The Film Development Council of the Philippines recently named seven foreign films selected to vie in the main competition and eight local films set to compete in the Filipino New Cinema section of the World Premieres Film Festival Philippines 2015, which runs from June 24 to July 7 in select SM cinemas in Metro Manila.
Aleksandr Melnik’s Territoriya (The Territory) from Russia, Ana Murugarren’s Tres Mentiras (Three Lies) from Spain, Angga Sasongko’s Filosofi Kopi from Indonesia, Anna M. Bofarull’s Sonata per a Violoncel (Sonata for Cello) from Spain, Burak Cem Arliel’s Kirimli (Crimean) from Turkey, Li-Da Hsu’s The End of Love from Taiwan, and Remy van Heugtens’ Gluckauf (Son of Mine) from Netherlands will compete for the Grand Festival Prize, Grand Jury Prize, Best Performance by an Actor, Best Performance by an Actress, Best Artistic Contribution, Technical Grand Prize, and Best Ensemble Performance.
The main competition jury is comprised of Chris Fujiwara, film critic, programmer, journalist, and editor; Serik Zhubandykov, head of the International Cooperation, Film Festivals and Forums Department of Kazakhfilm Studio and director general of the International Film Festival Eurasia, Kazakhstan; and Ahmet Boyacioglu, chair of the Ankara Cinema Association and general secretary of Turkey’s Festival on Wheels.
Meanwhile, Alvin B. Yapan’s An Kubo sa Kawayanan, Nestor Abrogena’s Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa, Will Fredo’s Filemon Mamon, Charliebebs Gohetia’s I Love You. Thank You, Genesis Nolasco’s Maskara, Ruben Maria Soriquez’s Of Sinners and Saints, Carlos Morales’ Piring, and Jonah Lim’s Sino ba si Pangkoy Ong? will vie for film grants and awards for the first and second Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Musical Score, Best Sound Engineering, Best Performance by an Actor, Best Performance by an Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress in the Filipino New Cinema category.
Yapan’s An Kubo sa Kawayanan, which stars Mercedes Cabral and RK Bagatsing, is about the strange love story of a woman and her house by the bamboo grave. Living in her own special world, she develops a shared language with the house, with things functioning as words only she could understand. Everyone is trying to persuade her to abandon the house.
Abrogena’s Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa tells the story of a young filmmaker and his girlfriend, an aspiring writer, who takes serious risks in order to keep the spark in their relationship still alive. The young couple, played by Nicco Manalo and Emmanuelle Vera, tries to delay the inevitable as the man has been offered a fellowship in one of the leading film schools in the world and the woman is about to leave for the US upon her graduation.
Based on Christine Bellen’s children’s book, Filemon Mamon is about a fat high school student who wants to win the heart of the girl he loves and to be the lead in a musical play about his Philippine hero Andres Bonifacio. However, his weight poses a big problem. Fredo directed the musical comedy film with original music composed by Maynard De Guzman and Sherwin Castillo and lyrics and screenplay by Bellen and Jethro Tenorio. The FAMAS Best Advocacy Film stars theatre actor Jerome Ignacio in the title role, Smokey Manaloto, Nanette Inventor, Giselle Sanchez, Rayver Cruz, Miles Ocampo, Joshua Colet, and with the special participation of Christian Bautista.
Joross Gamboa, Ae Pattawan, Prince Stefan, and CJ Reyes star in Gohetia’s I Love you. Thank you, which tells the story of Paul, a restless twenty-something who cannot get his act together. He has been holding on to his love for Red, his best friend Ivan’s partner. Looking for a sense of direction in his life, he goes to Siem Reap in Cambodia, where he meets Tang who soon falls in love with him. When Ivan leaves Red, Paul finds himself caught between chasing an unrequited love with Red and choosing Tang, whose love he cannot reciprocate.
The Communication Foundation for Asia relives its tradition of using the medium of film to tackle the most pressing issues besetting the country. After almost four decades of hiatus from filmmaking, CFA follows up Batingaw, its first full-length film about responsible parenthood, with Maskara. Nolasco explores integrity and corruption through romance, action, and suspense with co-writer Sal dela Tierra in the film, which stars Ina Feleo, Ping Medina, Lance Raymundo, Lester Llansang, and veteran actress Boot Anson-Roa Rodrigo.
Of Sinners and Saints follows the story of an Italian missionary priest from Rome who was assigned to a parish in the slum community of Payatas to counsel battered women and teach catechism to poor children. The priest decides to help his former girlfriend, who turns out to be a victim of domestic violence and whose six-year old son is missing. Filipino-Italian filmmaker Soriquez stars as the priest and co-writes the script with Alejandro Ramos. Raymond Bagatsing, Polo Ravales, Richard Quan, Althea Vega, Sue Prado, and Channel Latorre co-star with the actor-director.
Morales tries his hand at directing in Piring after previously acting in critically acclaimed films by award-winning directors. His directorial debut has Bembol Roco, Tessie Tomas, Krista Miller, Yusseff Estevez, Rocky Salumbides, Biboy Ramirez, and Teri Aunor among its cast. Esteves plays the role of a gym instructor by day and a student by night, who struggles to keep both ends meet. However, the school principal has set his eyes on him and is willing to do anything to get what he wants. A sudden twist of fate will change everything.
Kiko Matos, Lara Villar, and Coleen Perez star in Sino nga ba si Pangkoy Ong? Lim’s follow-up to Nasaan si Hefte? his entry to the 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival’s Tribute to Independent Films, and Sagip sa Ika-7 Hakbang, his 2008 advocacy film on dyslexia. A group, inspired by the books written by an author with the pseudonym Pangkoy Ong, tries to write and eventually finishes a book manuscript. However, an unforeseen problem arises.
The other competition categories in the film festival are the Cine Verde and the Parallel Sections, which are made up of the Ibero-America, Euroview, and ASEAN Skies. Cine Verde films will vie for the Best Environmental Film award, whose winner will be decided upon by a separate special jury committee. On the other hand, films in the Parallel Sections will compete for the Intercontinental Prize for Best Film, which will be given by another special international jury. There are also the Classics section and the Out of Competition selection films.
The WPFF opens a new avenue for filmmakers to launch their film’s international premieres and provide them a unique opportunity to meet and share their stories with a new audience.