The year 2016 was a banner year for Filipino filmmakers. Among those who made a big splash in the international scene last year was 2009 Cannes Best Director Awardee Brillante Mendoza whose gritty slice-of-life film, “Ma’ Rosa”, won the 2016 Cannes Best Actress Award for lead actress Jaclyn Jose. Meanwhile, Lav Diaz scored huge triumphs with the coveted Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival for his epic eight-hour obra, “Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis” (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery). Diaz also scored with “Ang Babaeng Humayo” (The Woman Who Left) starring the esteemed Charo Santos-Concio in a vengeful tale of a woman wrongly imprisoned. It won the Golden Lion Prize for Best Picture at the 2016 Venice Film Festival.
Others who made entertainment headlines included Ralston G. Jover’s “Hamog” (Haze), a Cinema One Originals youth noir which won the Russian Film Critics’ Jury for Best Film Award at the Main Competition of the 38th Moscow International Film Festival. “Toto”, a dark comedy drama about a nurse longing to chase the American dream, won for director John Paul Su the Best Foreign Film at the 19th LA Comedy Festival in Los Angeles and Best Actor for film lead Sid Lucero. It also won the Audience Choice Award for Best Film at the 39th Asian American International Film Festival in New York City. Today, Su is now among NBC Universal’s Emerging Director’s Program finalists.
The list is long, but the point is made: the works of Filipino filmmakers are shining around the world. This is the context in which CINEMATOGRAFO Originals Contest was born. This new competition, which launches today, aims to foster and nurture new filmmaking talent from the Filipino diaspora. It is a platform to tell new stories and hear new voices of this generation.
CINEMATOGRAFO Originals Contest is a new annual competition that provides seed grants for full-length features, either documentary or narrative. It is open to all U.S. citizens and/or U.S. permanent residents of Filipino descent, 18 years or older.
And for budding filmmakers struggling to get funding for their projects, CINEMATOGRAFO awards more than $100,000 worth of production, marketing and distribution funds. This is a path to have stories realized on the big screen.
The contest criteria are 40% Story and Premise, 20% Presentation, 20% Plot and Pacing and 10% Theme.
“CINEMATOGRAFO Originals Contest winners will actually highlight the CINEMATOGRAFO International Film Festival to be held this October in San Francisco. What we want to do is to provide a platform for a new generation of U.S.-based Filipino or Filipino American filmmakers to bring their films to the world stage. CINEMATOGRAFO International Film Festival will be the premier event for that purpose,” said Film Festival Director John-D Lazatin, also the Global Head of Theatricals of ABS-CBN International.
There are three deadlines for submission to allow ample time for filmmakers, including students, to submit the best versions of their entries: January 31, 2017, Early Bird; February 15, 2017, Regular; and February 28, 2017, Late Deadline. For more information, please visit www.cinematografofilmfestival.com.