The ideas are brave. The stories are bold. The movies are original. The talents are a mix of flag bearers and an emerging new breed. These are what make the 7th Cinema One Originals Festival a highly anticipated event when it opens at the Shangri-La Plaza Cineplex on November 9 running until November 15. Its equally awaited awards night will be held on November 13 at the Grand Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza.
Chosen through careful deliberation from hundreds of entries, this year’s ten finalists possess liberatingly out-of-the-box storytelling. They have potentials to make names for its filmmakers, directors, writers and actors through the local and even international arena.
These big ten films to watch out for are :
1) Big Boy by director and production designer Shireen Seno is an experimental coming-of-age melodrama about a boy subjected by his parents to peculiar routines to grow into their desired poster boy for their cod live oil business in Mindoro. Big Boy is Seno’s first film to make it to this festival.
2) Mga Anino sa Tanghaling Tapat written and directed by Ivy Universe Baldoza is a visually atmospheric story of woman’s mystical journey back to her hometown to discover herself and her mother’s sensuous past. A former student of the Mowelfund Institute, Baldoza was selected in the 2008 Berlinale Talent Campus’ Script Station and whose short films were exhibited in film fests abroad.
3) Sa Ilalim ng Tulay, a unique drama infused with comedy about an Aeta family whose decision to move into the city for greener pastures was met by a string of trials and tribulations is by writer-director Earl Bontuyan. A visual artist and director for TV shows and music videos, Bontuyan mastered his cinematography training at the Mowelfund.
4) My Paranormal Romance by Victor Villanueva is a teenage horror-comedy movie that revolves around student Merry Pascual who, after she has been hurt by past love affairs, gets into a phase of her life where she’s ready to move on and forget everything by enrolling into Cebu’s prestigious university. Everything goes as planned until she receives a mysterious item that makes a magnet to things paranormal.
5) Sa Kanto ng Ulap at Lupa by award-winning writer-producer-director Mes de Guzman, revolves around a multi-ethnic group of kids who engages the urban environment by looting rugby in a nearby hardware. An independent film director and scriptwriter, de Guzman has won four Palanca Awards for his films Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong and Chiffons.
6) Anatomiya ng Korupsyon starring Maricar Reyes and Sid Lucero is a social satire set in the 80s written for the stage by Malou Jacob and adapted for the screen by scriptwriter and filmmaker Dennis Marasigan. This is Marasigan’s 2nd movie for Cinema One Originals following his triumphant Sa North Diversion Road in 2005.
7) Cartas de la Soledad (Letters of Solitude) is a film by writer-producer-director and cultural heritage conservationist in Maguindanao Gutierrez ‘Teng’ Mangansakan II. The story revolves around a reclusive man who spent over 25 years in Barcelona, Spain studying and working, and then returns to Mindanao with his idealism and dream of improving the lives of his people by using what he has learned in Europe.
8 ) Six Degrees of Separation From Lilia is a day-in-a-life of ‘dakilang extra’ Lilia Cuntapay by writer-director Antoinette Jadaone. What she has done in her directing style is “to show what does Nanay (as she calls Cuntapay) thinks and dreams that are now coming true,” which will surely amuse, delight and capture the hearts of moviegoers. Jadaone is a cum laude of Film and Audio Visual Communication from the UP Film Institute and has directed short film Tumbang Preso, the Best Short Film in Cinemanila 2008, and Saling Pusa the 3rd Prize Gawad CCP Para Alternatibong Pelikula 2007.
9) Ka Oryang starring Alessandra de Rossi and Joem Bascom is a glimpse of female political detainees who struggled during the Martial Law by Sari Dalena a short film director and documentarian whose memorable work is the feature Rigodon in 2005.
10 ) Di Ingon Nato (Not Like Us) is a horror that deals with how people in a far-flung barangay deals with zombie infestation by religion, superstition and science by writer-director team Brandon Relucio and Ivan Zaldarriaga.
There are a lot of firsts this year – there are seven debut films by the following filmmakers – Sari Dalena’s solo directorial effort in Ka Oryang, Ivy Universe Baldoza in Mga Anino sa Tanghaling Tapat, Victor Villanueva in My Paranormal Romance, Earl Bontuyan in Sa Ilalim ng Tulay, Antoinette Jadaone in Six Degrees of Separation From Lilia and Shireen Seno in Big Boy. Di Ingon ‘Nato (Not Like Us) is also the first work of tandem fimmakers Ivan Zaldarriaga & Brandon Relucio.
Interestingly, the woman’s touch shall be felt in almost half of the number of films as there are 4 female directors in the line up – Shireen Seno, Ivy Universe Baldoza, Antoinette Jadaone and Sari Dalena.
Five of the ten films are regional, originals from the provinces – Big Boy from Mindoro, My Paranormal Romance from Cebu, Sa Kanto ng Ulap at Langit from Nueva Vizcaya, Cartas de la Soledad from Maguindanao and Di Ingon ‘Nato (Not Like Us) from Cebu. Sa Ilalim ng Tulay is partly a regional movie since it shows the journey of an aeta family from the Pinatubo explosion to being displaced and lost in Manila.
One of the films, Anatomiya actually came from a stageplay and was written for the widescreen by Malou Jacob.
The formidable Cebu production group staff members doing Di Ingon ‘Nato (Not Like Us) and My Paranormal Romance also did Cinema One Originals award winning films Ang Damgo Ni Eleuteria and Confessional (for Ruel Antipuesto and Publio Briones) in the past.
What also makes this festival unique is having two Cinema One Originals Honorary awardees – actor-director Mario O’Hara and the one and only Superstar, Ms Nora Aunor. Both are being honored for pioneering efforts in independent cinema. O’Hara has directed classic gems like Babae sa Breakwater and Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio, Condemned, Bulaklak sa City Jail, Babae sa Bubungang Lata. Nora Aunor has acted and produced among others Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Banaue, Bona, Condemned. The two cinema giants will both receive the “ORIGINALS in Philippine Cinema” award in the November 13 awards ceremonies of the 2011 Cinema One Originals Festival at the Grand Ballroom of Crowne Plaza.
This year, Cinema One Originals festival also takes much pride in its highly esteemed jury members, well known and distinguished in the film industry: directors Chito Rono and Chris Martinez, Manunuri members Nicanor Tiongson and Dr. Benilda Santos and Cannes Film Festival’s Director of the Film Department and Deputy to the General Delegate Christian Jeune.
Catch all of the film entries in the 2011 Cinema One Originals. These movies are produced and owned by Cinema One cable channel and the Creative Programs, Inc.