The Cinemalaya Foundation announced the 10 finalists which will vie for the grand prize of 150,000 pesos in the 11th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival short film competition to be held from August 7 to 15 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Apasol (Chasing Sun) by Ryanne Murcia, Gatilyo ng Baril by Glenmark “Marky” Doromal and Eero Yves Francisco, Kyel by Arvin Belarmino, Lisyun Qng Geografia (Geography Lessons) by Petersen Vargas, Mater by Annemikami Pablo, Nenok by Rommel “Milo” Tolentino, Papetir by Darwin Alegre Novicio, Pusong Bato (Stone Heart) by Martika Ramirez Escobar, Sanctissima by Kenneth Lim Dagatan, and Wawa by Angelie Mae “Anj” Macalanda will compete in the lone Cinemalaya category this year.
A finalist in the Zamboanga Film Festival, 10th Mindanao Film Festival, and Singkuwento International Film Festival, Murcia’s Apasol tells the story of a gay couple who spends their final afternoon together wishing on a tree, waiting for them to disappear with the sun.
A black comedy/crime thriller, Belarmino’s Kyel is about a troubled man who finds his own cure in the vast darkness of his room. Trying to lure his lover to come back, he discovers a new form of therapy – his greatest ordeal, a terrible encounter he has to escape from.
After winning Best Thesis at the UP Film Institute, Vargas’ Lisyun Qng Geografia has been screened in different film festivals, including Cinemalaya X’s Kapampangan short film program, Salamindanaw Film Festival, 26th Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, 10th Cinema One Originals, CineKabalen Kapampangan Film Festival, Singkuwento and CineSB Indie ANI, among others. The coming of age film tells the story of a young man who, guided by a map his high school best friend made for him, retraces the memories of their friendship before he leaves their hometown for good. Vargas shared the Best Short Narrative Film award with fellow Kapampangan filmmaker Jason Paul Laxamana (U.S.F.A.) and Ruelo Lozendo (Kasaysayan ng Isang Ina) at the Gawad CCP and bagged the Singkuwento Filmfest Best Director prize.
Pablo, who took up broadcasting at the Bulacan State University, directed the short film Mater, which is about a mother and her daughter who find their escape out of the loophole that binds them together at a time when extreme devotion and unconditional love collide.
Tolentino, the winningest Cinemalaya short filmmaker, is back with his new film Nenok. He previously bagged the Balanghai trophies for the Best Short Film for Orasyon in 2006 and Andong in 2008, the Cinemalaya Special Jury Prize for Blogog in 2009 and P in 2010, the Best Screenplay for Andong in 2008, the Best Director for P in 2010 and Niño Bonito in 2011, and the Audience Award for the short film category for P in 2010.
Novicio, a graduate of the first Brillante Mendoza Film Workshop, fields his project Papetir, which is about a ventriloquist who suddenly finds himself talking with his past during a performance at a children’s party.
Pusong Bato, Escobar’s film-within-a-film about a washed-up actress who tries to revive and recall her glorious days as a movie star, tries to make it two in a row over Apasol and Lisyon Qng Geografia, which it beats for Singkuwento’s top prize in the Best Short Film. The film, which also brought home other Singkuwento awards, namely Best Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Editing, and Best Original Song, also competed with other Asian short films at the 19th Busan International Film Festival last year.
An entry from the University of San Carlos cinema program, Dagatan’s Sanctissima also came from a near-sweep of major awards from UP Cebu’s UPelikula 2015 Film Festival, winning the Best Short Film, Best Director, Best Production Design, Best Sound Design, and Best Performer awards. The film focuses on an abortionist who lives alone with a dark secret. Her only contact to the outside world are her patients who are oblivious of what happens to the fetus that she extracts from them. Her reclusive world is threatened when a patient gets complications from an abortion and she vows to do everything to protect her well-kept secret.
Ateneo de Manila University masteral student Macalanda fields another award-winning short film in Wawa, which portrays a young boy’s journey as he and his relatives take his father to his final resting place. The short film recently won Best Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing in the Narrative Category of UP Cinema’s Piling Obrang Video (POV) 11 and also took home the Special Jury Prize, Best Production Design, and Best Cinematography awards in UP Los Baños’ Pelikultura Calabarzon Film Festival 2015.
Finalists in the Cinemalaya full length film category are expected to receive production grants of 750,000 pesos each, up from the previous 500,000 pesos, which had been given to grant winners for the past 10 editions of the festival. The full length film finalists are set to be announced during the Cinemalaya awards night this year.