Here’s Part 2 of my blog about the current onslaught of Pinoy Indie Films.
Cinemalaya Cinco 2009
Just last weekend, Cinemalaya Cinco culminated in a much-awaited awards night. As expected, no single movie copped a lion’s share of the trophies handed out, except for Astig which cornered four. All 10 full-length feature films in competition were so good that majority of them went home with an award or two to be proud of. A selection of these indie movies will inevitably add up to the roster of Philippine entries to film festivals around the globe.
Some of the noteworthy entries (read: the ones I was able to watch during the festival) are…
GB Sampedro's Astig
Astig directed by GB Sampedro is the top grosser among the 10 competition films. It is the most star-studded with Dennis Trillo, Sid Lucero, Arnold Reyes, Glaiza de Castro and Edgar Allan Guzman heading a long string of cameo appearances from big name stars. It helps that Boy Abunda is one of the producers. But I have to give it up for GB Sampedro for coming up with an intense and sensitive look at the twists and turns in the lives of 4 tough young men as they individually struggle for survival in the city. The movie was rewarded with two awards – Best Director for Sampedro and Best Supporting Actor for Arnold Reyes plus a couple of technical recognitions.
Update: Astig has already been invited to participate in the Pusan International Film Festival as part of its New Currents Section.
Dinig Sana Kita directed by Mike Sandejas
Dinig Sana Kita (If I Knew What You Said) directed by Mike Sandejas. This movie won the Audience Award during the festival and I couldn’t agree more. It is a love story between a deaf boy and a rocker chick set in the cool environs of Baguio City. This is a very touching piece of work. And the two leads make a good pair onscreen. With proper marketing and promotions, this can very well find its way to a successful commercial run.
Sanglaan directed by Milo Sogueco
Sanglaan (Pawnshop) is an opus by Milo Sogueco and tells about the lives of people working in and around a small pawnshop – their hopes, sadness, frustration and redemption. All the performances are subtle (as represented by the bland and quiet pawnshop) but solid. In fact, two of its stars – Ina Feleo and Tessie Tomas – were given the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress trophies, respectively.
Last Supper No. 3 directed by Veronica B. Velasco
Last Supper No. 3 directed by Veronica B. Velasco is the only comedy entry in this year’s derby but that doesn’t make it any less after winning Best Picture over the 9 other entries. First time I heard about the movie, I knew I had to watch it. Its biting humor makes watching the whole thing even more enjoyable as the audience is tagged along in one man’s search for a missing prop of the Last Supper which snowballed into issues about the country’s legal system.
Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe by Alvin Yapan
Actors Lou Veloso & Alfred Vargas during the Gala Night of Colorum
I missed seeing Colorum by Jon Steffan Ballesteros which won for stage actor Lou Veloso the Best Actor award and I plan to catch it one of these days, i.e., if it makes it to a limited run in one of Manila’s indie-dedicated cinemas. Add to this the movie Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe (The Rapture of Fe) by Alvin Yapan which stars the ever reliable Irma Adlawan in the title role. I wasn’t able to catch these two due to a messenger’s mess-up in my schedule during one of the days I was supposed to go to CCP.
Other finalists I failed to find time to watch are:
Nerseri directed by Vic Acedillo Jr.
Mangatyanan directed by Jerrold Tarog
Engkwentro directed by Pepe Diokno
24K directed by Ana Agabin
In the end, I remain optimistic about the current state of Pinoy Indie movies. It’s like a rebirth that would need constant rearing (and financing) to eventually fluorish and create another Golden Age in Philippine Cinema.