This year's Cinemalaya will prove grander and more interactive than its predecessors as it marks the return of films with a running time that exceeds one hour.
In Metro Manila, Cinemalaya opens at its main venue, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on Aug. 5 to 14, then at satellite venues at Ayala Cinemas in Greenbelt 3 and Glorietta, Makati, Trinoma and UP Town Center, Quezon City and Nuvali, Sta. Rosa. In Cebu, Cinemalaya will run from Aug. 9 to 14 at Ayala Mall.
This year's festival, which carries the theme "Break the Surface," marks the return of the Full-Length Feature category.
Nine entries will vie for the Cinemalaya Award - Ang Bagong Pamilya ni Ponching by Inna Miren Salazar and Dos Ocampo; Dagsin by Atom Magadia; Hiblang Abo by Ralston Jover; I America by Ivan Andrew Payawal; Kusina by David Corpuz and Cenon Palomares; Lando at Bugoy by Vic Acedillo Jr.; Mercury is Mine by Jason Paul Laxamana; Pamilya Ordinaryo by Eduardo Roy Jr.; and Tuos by Derick Cabrido.
Ten entries will compete in the Short Feature category. These are: Ang Hapon ni Nanding (Nanding's Afternoons) by Rommel Tolentino; Ang Maangas, Ang Marikit at Ang Makata by Jose Ibarra Guballa; Bugtaw by Noah Del Rosario; Butas by Richard Cawed; Fish Out of Water by Mon A.L. Garilao; Forever Natin by Cyrus Valdez; Get Certified by Isaias Herrera Zantua; Mansyong Papel by Ogos Aznar; Nakauwi Na by John Relano, Patrick Baleros and Luis Hidalgo; and Pektus by Isabel Quesada.
Cinemalaya will offer the following sections this year: Festival's Best, Asian Showcase, Documentaries, Tribute to Francis Pasion and Cinemalaya Institute showcase. The Cinemalaya Campus, a major component of the festival, will be held on Aug. 9 and 10 at the CCP Little Theater. The Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, which is considered the longest-running independent film competition of its kind in the Asian region, will have its 28th run during Cinemalaya.
A new feature of this year's festival will be the participation of young celebrities who will take on the role of Cinemalaya Navigators. As such, they will engage with audiences in conversations about the Cinemalaya films.
Also new this year is the partnership of Cinemalaya and Eigasai Japanese Film Festival, through the Japan Foundation. As allied festivals, Cinemalaya and Eigasai will encourage film exchange, help in the promotion of both events, and contribute to audience building and film education.
Under this alliance, Eigasai brings in two films - Ken and Kazu by Hiroshi Shoji and August in Tokyo by Ryutaro Nakagawa - to Cinemalaya's Asian Section. Ken and Kazu will be the opening film of the Asian Section. Both films will be free admission. As part of Eigasai Film Festival, the CCP hosted the screening of The Emperor in August by Masato Harada on July 8 at the CCP Little Theater.
The Asian Section will feature award-winning Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema or NETPAC films, namely: Child of Debt by Umashankar Swamy (India/Kannada, 2015), Mina Walking by Yosef Baraki (Afghanistan/Canada, 2015 ), Motor Bicycle by Shameera Rangana Naotunna (Sri Lanka, 2015), Stranger by Yermek Tursunov (Kazakhstan, 2015), The Kids by Sunny Yu (Taiwan, 2015), Under Heaven by Dalmira Tilepbergen (Kyrgyzstan, 2015) and Until I Lose My Breath by Emine Emel Balci (Turkey-Germany, 2015). The Asian Section will also screen River Road by Li Ruijun (China, 2014).
The Tribute to Francis Pasion honors the life and work of the late Cinemalaya director who passed away in March 2016. His films Bwaya (Cinemalaya 2014 Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Score), Jay (Cinemalaya 2008 Best Film, Best Editing, Best Actor) and Sampaguita (2010 Cinemalaya Special Jury Prize) will be shown in this retrospective.
Lav Diaz' Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, which won the Silver Bear at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, will be shown in the Special Screenings section, along with his Ang Araw Bago ang Wakas. The Special Screenings section will also spotlight the work of Jaclyn Jose, recently awarded Best Actress in this year's Cannes Film Festival and Nick De Ocampo's historical documentaries Eiga and Gunita, among others.
The Cinemalaya 2016 Exhibit at the Bulwagang Carlos Francisco (Little Theater Lobby) will feature posters and memorabilia from the films selected for the competition.
Cinemalaya is a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Ayala Malls Cinemas. Established in 2005, Cinemalaya is an all-digital film festival and competition that aims to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers.
To date, Cinemalaya has supported and promoted the production of 127 full feature independent films and 106 short films. Many of these films have won awards in local and international competitions and festivals. Through the annual festival, Cinemalaya has showcased over 1,000 works by independent filmmakers including full feature films, shorts, documentaries, Filipino film classics and art films.
Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli has been chosen as the closing film of the 2016 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.
The highly anticipated historical drama will have its gala premiere at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) of CCP on Aug. 13, Saturday, on the eve of the festival's awarding ceremony.