In its 18th year serving as an invaluable backbone to the culture of Philippine Cinema and after being compelled to go online, delaying film production and distribution of full-length features for the past two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cinemalaya Film Festival brings back the magical core of cinema as they present onsite screenings of both full length and short feature films.
In a press conference last July 6th, the Philippine Independent Film Festival 2022 presented this year’s theme: Breaking Through The Noise — a fitting representation for storytellers who continue to “cut through the noise” and appear to be “culture bearers of light” as they intrepidly make ways to craft and show stories of and for the society no matter the odds.
For this year’s festival, Cinemalaya presents 11 full-length films:
1. 12 WEEKS
12 Weeks follows the story of a 40-year-old woman (Alice) who discovers her pregnancy shortly after ending a “toxic relationship” with her boyfriend (Ben). Considering her age and relationship dilemma, Alice struggles as she decides whether she’ll take on the role of being a mother or not. The film is directed by multi-awarded filmmaker Anna Isabelle Matutina, starring Max Eigenmann, Bing Pimentel, Vance Larena, Claudia Enriquez.
Angkas presents the story of a habal-habal driver (Leo) who also appears to be a resident ambulance and delivery rider in a remote village hired to bring the dead down the mountain. After an estranged friend (Miguel) came back to ask him to participate in finding the corpse of a childhood friend (Ditas)— a rebel pursued by the military, his habal-habal journey challenged their friendship, and an encountered danger deemed to be saved only by an unlikely hero. The film is directed by two-time FAMAS awardee Rainerio C. Yamson II, starring Joem Bascon, Benjamin Alves, Meryll Soriano, Jolo Estrada.
Batsoy tells a narrative about two siblings (Toto and Nonoy) who went on a fantastical adventure filled with a mixture of magic, fantasy, and reality as they journey through finding the younger brother’s much-coveted craving, Batsoy. The film is directed by Ilonggo director Ronald Espinosa, starring Sean Ethan Sotto, Markko Cambas, Karen Mendoza, Nathan Sotto, Jonalie Asdolo, Annalyn Hipolito.
4. BULA SA LANGIT
Bula Sa Langit showcases the story of a Marawi war veteran (Wesley) who is enthusiastic about bringing his girlfriend (Ritz) home to his family. In his homecoming, conflict arises when Wesley struggles to reconnect relationships, haunted by traumatic kills that appear to be an internal war faced alone. He then makes an impulsive trip to a carnival to confront his trauma. The film is directed by award-winning actress Sheenly Gener, starring Gio Gahol and Kate Alejandro.
5. BAKIT ‘DI MO SABIHIN
Bakit ‘Di Mo Sabihin follows the story of a deaf couple (Miguel and Nat) who have been struggling to work their marriage out as they both realize that their inability to speak and hear tears them apart. The film is directed by screenwriter, director, and producer Real Florido, starring Janine Gutierrez and JC De Vera.
6. BLUE ROOM
Blue Room is a film about an indie rock band (Rebel Rebel) composed of woke albeit sheltered teens. After their most significant break at a local music festival, the band went to a local bar to celebrate the occasion when they got arrested for drug possession. The arrest brought them to a Blue Room, where bribery acted as a method to get their way out. The film is directed by producer, cinematographer, and writer Ma-an L. Asuncion-Dagñalan, starring juan karlos, Harvey Bautista, Nouriijune, Keoni Jin, Elijah Canlas.
Ginhawa tells the story of an aspiring boxer (Anton) who aims to continue the legacy of his older brother (Saul), who was given an opportunity to defeat poverty by joining a competition in the city, but a tragic incident occurs along the process. Anton’s pursuit of continuing his brother’s legacy brought him to Manila, where the ugly truth embedded in the brutal sport is unraveled. The film is directed by Filipino-Canadian filmmaker Christian Paolo Lat, starring Andrew Ramsay, Ruby Ruiz, Dido de la Paz, Rolando Inocencio.
Kaluskos presents a narrative about a mother (Rebekah) in a quest for sole custody of her daughter (Amaya). The story unfolds as she goes through a custody battle with her estranged husband (Jay). Along the process, Rebekah discovers another “Amaya.” A motherly connection is lost when the other Amaya insists that she is the real Amaya trapped under the bed because of a curse. As Rebekah seeks the truth, new life, and freedom, she must kill the imposter. The fiilm is directed by Roman S. Perez Jr., starring Coleen Garcia, Queenzy Calma, Karl Medina, Cara Gonzales, Elora Españo.
Kargo follows the story of a woman (Sara) motivated to find closure by searching for the man who murdered her entire family in a motorcycle accident on a rough highway in Iloilo. At the end of her journey, Sara discovers something that could profoundly change her life. The film is directed by TM Malones, starring Max Eigenmann, Jess Mendoza, Myles Robles, Ronnie Lazaro.
Retirada captures the story of a retired government employee (Azon) who experiences melancholia. A neighbor (Chayong) introduced her to the game of Bingo, and when she hits the jackpot, Azon becomes a regular Bingo player to duplicate her initial windfall. Her new sense of purpose would teach her a truer sense of retirement. The film is directed by Milo Alto Paz and Cynthia Cruz-Paz, starring Peewee O’Hara, Jerry O’Hara, Donna Cariaga, Dexter Doria, Nanding Josef, Lui Manansala, Johana Basanta.
11. THE BASEBALL PLAYER
The Baseball Players tells a narrative about a 17-year-old Moro child soldier (Amir) whose father was killed in an all-out war. Amir aspires to live a different life and pursue a career as a baseball player. Another all-out war against Moro rebels breaks out, and Amir struggles to choose between following his dream as a baseball player or fighting in the war. The film is directed by Carlo Obispo, starring Tommy Alejandrino, JM San Jose, Tess Antonio, Don Melvin Boongaling, Sue Prado, Pongs Leonardo, Joel Saracho, Bon Lentejas, Ely Cellan, Arnold Reyes.
The Cinemalaya 2022 will run from August 5 to October 31, 2022. The films will be screened at CCP Venues, Ayala Cinemas, and SM Cinemas.
The festival pass costs Php 2,500, which allows holders to watch all films in the competition. The festival pass has 13 screening credits—one credit for each of the 11 full-length films and two sets of short films. The pass can only be used at CCP Venues, valid from August 5-14, 2022.
You can purchase the festival pass at the CCP Box Office. Details for online purchases will be announced soon.
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Official website: www.cinemalaya.org