Back to back screening at the Cinemalaya Film Festival 2012

IMIK by Anna Isabelle Matutina and TUKSO by Raz dela Torre will have its Philippine premiere at the Cinemalaya film festival on July 28, 2012, 9:00 pm, CCP Dream Theater.

IMIK synopsis

Imik is the story of Claire – wife to a loving husband, mother to two lovely kids, and she has never had an orgasm. Embarrassment, guilt, and a fear of her own desires have made her sexual relationship with her husband a constant struggle. These days, Claire’s only relief is being back in the workforce after having been a housewife for years.

Until one day, Claire suddenly finds herself pregnant again.

Coupled with her unfulfilled desires as a woman, Claire’s fear of going back to the life she had before leads her to desperately find a moment of freedom from the role she cannot escape.

Cast: Mercedes Cabral, Paolo Rodriguez, Monique Obligacion, Zernan Mataya, Rose Galvez, Cris Sto. Domingo, Luigi Alvaro Matutina, Joaquin Mistral Haravata

Watch the trailer

TUKSO synopsis

All her life, Mayette believed that sex should only happen within marriage. However, try as she might, she never succeeded in pushing it out of her mind. Especially when she looks around, everyone seems to be doing ‘it’ – her friends, her colleagues, even her juvenile students. Everyone… except her.

When a recent spate of teenage pregnancies alarms the principal of the public high school where Mayette teaches Biology, she is tasked to incorporate sex education into her lesson. The problem is, at 32, Mayette is still a virgin.

How on earth can she teach her students about sex when she herself has never been with a man?

Cast: Ethel Pantino, Joem Bascon, Maricar de Mesa, John Manalo, Debraliz, Allan Paule, rose Nadalusan, Amante Pulido, Mary Anne dela Torre

Watch behind-the-scenes clips

Katorse Shorts special screening at the CCP Little Theater

1 July 2008 | 7:41 AM

Due to insistent public demand, the Katorse Writers Group, a collective of young writer-filmmakers who were part of Ricky Lee’s 14th scriptwriting workshop, will be having another special screening of their short films at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Little Theater on July 17, 6:15 P.M. after a successful run last month at Robinsons Galleria.

Katorse Shorts, as they are more commonly known, showcase short films with themes ranging from the romantic to the absurd to the tragic – a program that is meant to bring to the consciousness of the Filipino audience the short film as a form that can hold its own.

Headlining the program, which is part of the fourth Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, is Richard Legaspi’s “Ambulancia” (Ambulance), grand prize winner of the Viva – Pinoy Box Office (PBO) Digitales 2 short film competition and the best short narrative at the first Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival for Health. It was previously screened in competition at the fifth Naoussa International Film Festival in Greece this year and exhibited at the Asian Film Academy 2007 Fellows Night in South Korea and ninth Cinemanila International Film Festival last year. It will compete next at the 10th International Panorama of Film and Video in Patras City, Greece and at the 32nd Open Air Filmfest Weiterstadt in Germany and will be shown in the Informative Section of the Pyongyang International Film Festival in North Korea.

Showing again with Legaspi’s film are similar award-winning and internationally screened shorts such as Ogi Sugatan’s “Ang Kapalaran ni Virgin Mario” (The Fate of Virgin Mario), Grace Orbon’s “Dead Letter,” Seymour Barros Sanchez’s “Lababo” (Kitchen Sink), John Wong’s “Manyika” (Doll), and Anna Isabelle Matutina’s “Walong Linggo” (Eight Sundays).

However, compared to its week-long Indie Sine screenings, the line-up will include two new selections from the group, Matutina’s “Ika-siyam na Palapag” (Ninth Floor) and Sanchez’s “Pagbugtaw” (Waking Up), which is part of “Guimaras: Short Films on the Oil Spill.”

“Ika-siyam na Palapag” tells the story of a young woman’s futile attempt to reach the father of his unborn child while she wrestles with the idea of abortion. It won third best short film at the 19th Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Bidyo and also competed at the Creteil International Women’s Film Festival in France and Malescorto International Short Film Festival in Italy. It was also exhibited at the Jakarta Slingshort Festival in Indonesia and 7th Cinemanila.

Matutina’s “Puwang” (Space Between), which was originally part of the Robinsons Galleria Indie Sine line-up, will be screened instead as part of the Cinemalaya 2006 Shorts B on July 18, 12:45 P.M. at the CCP Silangan Hall. In addition, other Katorse short films, namely “Blood Bank” by Pam Miras and “Panaginipan” (The Dreaming), also by Matutina, will be shown on July 16, 12:45 P.M. at the same venue as part of Cinemalaya 2005 Shorts.

Tickets to the screenings cost P50 to students and P100 otherwise. For more information about the short films and the filmmakers, please visit the group’s website at

Honor Roll

By Transit Contributor
Text by Joselito Acosta
Research by Laura Nerissa Parungao

Just as eulogies for the death of Philippine Cinema are being recited, a thriving subculture called “indie” emerged in 2005. By 2007, the term has become a popular byword. Indeed, the year had seen a lot of bustling energy in the Philippine independent film scene as it garnered a long list of awards.


The world premiere of Brillante Mendoza’s Foster Child at the Directors’ Fortnight section of the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival was one of the highlights of the year. Mendoza is the fourth Filipino director to be featured in the section, following film icons Mario O’ Hara (Babae sa Breakwater, 2004), Mike de Leon (Batch ’81 and Kisapmata, 1982), and Lino Brocka (Insiang, 1978 and Bona, 1989). Foster Child also won citations, including a Best Actress Award for Cherry Pie Picache at the Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival in India.

Auraeus Solito followed his success with Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros via another award-winning hit, the 2005 Cinemanila Digital Lokal Best Picture Tuli. The film earned another invite for Solito at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Utah and the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Award from the Berlin International Film Festival.

Last but most definitely not least is Lav Diaz’ presence at the Venice International Film Festival. There, he was awarded the Special Mention Prize for his nine-
hour film Kagadana sa Banwaan ning mga Engkanto (Death in the Land of Encantos), which was part of the Orizzonti documentary section.

“Long live Philippine Cinema!” Diaz proudly heralded while accepting the award. In the indie scene perhaps nobody is as uncompromising as Diaz whose time-defying films remain largely unknown and unscreened in his own country. Notwithstanding, he does believe that there are different concepts of viewing now.

“Maybe it will take 50 more years for them [the Filipino audience] to see that all the crazy things we are doing are not really madness, but it is for them, for the culture,” he told film critic and UP Film Institute professor Tilman Baumgärtel. “We are not rushing. It will happen. Culture is growing. So if you make good cinema, you help culture to grow. If you make bad cinema, you demolish culture. It is very true. If you create good things, you reap good things. But in the meanwhile, you don’t have money.”

In his second feature film, 23-year-old Raya Martin recreates the story that had lead to the execution of brother Andres and Procopio Bonifacio. Martin, the first Filipino to be granted a scholarship at the Cinéfondation Program in Cannes, won the Best Director Award for Digital Lokal at the 2007 Cinemanila International Film Festival. The film also won the Special Mention Prize at the Marseille Film Festival, where Sherad Anthony Sanchez—another director in his early 20s—earned the First Film Award for Ang Huling Balyan ng Buhi, a project produced from the 2006 Cinema One Originals grant.

Fresh from bagging prizes such as the Best Picture Award at the 2007 Cinemalaya Film Festival and Best Ensemble Acting at this year’s Cinemanila International Film Festival, Jim Libiran’s Tribu was well received at the Pusan International Film Festival where it competed in the New Currents category, a division of the festival specifically for young filmmakers. It also got a favorable review from Variety. Critic Richard Kuipers hailed it as “utterly and tragically convincing” and “has the raw power to make its own distinct mark.”

Meanwhile, the short film circuit continues to flourish. More filmmakers are now enamored with the medium and the audience now progressively has a grasp of what the medium is. In the last quarter of 2007, the short film Rights made headlines when the Movie and Television Ratings and Classification Board (MTRCB) initially gave it an “X” rating. Rights is a collection of 30-second to two-minute advertisements showing and condemning extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other forms of human rights violations in the country. Participating in the project were independent filmmakers Paolo Villaluna, Kiri Dalena, King Catoy, Anna Isabelle Matutina, Pam Miras, JL Burgos, Nino Tagaro, Sigrid Bernardo, Mike Dagnalan, John Torres, Jon Red, RJ Mabilin And Sigried Barros-Sanchez. The filmmakers held a press conference condemning the rating and decided to continue with the reproduction and distribution of the movie. Finally, MTRCB amended its initial review and gave the film an “R-13” rating after the Board met with the filmmakers.


The year opened with the Bagong Agos Film Festival featuring the best and most talked about independent films from the previous year. The Festival, founded by the newly-formed Independent Filmmakers Cooperative, also formally opened IndieSine, an alternative cinema in Robinson’s Galleria that would be home to independent films on a regular basis. So far, it has provided a venue for internationally-acclaimed features such as Jeffrey Jeturian’s Kubrador, Sherad Anthony Sanchez’s Ang Huling Balyan ng Buhi, Brillante Mendoza’s Kaleldo and Manoro, Connie Macatuno’s Rome and Juliet and John Torres’s Todo Todo Teros.

In addition, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has began to play a more active role in helping independent filmmakers. One of its major projects for the year was joining the Asian International Film Market held in Pusan International Film Festival where they find a buyer for the distribution rights of films. Foster Child has been picked by Picadillo Pictures from the UK and by Ad Vitam from France. Tirador, another Mendoza film, is set for an international release in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxemburg via Swift Distribution.

Most notably, 2007 saw the participation of some of the big names in mainstream cinema in independent productions. Topping the list is Seiko Films producer Robbie Tan’s shift from being—in the words of Juaniyo Arcellana—the “padrino of “ST” films in the 90s to an advocate of independent cinema.” Tan bankrolled Mendoza’s Foster Child and is now part of the selection and organizing committee of Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. Likewise, showbiz personalities Piolo Pascual and Diether Ocampo dipped their fingers in the indie pool. Pascual starred in Cathy Camarillo’s directorial debut Chopsuey while Ocampo joined the ensemble cast of Rahyan Carlos’ experimental drama Pi7ong Tagpo.

Indeed, indie is in.

But as everyone rides into the bandwagon, the essence of what an “indie” is supposed to be is taken for granted.
By definition, an “indie” film, short for independent, is one that is done outside of the studio system, an unfettered mode of production that does not rely with the money from the studios.

According to Tikoy Aguiluz, founder of the Independent Cinema Association of the Philippines (ICAP) and festival director of Cinemanila, the present filmmakers have to unite together and show studios, media conglomerates and policy makers that they are stronger than these forces rather than blabber and proclaim themselves the so-called “indie” and one has to be an “indie” all throughout. Indie, after all, is a Western concept and it means an alternative to mainstream Hollywood cinema. “More importantly,” stressed Aguiluz, “the movement was against the monolithic power of the Hollywood studio system.

“It should not be a fad and send the wrong signals,” he continued. “The bottomline for an indie filmmaker is to be heard and understood by the outside forces. But one has to earn his own stripes and at the end of the days it is about making a good film.”



Raymond Lee, producer and one of the co-founders of ufo Pictures observed that the current independent film scene, while getting some help from every concerned sector, is still not generating a support enough to survive. Maraming filmmakers ngayon who thrive outside the studio system, doing their own stuff the way they want to do it. Dumarami na rin ang mga nag-invest o interesado mag-invest sa indie films,” he said. “In terms of helping indie films reach a wider local audience, wala. Kanya-kanyang banat, pahirapan.”

“Kaya usually, low budget because budget is often inversely proportional to creative freedom and integrity,” he continued. “Habang lumalaki ang budget, tumataas ang expectations ng investors or financiers, tumitindi ang pressure na ma-recoup ang ginastos sa pelikula, lumalaki ang chance na mag-give in ang original vision sa so-called commercial concessions. Unti-unti sa umpisa hanggang palaki na nang palaki habang tumatagal at lumalaki rin ang gastos.”

In the end, as Lee stressed, independent cinema is of “severely limiting notions of what makes a film commercial or accessible to a mass audience.”

“May publicity, definitely. Dahil sa support ng media, lalo na sa print. May mga production and post-production grants like sa NCCA and travel grants for filmmakers invited to foreign festivals, like sa FDCP.” But yet it is still not enough to be able to sustain the kind of cinema.
“Government recognition still has some way to go,” Lee concluded.

Posted on 23 January 2008 at 8:00 am

Cinemalaya short films to be shown on Mindanao film fest

Sun Star Davao
November 26, 2005

A TOTAL of six short film entries to the recent Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival will be exhibited during the upcoming Mindanao Film Festival slated this coming December 4-11 at the Gaisano Mall cinemas.

The showing of the six shorts that were produced, written and directed by promising independent filmmakers from all over the country is one of the highlights of the first ever-movie festival held in Mindanao.

“The Cinemalaya films serve as an inspiration to promising filmmakers here in Mindanao, these well-crafted films produced at a low cost will show to us that we can make quality films by putting a premium on ingenuity and creativity rather than relying on large budgets,” Lou Raphael Cañedo, organizer of the Mindanao film fest said.

The short films are:

By Joel Ruiz

Winner of the Best Short film in the Cinemalaya Film festival; The film’s plot revolves around Dolores, a housemaid and her husband Ambo, a gardener who were hired to take care of a mansion while its owners are on a long vacation. Uneventful weeks go by until a small accident sparks a series of discoveries between the couple.

By Anna Isabelle J. Matutina

A story about two young deeply disturbed women struggling to find an end to the pointlessness of life, After unsuccessful suicide attempts, they discover a fool proof way to end it all- that is to consciously stop breathing.

Blood Bank
By Pamela Miras

Story of three people and the uncanny ties that bonds them; DES who suffers from aplastic anemia who receives weekly blood transfusion in a blood bank where EMMA works as a med tech. And CLETO a notorious robber who transforms into a weekly blood donor after he mugs Des, his way of making up for the crime he has done to her and to others before her. The ties that bind the three are soon strained with their respective wants going against their dependency on each other, until a discovery forces the advent of a catalyst that will break the connection.

By Milo Tolentino

Inside a dark room, a man commits a murder. An act of madness that left him emotionally crippled with guilt and paranoia. The man struggles to hide his crime and cleanse himself with water. But it seems the corpse has its own agenda, haunting him again and again. The films shows a struggle of a murderer hopelessly trying to atone himself of his sin of violence but to no avail.

By Sigrid Andrea Bernardo

Winner for Best Direction, BABAE is a coming of age story of two women who grew up together in a slum community along the railroad tracks. A mixture of drama, comedy, musical and fantasy that would surely touch the Pinoy heart in you.

By Lawrence Fajardo

Winner of the Philippine Star Special Jury Prize. The story of a young vegetable vendor who seeks vengeance against a meat butcher who is also a leader of a gang of butchers- cum- bribe collectors. Beaten several times by the gang leader as he continually picks fights with his unbeatable foe. Until one day the leader hurts his younger brother. The young vegetable vendor promises vengeance and practices hard for the fight. The task may be difficult but he is willing to kill and be killed in the fight of his life.

TV Editor Makes Dream Come True

Sun Star Manila, July 13 2005

When Anna Isabelle “Sunshine” Matutina, a freelance editor for TV shows and digital films, completed the final cut of “Panaginipan” (The Dreaming) after graduating from the Mowelfund Film Institute last year, she heaved a sigh of relief that she finally has a short film that she can call her own. However, when her directorial debut made it as a finalist in the short film category of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2005, she was doubly ecstatic.

In “Panaginipan,” two young, deeply disturbed women meet and discover a different kind of bond despite their contrasting personalities. Mona, despite her seemingly calm and controlled façade, has already reached a point in her life wherein she can no longer hope that life will ever get better. Sara, on the other hand, wishes to escape the constant and pointless pain of her uncontrollable need to fall in love.

Both women have already attempted several times to kill themselves, seeing that death is their only escape from this repetitive suffering of the human soul. After exhausting all means of suicide, they discover a foolproof way to end it all – that is, to consciously decide to stop breathing. “Panaginipan” is Matutina’s first digital short, which she wrote, directed, and edited.

Matutina edited soap operas for ABS-CBN for two years before resigning to devote more time to the local independent filmmaking scene. Aside from “Panaginipan,” the TV/film editor has also completed “Ikasiyam na Palapag” (Ninth Floor), her second work which was screened at the 12th Pelikula at Lipunan in SM Megamall last February. A broadcast communication graduate from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, she seriously began thinking about directing her own films when she joined Ricky Lee’s 14th scriptwriting workshop three years ago.

At present, she also counts Ogi Sugatan’s “Ang Kapalaran ni Virgin Mario” (The Fate of Virgin Mario), Khavn De La Cruz’s “Lata at Tsinelas” (Can and Slippers) which competed at the Berlinale and “Ang Pamilyang Kumakain ng Lupa” (The Family That Eats Soil) shown at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rica Arevalo’s “ICU Bed #7” which is a finalist of the Cinemalaya full-length feature category, Pam Miras’ “Blood Bank,” her co-finalist in the shorts category, and Jon Red’s “Anak ng Tinapa” and Topel Lee’s “Dilim,” both of which will be shown at the Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival 2005, among her editing portfolio.

“Panaginipan” is a Kill the Chicken Cinema presentation and a Core24 production starring Marie Ronquillo and Regina Estrada. Supporting Matutina in her first-time attempt at filmmaking is cinematographer Sugatan, musical scorer Pinky Aunaryo, and co-producer EJ Salcedo.

Puwang Write-Up

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
–Leo Tolstoy

“Puwang” offers an poignant and starkly real look into a family on the verge of falling apart in the face of impending death.

Talented indie actors give life to film’s uncommon yet familiar characters. Roence Santos plays Arlene, the eldest daughter who has been working too hard in caring for her bedridden father and keeping both her families together. She is unable to disguise her resentment toward her absent brother Angelo, played by Bon Reyes. Lorena Landicho plays the youngest sister Anne, fearful not only of her father’s death but also for the future of the child she will give birth to. Elmo Redrico delivers a brilliant portrayal of the invalid father.Penned, directed, and edited by Anna Isabelle Matutina, “Puwang” is her third film and the second one to be a finalist in the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.

Known to her peers as Sunshine, this 27-year old works a freelance film and TV editor slowly making a name for herself in the Philippine Independent film scene. Her previous short film “Ika-9 na Palapag” was the only Filipino film in the recent Creteil Women’s Film Festival in France. She has also edited award winning works like “Lata at Tsinelas” and “Ang Pamilyang Kumakain ng Lupa” by Khavn de la Cruz, “ICU Bed #7” by Rica Arevalo, “Blood Bank” by Pam Miras, and “Anak ng Tinapa” by Jon Red, among others.

“Puwang” is told with the grit of realism in Richard Legaspi’s production design in contrast with the muted clean elegance of Alma de la Pena and Wowie Hao’s cinematography. The music of Lionel Valdellon provides the backdrop of this taciturn short.

This film is the first production of Digital Cheese in cooperation with Red Room Productions, makers of the Katorse short film compilation DVD, and Brass Knuckles, Inc., long time producers of several digital films and music videos.

– written by Pam Miras (July 13, 2006)

Puwang (Space Between)

Official Selection: Lyon Asian Film Festival 2007 (France)
Finalist: Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2006
In Exhibition: Cinemanila International Film Festival 2006


Short Narrative 2006 / Colour / 25 min / Philippines


After a mysterious falling out with his father five years ago, Angelo, the favorite son, has not shown his face to the family. Arlene, being the eldest and the least favorite, took upon herself the demanding task of taking care of their very sick father even while she tends to her own husband and children. Anne, the youngest, is single and pregnant with no one to turn to except her older sister. When the father is finally confined in the hospital for two weeks, his relentless requests to see his long lost son, Angelo’s stubbornness and supposed disregard for their father’s welfare, and Anne’s constant need for attention start to bear down on Arlene, leaving her weak, weary and very much alone.

Cinematography: WOWIE HAO and ALMA DELA PEṄA
Production Design: RICHARD LEGASPI


2007 Official Selection: Lyon Asian Film Festival, France
2006 Finalist: Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival
2006 Exhibition Film: Cinemanila International Film Festival

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