbarona; CO-PRODUCERS – Dax Alejandro, Ethel Mendez; EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS – Wilson Tieng, Brillante Mendoza; DISTRIBUTOR – Red Motion Media
LOVE AND PAIN IN BETWEEN REFRAINS by JOSELITO ALTAREJOS
SYNOPSIS: Noel and Adelle were high school sweethearts who lost touch with each other after high school graduation. Ten years later, they meet again and feelings are rekindled. Noel is now a musician while Adelle is an art teacher. They start living together with Noel’s pet cat, Miming. Noel shows signs of immaturity and emotional instability, betraying his abusive family background. One night, Adelle brings home her co-teachers for dinner. After an enjoyable evening, Noel erupts into a jealousy fit and hits Adelle for the first time. Adelle fights back. But the two reconcile with Noel promising never to hurt her again. The violence has just started. After getting hurt again, Adelle left but Noel has persuaded her to go back to their house. Noel subtly threatens Adelle never to leave him again for he will just find her. Adelle apparently has returned because she is pregnant. Upon knowing of Adelle’s condition, Noel proposes marriage. But the beautiful night turns traumatic when Noel forces himself on Adelle. A few months later during Adelle’s pregnancy, a series of events triggered Noel to spiral into more violence.
Love and Pain In Between Refrains is a neo-noir film dealing with the tragedy that feeds on love and codependency, and the cycle of abuse and violence.
FILMMAKER PROFILE: From pioneering the digital age of New Queer Cinema in the Philippines with his internationally awarded films such as Tale of the Lost Boys (2017), Unfriend (2014), Ang Laro sa Buhay ni Juan (2009), Ang Lihim ni Antonio (2010), JOSELITO ALTAREJOS very recently turned his advocacies and creative pursuits to highlighting the national democratic ideals and struggles of the Filipino masses by infusing them in his upcoming films. Currently in production, The Revolution Knows No Gender will be Altarejos’ contribution to the continuing saga of our countrymen against tyranny and socio-political oppressions. With his newly formed production, 2076 Kolektib, his ultimate goal is to create and produce multimedia contents that will arouse, educate, and inspire his audiences to become more vigilant and conscious of the social issues and challenges they face in the age of yet another strongman rule.
Altarejos, a native of Masbate, had his formative years in theater and television. His auteurist signature has always been hinged on embracing his celebrated personality as a social provocateur, and his brand of directing leans more toward ultra-realism rather than impressionism. Among his recent films are Cinemalaya’s Best Film Kasal (2014), Temporary Protection Order (2016), and the Urian-nominated Jino to Marī (2019). A reinvigorated student of film, Altarejos carefully utilizes all his learning tools and secures them in creating what he advocates as the Cinema of the Social Consciousness.
MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Oliver Aquino, Elora Españo, Richard Quan, Anelle Durano, Suzette Doctolero, Natileigh Sitoy, Anjo Resureccion and Jill Urdaneta PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/WRITER – Joselito Altarejos; EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS – Melissa Geling, Jay Altarejos; PRODUCER – Ferdinand Lapuz; SUPERVISING PRODUCER – Antonio de Guzman, Jr.; DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Joseph delos Reyes; EDITOR – Diego Marx Dobles; SOUND DESIGNER– Andrew Milallos; MUSICAL SCORER – Angeline de Leon; PRODUCTION DESIGNERS – Anelle Durano, Jay Altarejos
TAO PO by MAE PANER
SYNOPSIS: From several immersion trips and in-depth interviews conducted by performance artist-activist Mae Paner and playwright Maynard Manansala emerge four characters, four monologues that each give a human face to the issue of extrajudicial killings (EJK).
A photojournalist transformed by the brutality he witnesses while covering the tokhang beat; a Zumba instructor haunted by her husband and son, both victims of summary killings; a cop who lives the double life of law enforcer and lawless hitman; and a young girl lighting candles in the “Tokhang Wall” of a Manila cemetery as she reminisces about acquaintances and loved ones, EJK victims all.
FILMMAKER PROFILE: MAE PANER, also known as Juana Change, is a political activist, producer, author and an award-winning actress. She is more popularly known as Juana Change. She appeared in several TV teleseryes and movies including Juana C. The Movie, Lav Diaz’s Norte, Ang Babaeng Humayo, among many others. Her hilarious and convincing portrayal as a lesbian-playing “lover” in the charming comedy Si Chedeng at si Apple earned her the Best Supporting Actress plum in the 2017 Cinema One Originals Film Festival.
Paner as Juana Change represents different characters based on the current political climate in the Philippines. The Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) during its 50th anniversary in 2017 awarded her a citation for continuing its vision towards social justice for all and genuine change.
MAJOR CREDITS: CAST: Mae Paner PRODUCTION STAFF: DIRECTOR/PRODUCER – Mae Paner; PLAYWRIGHT – Maynard Manansala; CREATIVE CONSULTANT –Rody Vera; CREATIVE CONSULTANT – Moira Lang; ASSISTANT DIRECTOR – Baby Ruth Villarama; EDITOR – Carlo Joel Guiterrez; LIGHTS DESIGNER FOR STAGE – Katsch Katoy; LIGHTS DESIGNER FOR FILM – Boy Yñiguez; PHOTOGRAPHER – Raffy Lerma; PROJECT MANAGER/STAGE MANAGER – Pat Gascon; ASSISTANT PROJECT MANAGER/ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER – Patchot Festejo; ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER – Kyle Confessor; ASSISTANT LIGHTS DESIGNER FOR STAGE AND FILM – Charlotte Job Despuez; CAMERA OPERATORS – Aki Pantaleon, Jibon Larin, Gabriel David, Joshua Salvosa; SOUND – WildSound Studios Inc.; SOUND ENGINEERS – Andrea Teresa Idioma, Albert Michael Idioma; SOUND RECORDIST – Gerald Guardiano; COLORISTS – Jonathan Gervacio, Gen Sarabia; FOOD SUPPLIER – Kawa Kitchen
Taruc’s Tuna Tartare
Have you tried Taruc’s Tuna Tartare to spice up your appetizers at home? @tarucs_tunatartare
You can taste the freshness of the gensan tuna with a salty hint balanced with lime and wasabi spicy kick. Goes well with the fried wonton chips that you can further air fry for an extra crunch but we just ate it as is. #gonein60seconds
The packaging is awesome with a transparent cover box and shipped with another sturdy box so it was kind of box in a box. It is great as a food gift to perk up your friends or family during this time of pandemic.
Taruc’s Tuna Tartare ₱950
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Disclosure: Thanks to Nikkei Team for the experience. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.