Multi-awarded indie films at PPP

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DIRECTORS of award-winning independent films included in a special section of Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino with Film Development Council of the Philippines chairman Liza Diño.

These six films premiered and reaped accolades at prestigious independent film festivals in the country, several of them reaping more awards from more established, award-giving bodies.

In addition to its official feature film and short film entries, the 2018 edition of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP) film festival organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has lined up six acclaimed feature films for its Special Feature section.

These six films premiered and reaped accolades at prestigious independent film festivals in the country, several of them reaping more awards from more established, award-giving bodies.

“We are very grateful and proud that PPP gets to screen these six films which are more than worthy to be watched and appreciated by a wider audience. This month is certainly an exciting time for Philippine Cinema as all types of Filipino films that we have today will be featured,” noted FDCP chairperson Liza Diño during the recent press launch to promote the six films.

Diño added that the idea to include the Special Feature was born out of the fact that several cinema multiplexes in Metro Manila, specifically SM North EDSA, Megamall, Mall of Asia, Manila, Fairview, Sta. Mesa, Gateway Cineplex and Robinsons Galleria, have more than eight cinemas, giving room for the screening of more films outside of the competing feature entries.

Dwein Baltazar’s Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus is the Second Best Picture in this year’s CineFilipino Film Festival.

The six Special Feature films for the PPP are Balangiga: Howling Wilderness, directed by Khavn dela Cruz (QCinema 2017); Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus, directed by Dwein Baltazar (Cine Filipino 2018); High Tide, directed by Tara Illenberger (ToFarm 2017); Kiko Boksingero, directed by Thop Nazareno (Cinemalaya 2017); Paki, directed by Giancarlo Abrahan (CinemaOne Originals 2017) and Tu Pug Imatuy, directed by Arnel Barbarona (Sinag Maynila 2017).

Based on the infamous Balangiga Massacre of 1901, Balangiga: Howling Wilderness focuses on an eight-year old boy, his grandfather and their carabao as they try to survive the American occupation. Directed by Khavn dela Cruz, the film went on to win the FAMAS Best Picture. Dela Cruz and producer Achinette Villamor said the film is still a work in progress and they’re still working on an edit that will merit a more favorable PG rating from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. The version that will be screened at the PPP Special Feature section may vary from the one that premiered at QCinema last year.

Baltazar’s Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus is the Second Best Picture in this year’s CineFilipino Film Festival. The movie is a compelling observation on desire, taking viewers to one of Manila’s smoky avenues and following four men who yearn for one enigmatic woman. Baltazar said that sound is one aspect of the film that needs to be improved so, if she can do some additional post-production work, she might also show an improved version of her film during the PPP.

High Tide by Illenberger, which won the ToFarm Film Festival’s Best Picture last year, t ackles the adverse effects of climate change as manifested by rising sea levels, affecting the lives of residents in a coastal village. At its core is the story of a young boy left orphan who, as an effect of a massive typhoon, loses his ability to speak.

ARNEL Barbarona’s Tu Pug Imatuy is the story of a lumad couple Obunay and Dawin who are uprooted from their traditional way of life after a military encounter.

Thop Nazareno’s Kiko Boksingero is one of the celebrated films in last year’s Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival which won Best Actor for child star Noel Comia, Jr. and Best Supporting Actress for Yayo Aguila. It focuses on a young boy who, left by relatives living in the United States to the custody of her nanny, suddenly finds himself reconnecting with his father, a boxer.

Winner of Best Picture at the 2017 CinemaOne Originals Film Festival, Abrahan’s Paki follows an 80-year old woman who decides that she wants to leave her husband of 60 years, even as their grown-up children try to prevent them from separating to keep their long-lasting bond alive.

Last but not the least, Barbarona’s Tu Pug Imatuy, which means “the right to kill” in Manobo, is the story of a lumad couple Obunay and Dawin who are uprooted from their traditional way of life after a military encounter. Winner of six awards including Best Picture in last year’s Sinag Maynila, the film went on to reap nominations and awards from the FAMAS and Gawad Urian including both Best Director trophies for Barbarona. Screenwriter Arnel Mardoquio said that like Balangiga: Howling Wilderness, several improvements were also being made for Tu Pug Imatuy and a new cut may be shown at the PPP.

High Tide by Tara Illenberger, which won the ToFarm Film Festival’s Best Picture last year, tackles the adverse effects of climate change.

Since the announcement of the Special Feature films, at least two the six aforementioned films, Balangiga: Howling Wilderness and Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus, have received a zero grade from the Cinema Evaluation Board, meaning they are not entitled to any tax incentives given to films graded A or B.

In an interview, Diño said the CEB grade will not prevent the PPP from screening the two films. All six Special Feature films will also be aggressively promoted as they will be part of the PPP festivities, including the PPP 2018 Opening Night at SM North EDSA on 13 August.

The festival will run from 15 to 21 August.

The PPP Special Feature section is also part of an ongoing school promotion at the University of the Philippines, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa, Unibersidad de Manila, Asia Pacific Film Institute, Adamson University and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina.

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