New Filipino Cinema 2013: Filipina Shorts

Jun 9, 2013 1:00pm

Screening Room
$10 Regular/$8 YBCA member, senior, student, or teacher
U.S. premiere

We showcase four emerging women directors in this diverse program of shorts.

Waiting to Whisper (Ang Paghihintay sa Bulong) by Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo
In traditional Filipino culture, when a person dies you can whisper and send your wishes to the dead. This bizarre yet touching film depicts a grotesquely dysfunctional family who selfishly await the death of a relative. (2012, 17 min)

Aurora, My Aurora by Janus Victoria
A poetic meditation on random human connections set against the discordant urban rhythms of Manila. (2012, 15 min)

Vow of Silence (Imik) by Anna Isabelle Matutina
Starring the gifted young actress Mercedes Cabral, Imik examines the complexities of sexual relationships in an extremely patriarchal society. (2012, 40 min)

Last Strike (Katapusang Labok) by Aiess Alonso
With stunning imagery bathed in glorious light, the film portrays a fishing community north of Cebu who struggle to survive despite the devastation caused by coral harvesting. (2012, 20 min)

More at:

PH films in the spotlight at film festival in Finland

By Sheila Riikonen, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau correspondent
Posted at 03/12/2013 10:24 AM | Updated as of 03/12/2013 10:28 AM


(L-R) Jewel Maranan, Anna Isabelle Matutina, Raymond Red, Axel Estein and guest at Focus on the Philippines

FINLAND – Twenty documentary, experimental and fiction short films by prize-winning filmmaker Nick Deocampo, noted directors Raymond Red, Anna Isabelle Matutina, and Jewel Maranan were showcased at the recent 43rd Tampere International Short Film Festival.

Held from March 6 to 10, the film festival gathered a poignant collection of short films made during the last 40 years in the Philippines. The Philippines was one of the festival’s main focuses in Asia, along with China and India.

The 5-day fest was attended by thousands of international guests, filmmakers, organizers, students, and film buffs, who viewed over 500 screenings and 4500 international films for the press at the “Film Market” events.

The four directors led by Red, a veteran of the short film genre, and two upcoming young directors Sunshine Matutina and Maranan participated in seminars, discussions and masterclasses, as well as workshops, in Finland´s 19th century district.

“We are very happy to be in one of the most prestigious film fest in Europe,” Red said in an interview with ABS-CBN Europe at the historic Tammer Hotel in the mainland city of Tampere.

“[Its] a good chance to show that our film industry is vibrant with promising young talents. We have been invited before but this is our first opportunity to be here,” he said.

Some Filipinos went to the film festival to give their support to the Filipino directors.
“We are very excited to welcome them here. We listened to ‘Focus on the Philippines’ program discussions and we were very proud,” said Tampere-based Alice Savolainen from Albay. She and her Finnish husband paid a minimum of 8 euros for each film and enjoyed the free additional screenings.

Matutina’s acclaimed “Imik” drew gasps from the audience with its portrayal of female sexuality and family relationships. Maranan´s documentary on “Tondo, Beloved: To What Are the Poor Born?”, which was shown to a big crowd on Saturday evening, was well-received by the mainly European audience.

“It was amazing when watching the film how the director can present her subjects poignantly and subtly in such close proximity,” said Vladimir Horev from Estonia.

Red’s “Ang Hikab” (1984) was described in Finnish blogs as a surreal film balancing the fine line between dreaming and being awake by a man caught in his own nightmares.

The 15-minute film is a very successful model to exploit, as a crossbreed of ‘Becket and Kafkaesque’ kind of encounter with the world, wrote critic Henri Walter Rehnström.

“Red’s use of 8-16 millimeter camera results in very familiar but also has a very special outcome. Filipino films that have remained invisible to Finland commercially show again a short repackaging of fact and fiction,” he added.

UK won the Grand Pix

“The Mass of Men” (2012), directed by Gabriel Gauchet, won with its story of a 55-year-old Richard, who is late for his appointment at the employment office. According to the jury, “the filmmaker skillfully leads the viewer through a constantly developing narrative asking them to question their own preconceptions as the full story is gradually revealed.”

The Best Fiction category went to Argentina’s “Asesinato en Junìn” (Murder in Junín, 2012) by Andrew Sala while the audience award for Best International Film was handed out to “Matka” (Mother, 2012) by Polish Lukasz Ostalski.

Finland´s National Competition winners include “Hänen tilanne” (When One Stops, 2012), “Hiljaisen talven lapsi” (The Child of Silent Winter), “Laulu koti-ikävästä” (Finnish Blood Swedish Heart, 2012), and “Häätanssi” (Dance of Outlaws, 2012). The Youth Jury Award and student prizes were also given. The Trash Film Festival aimed at low budget Finnish films was well-attended.

“The competitions attracted a large audience as well as Zaida Bergroth’s retrospective screenings which were sold out. Old film classics were audience favorites too while the unique show Retour de flamme swept the audience off at Tullikamari,” the festival director said.

Painful issues in PH tackled in light-hearted way

The cinematic journey to the Philippines and China are highlights of the main program. The more recent fiction films deal with even painful issues in a lighthearted way, wrote the Finnish press.

As a theme, the Philippines was depicted as a “former Spanish colony with prominent Catholicism displayed in the films as colorful carnival culture, among other things.”
“The Eternity” about the quest for eternal life, and “Black Nuisance” about the Philippine-American War at the turn of the 20th century, were shown in Focus on the Philippines, alongside “True Blue American Coconut Grove” and “Rust”.

Meanwhile, the status of gay men living on the margins of Filipino society by Paolo Villaluna’s “Margin.”

“Ang Magpakailanman” was reminiscent of “Metropolis” (1927), and visually compelling “Andalusian Dog” (1929), wrote Rehnström. “It would have been great if the Film Festival had the opportunity to make further production showings of Red, for example, in the 2000 film of Anino that won the Short Film Palme d’Or at Cannes.”

“We never knew about the Philippines, but after the festival we have a strong desire to go there and see for ourselves,” said Monika, a young student from Tampere.

The first Tampere International Short Film Fest, which started in 1970 now evolved to become an international meeting place for film professionals and enthusiasts. Since, 2009 over 3000 films were submitted to the competitions. Remaining ideologically neutral and open, the event prides itself on showcasing high standard cinema, regardless of social systems.


PH films in two Finland film fests

March 2, 2013 | 9:26 pm

The Tampere Film Festival has lined up a retrospective of 20 Filipino shorts, spanning works from 1969 to 2012, along with two full-length features (Mes de Guzman’s “Diablo” and Lawrence Fajardo’s “Amok,”) and Jewel Maranan’s full-length documentary “Tundong Magiliw.”

Four Filipino filmmakers Nick Deocampo, Raymond Red, Anna Isabelle Matutina and Maranan will attend the Tampere fest, which will be held from March 6 to 10.

Among the short films to be screened in Tampere are those of Red (“The Eternity”) and Paolo Villaluna (“Margin”).

Axel Estein curated the Filipino program, dubbed “Focus on the Philippines.”

Four days after Tampere, three Filipino shorts will be shown at the Helsinki Cine Asia Film Festival: Borgy Torre’s “Bonsai,” Joy A. Aquino’s “Nilda” and Rommel Tolentino’s “Niño Bonito.”

The Helsinki fest will be held from March 14 to 17.  – Bayani San Diego Jr.

– See more at:

20 filmmakers. 10 issues. 20 short films.

It is a nation that lives by its stories: housewives living through the eight pm soap opera, teenagers who toss meager allowances on movie tickets, the audience that shakes its head over the daily news. AmBisyon is about the dreams of a nation, the vision of a future in the context of a country locked in poverty. It is about hope, possibility, truth—through the lenses of those who tell its stories.

In amBisyon2010, the Abs-cbn News Channel brings together twenty independent filmmakers who will tackle their version of the state of the nation. Corruption, Democracy, Economy Education, Environment, Health, Justice and Human Rights, Population, Poverty and Security: these are the issues that will determine who will take on the national leadership in the elections of 2010.

On a budget of P30,000, each filmmaker will produce a short film that pictures their vision of the nation after 2010. The films will have their theater premiere in late February of 2010, three months before the national elections. For ten weeks after, ANC will air the short films in weekly prime time episodes, together with behind the scenes interviews with the filmmakers.

amBisyon2010 brings together the dreams of a nation—and the possibility of change.

Ikaw, ano ang ambisyon mo?

Directed and edited by Jason Tan
Produced by Patricia Evangelista
Cinematography by Mackie Galvez
Music by Malek Lopez
Performance and words by Lourd de Veyra

6 new winners given ANC film grants | 01/13/2010 6:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Local filmmakers will be given a chance to show the world their vision for the country this 2010 elections through ANC’s “Ambisyon 2010” film project.

“Ambisyon 2010” brings together 20 filmmakers, 14 of whom are already established names in Philippine cinema, with the aim of producing short films that tackle pressing national issues like poverty, population control, education, health, and others.

The 14 slots under the film project were allotted to Cannes awardees Brillante Mendoza and Raymond Red, Kiri Dalena, Ditsi Carolino, Jade Castro, Emmanuel Dela Cruz, Henry Frejas, mainstream directors Jeffrey Jeturian and Erik Matti, Ellen Ramos, Jerrold Tarog, John Torres and Paolo Villaluna.

Six other slots were left up for grabs to interested applicants.

Out of over 80 applicants who submitted their film ideas, the 6 finalists were chosen by a panel of judges composed of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs executive Maria Ressa, film critic Erwin Romulo and cinema figure Clodualdo del Mundo Jr.

ANC producers Patricia Evangelista and Villaluna, who came up with “Ambisyon 2010”, announced on Tuesday the names of 6 “newbie” filmmakers who won film grants under the project.

The winners include:

* Anna Matutina
* Pam Miras
* Aissa Peñafiel
* Emerson Reyes
* Gym Lumbera
* McRobert Nacario

Each grantee will receive P30,000– barely enough to make a 4 to 8 minute short film.

Villaluna says this means the film projects is more of an advocacy than a profit-generating activity for filmmakers.

‘Omnibus project’

Evangelista said the applicants were selected based on their film concepts and reels (a collection of their previous work).

Most of the winners had day jobs and professions unrelated to filmmaking.

Though many joined “Ambisyon 2010” on a lark, Evanglista said they found many artistic gems that showed the creators’ fresh perspectives on issues.

“McRobert Nacario, for example. He comes from Davao and is an indie filmmaker. From what I heard, his camera’s not fantastic but his eyes are superb,” she said. “So I think what we were looking for was really independent voices.”

Villaluna said they prized an applicant’s ability to tell a story through visual means.

“What we were looking for was their ability to tell a story more than the concept or the story itself. Apparently, the 6 are really good storytellers,” he said.

“You have to understand that these are very relevant times and people forget that cinema is one of the very importanty avenues for communication,” he added. “These are the better storytellers of our time. These storytellers have stories to tell. And what perfect venue than short films?”

In the end, Evangelista said they ended up with a “mixed bag” of filmmakers for the collaborative project.


Though a majority of the filmmakers under “Ambisyon 2010” are young, Villaluna said the message their short films will convey span all ages.

“It’s for anyone who wants to watch,” he said.

“Ambisyon 2010” aims to critique the country’s socio-political landscape, but at the same time tries to offer a message of hope and inspiration.

“There is that intention of inspiring the viewer to be part of the change that is supposed to happen. We want to be agents of that change,” Villaluna said.

Each filmmaker have their existing beliefs and advocacies, but were allowed to choose one of 10 national issues identified by the “Ambisyon 2010” producers.

The filmmakers ranked the top 3 issues that they claimed to be passionate about and, as Evangelista shared, each “got what they wanted.”

The participants are expected to send in their official short film reels at the end of February.

Clips of these films will be aired on ABS-CBN on March 7, along with interviews with the filmmakers. The films will also be screened at a red carpet premiere at the end of March.

The producers hope the films’ messages will resonate with the public all the way to May 2010. (


Space Philippines, A Living Conversation
The Katorse Writers’ Group is a group of young writer-filmmakers who were part of Ricky Lee’s 14th Scriptwriting Workshop. They aim to “address” the problem that “short films have remained the… consistently underrated medium that has never been given the exposure it demands. Even with the emerging popularity of independent films in the Philippines, short films are still seen as ‘front acts’ for full-length features or ‘sidebars’ at local film festivals.”

In the interview, spearhead Anna Isabelle Matutina has said of the group that “of course, our appoaches to film vary. Some of us have tried co-writing, but most of us would rather work alone (in the actual writing) because writing films can sometimes end friendships. Haha. Our group is made up of writer-directors, editor-directors, cinematographer-director, production designer-director. So you can just imagine how different our screenplays look like.”

“Despite this, whenever there is an ongoing project, we all do our best to help out and contribute. And because the group started through the Ricky Lee workshop, we have, in one way or another, imbibed the kind of group-writing/filmmaking process wherein we do brainstormings and pitches and grilling of each other’s works whenever we can – or whenever the filmmaker/director allows it.”

What would you say is the genius of the short film form? What can it accomplish with an elegance that full-length features can’t?

It has always been said that short films should not be compared to full-length features in terms of which one is the more inferior/superior form. For me, it always depends on the material. I’ve seen some full-length features that would have been better if they were done as short films (and vice versa).

But I’ve always believed in the power of the short format. I think it’s all about communicating, and those that communicate a truckload of ideas in the shortest time possible are the most brilliant works I’ve seen. Being a Ricky Lee workshopper, we were always told that a five-minute work should say an hour worth of ideas, or something like that.

Another reason why I prefer shorts to full-lengths is because I feel that it is more democratic. Since short films are less expensive to produce, the art form is not controlled by the priveleged few – and therefore, it is more representative of society.

The work of seven film makers were shown at Indie Sine one after another. Was there an organizing principle–or a suggestion of narrative–behind the sequencing of the films?

To be honest, there was really no formal discussion in the group about the lineup.

The 7 short films differ thematically and stylistically. The arrangement or sequencing of the films was mostly based on the heaviness/lightness of the material. We do recognize that it isn’t easy watching 7 short films in one sitting. That is why we more or less interchanged the heavy ones with the comedic/ lighter ones.

The Katorse Writers’ Group had a screening last 2006 in RoundEye Glass (which has closed down) to celebrate our four years as a group. Katorse became a pseudo-production house and we came up with so many shorts that it was about time we had a screening. Through this, we were able to raise funds to produce our DVD compilation and send the films to festivals abroad.

After 2 years, more films were produced, and with the opening of Indie Sine to short films, we figured that it would be a great opportunity to showcase new works so that we could raise funds for our next DVD compilation. Producing our own DVD compilations and putting up screenings are our way of promoting short films in the Philippines.

The line-up basically included 3 short films that will be included in the 2nd DVD compilation – as a teaser/promotion for the soon to come DVD – and 4 other short films that still lacked exposure, even though they were part of the 1st compilation. Most of these shorts were selected in both local and international festivals.

Godard argues that film is its own language, and tends to have a distaste for films that he calls “literary,” meaning those films that the theater or a novel or some other form can do well enough. How does the Katorse Writers Group approach film? What does the group collectively wish to achieve in film?

I have only read Godard (since he has the most overused name in film discussions) but I’ve never really seen any of his films, and I have not come across that specific argument. Most of us in Katorse didn’t have a formal film education, so forgive me if I fail to understand his argument.

In some ways, yes I do believe that those films that the theater or some other form can do well enough are somewhat inferior (if I understand the argument correctly). I would mostly blame the filmmaker for that – although you can’t really separate the filmmaker from the film. The film medium is totally different from the other forms of art, in the same way that dance is different from music, or a poem is different from a painting. It has a different set of parameters. Although a lot of novels turned to film are better as novels, I do feel that films offer something that novels cannot.

A lot of people mistake disloyalty to details of a novel as equivalent to a “bad” film. The quality of a film should not be based on the pre-existence of another art form. In fact, I don’t really like films that are “too loyal” or that try too hard to be “accurate” to the original source material. What happened to the filmmaker? Where is his/ her voice? The film must offer something more than what a 400-page novel offers.

If the point of the argument is originality, intertextual studies have already showed that even “the seemingly original story has its precursors, a fact that somehow reduces the absolute authority of the source text in an adaptation process…” (Literary Fil Adaptations as Film Texts, Arne Engelstad) Artists steal or borrow or whatever they want to call it. It is part of the creative process.

Collectively, the group wishes to promote the short film format. Since most of us had experiences in both local and international festivals, the difference in terms of treatment and recognition of shorts here and abroad is so apparent. Case in point, in light of the Philippines’ participation in Cannes recently, there was no mention in any of the press releases/write ups of Raymond Red’s short film, Anino, which won the Palme d’Or in 2000. That alone says a lot.

NOTE: In June of 2008, the Last year in June, they presented “Katorse Shorts” at Robinson’s Galleria Indie Sine. Films include: “Ang Kapalaran Ni Virgin Mario” by Ogi Sugatan, “Ambulancia” by Richard Legaspi, “Blood Bank” by Pam Miras, “Dead Letter” by Grace Orbon, “Ika-Siyam Na Palapag,” “Panaginipan,” “Puwang” and “Walong Linggo” by Anna Isabelle Matutina, “Lababo,” “Shorts” and “Pagbugtaw” by Seymour Sanchez, and “Manyika” by John Wong. The short films may now be viewed online.

Digital Films top Urian nominees

Inquirer Last updated 00:17am (Mla time) 07/06/2006
Published on Page A2-3 of the July 6, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

INDEPENDENT digital filmmakers dominated the list of nominees to the 29th Gawad Urian, handed out by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, pioneering society of film critics.

Competing for Best Picture are “Ala Verde Ala Pobre” (Muchachos Bravos Filmworks), “Big Time” (Arkeofilms), “Blue Moon” (Regal Films), “Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong” (Sampaybakod Productions), “La Visa Loca” (Unitel Films), and “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (ufo Films).

Save for “Blue Moon,” these nominees are made on digital film—transferred to celluloid for commercial release. Their summaries and other nominations:

“Ala Verde Ala Pobre,” about a slum couple living along Manila’s railroad tracks. Also nominated for Editing, Production Design. The film marks the return of avant-garde artist Briccio Santos, nominated for Best Director; Ana Capri, for Best Actress.

“Big Time,” about small-time criminals. Also nominated for Sound, Editing, Production Design, Screenplay, Direction; Michael de Mesa, for Best Supporting Actor; Jamie Wilson, for Best Actor.
“Blue Moon,” a nostalgic romance across generations. Also nominated for Sound, Music, Editing, Cinematography; Joel Lamangan, for Best Director; Boots Anson Roa and Jennylyn Mercado, for Best Supporting Actress; Dennis Trillo, for Best Actor.

“Kalimugtong,” poignant story of two Benguet orphans who traverse mountains and rivers to get to school everyday. Nominated for all categories, except Best Supporting Actor—Mes de Guzman for Director, Screenplay; Analyn Bangsi-il, for Best Actress; Rhenuel Ordono, for Best Actor; Hallen Sumingwa, for Best Supporting Actress.

“La Visa Loca,” a satire on the American dream. Also nominated for Music, Production Design, Screenplay; Johnny Delgado, for Best Supporting Actor; Robin Padilla, for Best Actor.

“Maximo Oliveros,” arguably the most successful digital feature last year. Also nominated for Music, Editing, Cinematography, Production Design, Screenplay, Direction; Soliman Cruz, Ping Medina, for Best Supporting Actor; Nathan Lopez, for Best Actor.

The awards ceremonies, set on Aug. 3, will be broadcast on Channel 9.

The Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino is chaired by Mike Rapatan of the Department of Communication of De la Salle University. The members are National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chair Nicanor Tiongson, broadcast personality Butch Francisco, Malaya editor and MTRCB member Mario Hernando, UP College of Mass Communication professor Gigi Alfonso, National University of Singapore lecturer Rolando Tolentino, and Inquirer arts and culture editor and UST professor Lito Zulueta.

The other nominees:

Best Screenplay: Mario Cornejo, Monster Jimenez, “Big Time”; Lee Meily, “La Visa Loca”; Michiko Yamamoto, “Maximo”; Shugo Praico, “Sa Aking Pagkagising Mula sa Kamulatan.”

Best Actor: Carlo Aquino, “Kamulatan”; Ricky Davao, “Pusang Gala”; Yul Servo, “Ilusyon.”

Best Actress: Irma Adlawan, “Sa North Diversion Road”; Claudine Barreto, “Nasaan Ka Man”; Ana Capri, “Ala Verde”; Jaclyn Jose, “Sarungbanggi”; Jaycee Parker, “Ilusyon”; Analyn Bangsi-il, “Kalimugtong”. Best Supporting Actor: Ketchup Eusebio, “Kamulatan.”

Best Supporting Actress: Joy Soler-de Castro, “Pepot Artista”; Gloria Diaz, Hilda Koronel, “Nasaan Ka Man.”

Best Production Design: Clint Catalan, Cristina Dy, Lily Esquillon, “Maximo”; Christina Dy, “Big Time”; Benjamin Padero, “Masahista”; Norman Regalado, “La Visa Loca”; Mes de Guzman, Noel Montano, “Kalimugtong”; Briccio Santos, Anil Rao, “Ala Verde.”

Best Cinematography: Albert Banzon, “Kalimugtong”; Odyssey Flores, “Ilusyon”; Nap Jamir, “Maximo”; Timmy Jimenez, Monchie Redoble, “Masahista”; Charlie Peralta, “Nasaan Ka Man”; Rolly Manuel, “Blue Moon”; Wowie Hao, Odyssey Flores, “Dilim.”

Best Editing: Mario Cornejo, Monster Jimenez, “Big Time”; Ellen Ramos, Paulo Villaluna, “Ilusyon”; Clarence Sison, “Maximo”; Marya Ignacio, “Blue Moon”; Abbas Tabas, Arasaw Kurabokov, “Kalimugtong”; Anil Rao, “Ala Verde”; Hector Macaso, Sunshine Matutina, “Dilim.”

Best Music: Vincent de Jesus, “La Visa Loca”; Pepe Smith, “Maximo”; GMA Records, “Mulawin, the Movie”; Von de Guzman, “Blue Moon”; Bernard “Nio” Manzano, “Kalimugtong.”

Best Sound: Raffy Magsaysay, “Big Time”; Addis Tabong, “Nasaan Ka Man”; Michael Idioma, “Blue Moon”; Bob Macabenta, “Kalimugtong”; Tris Suguitan, “Dilim.”