LIST: Pista Ng Pelikulang Pilipino Winners Show Various Philippine Realities
The Filipino film industry is at the crossroad and thanks to the digital medium, making a film has come within reach of many aspiring directors, writers and producers. There are several Filipino indie movies excelling in the world stage.
“Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino” organised by the Film Development Council of the Philippines in partnership with theatres nationwide ran from August 16-22, 2017. The festival provides a platform for emerging Filipino filmmakers where their films can connect to the wider Filipino audience through its nationwide release. The participating films were honoured with a thanksgiving event at White Space in Makati City. While the festival might be over, some of the award-winning movies are still on-going this week.
Find out where and when with the Be app. From delicate indies to big-budget sci-fi dystopias, the Be app recommends films everyone will be talking about. We update you as you go so you know where to catch them. Install the app here: http://onelink.to/j3f6vu
Here are our favourites!
Birdshot by Mikhail Red
Birdshot is a coming-of-age thriller that tells the story of a young farm girl who wanders off into a Philippine forest reserve. Deep within the reservation she mistakenly shoots and kills a critically endangered and protected Philippine eagle. As the local authorities begin a manhunt to track down the poacher of a national bird, their investigation leads them to an even more horrific discovery.
Birdshot won best picture at the Asian future competition 29th Tokyo international film festival. The movie also won the cj entertainment award at the Asian project market, Busan international Film Festival 2015. The movie received a production grant from the Doha film institute and is supported by the prestigious Produire au Sud 2015 in France.
Paglipay – “Crossing” by Zig Madamba Dulay
Paglipay (“Crossing”) is a Sambal Ayta term being used by Aetas (Filipino indigenous tribe) when crossing the mountain river going to a lowland town in search for an alternative source of income. The narrative opens as we follow Atan’s fulfilment of his arranged marriage with a fellow Aeta, Ani. He must pay a dowry (Bandi) to Ani’s parents. Atan needs to cross the mountain river going to Banwa, the town where he could earn the necessary amount for the Bandi. However, he then meets Rain, a student from Manila that would turn his life upside down.
Paglipay is one of the most acclaimed local films of 2016. It was first shown during the first tofarm film festival, in which it won Best Picture and Best Director, as well as Best Actor,
Supporting Actress, Cinematography and People’s Choice. Gawad Urian cited it with 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Two Supporting actresses, Screenplay, Cinematography, and others.
Pauwi na by Paolo Villaluna
Winner of the Best Film award at the Shanghai film festival, the black-humoured Philippine drama follows a Manila slum family as they return to the countryside**** Mang Pepe and his family travel from Quezon City to Bicol on Pedi cabs (“Sikad-sikad”). Mang Pepe and his wife, Remedios, their daughter Pina, their son JP with his pregnant blind wife Isabel, and their dog Kikay, live together in a shanty at a Quezon city slum. To survive daily, Mang Pepe drives his Pedi cab and carry various loads to the market while Aling Remedios washes laundry for her neighbours. JP and Pina both try to earn a living and Isabel, in her blindness, sees and converses with Jesus Christ. Realizing their futile life in the city, Mang Pep convinces the family to go back to their hometown in Bicol. Without enough transport money, they decide to use pedicabs so they could “Pedal” their way back to the province. A series of unfortunate events occur that will either test their determination or distract them from their journey home. “Pauwi na” is a tragic-comic portrait of a dysfunctional family and the disquieting blind faith they invoke as they dream of going home. But, ultimately, Pauwi na is not a film about family but about what it means to be part of one.
As outlandish as the story seems, the movie was inspired by a true story, published in the Philippine daily inquirer in the early 2000s. The original story was of a family who, out of poverty, set out to travel from manila to their hometown in Leyte – over 800 kilometres – using only a tricycle. The family got as far as Bicol in a span of four months, and inevitably encountered all kinds of challenges along the way.
Star na si Van Damme Stallone by Randolph Longjas
Based on real-life characters and events, this tale is about Nadia, a single mom from Bocaue in Bulacan, who goes through the trials and tribulations of raising Vanvan, a child with down syndrome. As a mother, one is expected to give one hundred percent to her child⎯ but when one is raising a special child, one hundred percent is never enough, you still must give so much more. When Vanvan told Nadia, he wanted to become an actor, Nadia knew she had to make ends meet- and dreams come true.
Spanning more than two decades of personal accounts, this story offers vignettes of Vanvan’s life through the eyes of the people closest to him: his mother Nadia when he was a new-born and the story of how he got his unique name; his brother Tano during his childhood, when he got his first lead role and gave it up for the sake of the ‘greater good’; his uncle Jim when he reached his teenage years and began making his acting career happen; and, his own perspective as an adult when he finally, with a speaking role, became a full-fledged TV personality.
In a world where we are told to know our limits and live within our boundaries, to dare to dream and to go beyond one’s disability is a form of rebellion, and Van Damme is out there to make his dreams happen, against all odds.
Salvage film by Sherad Anthony Sanchez
After being suspended, a TV news team is redirected to an unwanted assignment of Aswang rumours (shapeshifting monster in Filipino folklore) in Central Mindanao. Cynical and unenthusiastic, they follow their lead towards a remote barrio where they experience the varying definitions of salvage.
The compelling repercussions of Sanchez’s experiment with the film genre of horror are tremendous. In a way, salvage, with its narrative of Manila-based media workers suddenly facing unknown terrors in Mindanao, puts into question not just the integrity of the footage but the integrity of the people creating the footage, or in a larger context, truths. Taken completely as a metaphor for how little imperialist Manila knows of the regions, the film proposes that the truths we have been led to believe through the bombarded impositions of mass media are filtered, damaged, and perhaps, even fabricated. The film, by evolving from a crazed chase around the jungle into an orgy of bewitching imagery, plays with its audience’s expectations, resulting in an experience that can only lead them to suspect and to doubt the ages-old notion that to see is to believe. In all the exquisitely constructed chaos of salvage, the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, and nothing is more horrifying than that.
Hamog by Ralston Jover
“Life begins when innocence ends.”
This premise sets the tone for Ralston Jover’s Hamog (2015), which follows the lives of four street children: Rashid, Jinky, Tisoy and Moy. They spend their days chasing crime and delinquency on the streets of EDSA, and their nights chasing sleep in the bowels of Guadalupe bridge.
It is easy to dismiss “Hamog” for needlessly contributing to the tired discourse of urban decay and poverty. However, to do so would be a grave disservice to the film’s lyrical effort to paint very human portraits of the children who are stripped of innocence by the city’s various cruelties. Jover seems to have a knack for character-driven storytelling and this shines through in the film. Beyond their faces caked with urban grime, the characters are compelling with their own histories. Hamog avoids making grandiose and didactic statements. It’s even fearlessly nihilistic, as each kid descends deeper than before into darkness.