Here’s Part 2 of my blog about the current onslaught of Pinoy Indie Films.
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…
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 (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 (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 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.
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:
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.