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 katorseshorts.wordpress.com.

Finally, A Dedicated Program of Shorts on the Big Screen

By: Rianne Hill Soriano | YEHEY! Contributors
1 July 2008 | 9:12 AM

A selection of 7 short films by the Katorse Writers Group (batch 14 workshoppers of Ricky Lee’s f scriptwriting workshops) graces Robinson’s Galleria’s Indie Sine with “Katorse Shorts,” a selection of 7 short films in a dedicated program normally given to full-length films only. With themes ranging from the romantic to the absurd to the tragic, the program is meant to bring to the consciousness of Filipino audiences that the short film medium is also a cinematic art form that can hold its own.

Overall, the films show strength in concept, story, and treatment amidst the many given limitations for such indie shorts having to cope up with financial and time constraints, lack of technical resources, among others.

The “Katorse Shorts” line-up include:

“Ang Kapalaran ni Virgin Mario” (11 mins.)
By: Ogi Sugatan
Cast: Yul Servo, Forsyth Cordero
Gay lovers, Mario and Jose, experience the most joyful of mysteries.
6th SHORTMOVES International Film Festival, GERMANY
Jakarta Slingshortfest (2006)
International Short Film Festival Detmold “FilmLichter06”

The film is stylized with comic acts about a pregnant male. It puts allegories catering to the kind of audience who are into the more figurative offers. With a theatrical presentation in depths of black, its visual elements merely include the characters and the significant elements supporting the scenes’ requirements. Considering the many kinds of audiences, this short film absurdly renders fleeting emotions within its minimalist surroundings that some might find interesting, some might find wackily droll, and some might find weird.

“Ambulancia” (15 mins)
By: Richard Legaspi
Cast: Alan Paule, Nor Domingo
Ambulancia tells of a painful twist in an ambulance driver’s belief that a dying patient can be saved by running over stray animals on the streets.
In Competition, International Panorama of Film and Video, Patras City Greece 2008
In Competition, NOUSSA International Film Festival, Greece 2008
Winner, Quisumbing Escandor Film Festival, Best Short Narrative 2008
Winner, Grand Prize, Viva-PBO Digitales, Philippines 2008
Official Selection, Asian Film Academy Fellows Night Screening, S. Korea 2007
Official Selection, CineManila International Film Festival 2007

The film’s screenplay is its major strength. Overall, the performances give it justice. The dialogues coincide with the tight pacing. The cuts succeed in building tension to the scenes requiring such. Trying to drive with that careful balance of keeping the twist while letting the main character indulge with the right emotions, a little more depth to how the character delivers the goods for a more solid pain and empathy to his plight, and this film elevates itself further.

“Manyika” (15 mins.)
By: John Wong
Cast: Bor Ocampo, Sheenly Vee Gener
Manyika is a tale of talking teddies, an impatient miss, and a misunderstood lover.
Best Short Film, 2006 Cinemadali Short Film Competition

The film could have been as mushy and overbearing like its stuff toys; and yet, it turns out striking – mainly come climax time. Within its realistic treatment, there is a kind of mystery established in the characterization that makes the film work. The voiceovers could have been lessened a bit and things would just be fine. There are some dragging expositions that could probably be due to limitations in the production. Nevertheless, the film’s touching end creates such an emotional slice of life story.

“Puwang” (25 mins)
By: Anna Isabelle Matutina
Cast: Elmo Redrico, Roence Santos, Bon Reyes, Lorena Landicho
Puwang is a starkly real look into a family on the verge of falling apart in the face of impending death.
2007 Official Selection: Lyon Asian Film Festival, France
2006 Finalist: Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival
2006 Exhibition Film: Cinemanila International Film Festival

As a father-to-his children story and vice-versa, this melodrama about life and living life promotes simple shots while delivering lines with the right emotional baggage at work. Its minimalist production design and cinematography blend well with the story as it carefully stitches issues that has damaged family relationships.

“Dead Letter” (20 mins)
By: Grace Orbon
Cast: Gamaliel Nicolas, Edel del Llarte
A young man’s journey into the world of writing.
In Competition, 3rd Singapore Short Film Festival 2006

Poetic on its own, there is that consistent angst expressed through words uttered by the main character. However, the film still needs further direction in order to solidify its point and effectively bring the linear and abstract aspects of its storytelling requirements effectively into the medium.

“Lababo” (17 mins)
By: Seymour Barros Sanchez
Cast: Nerissa Icot, Virnie Tolentino, Stephen Patrick Moore
Lababo is the story of a young woman and a crazy woman who both fell in love with the same American soldier.
Grand Prize, Viva’s PBO Digitales Short Film Competition 2007
In competition, 48th Bilbao Film Festival in Spain 2006
In exhibition, Internal Affairs 1, Jakarta Slingshortfest 2006
In exhibition, 8th Cinemanila International Film Festival 2006
In competition, 8th International Panorama of Independent Film and Video in Greece

Consistent with its style, the film’s progressive tone is apparent the whole time. Its supposed lines are merely supported by the talking radio announcer serving what voiceovers would normally offer – while also working as good metaphors on how the Philippines tend to seek leftovers from America in various respects. The narrative could have benefited further by utilizing more of the thoughts and emotions of the woman character inside the house waiting for her man’s return. And such could have further enhanced the emotional plunge into the many issues the film presents.

“Walong Linggo” (18 mins)
By: Anna Isabelle Matutina
Cast: Jaymee Joaquin, Joey Santos
A young man who sits alone in a cafe every Sunday morning suddenly finds himself strangely falling in love with a girl he doesn’t know.

The film’s treatment seems to be paying homage to the silent era films where the visuals and music comprise the totality of the film’s technical and audio-visual aspects. It puts the unspoken information through texts like title cards in the opening or closing credits of films of today. And the musical score plays a significant role in establishing the mood for each theme and the emotional needs of its love story.

Short film ‘Rights’ marked X by the MTCRB

Last updated 03:41pm (Mla time) 09/26/2007

RIGHTS is a collection of 30 second- to 2-minute advertisements showing and condemning extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other forms of human rights violations now widespread again in the Philippines.

As a response to the call of the victims and from various sectors to defend human rights, the films were contributed by various independent filmmakers, namely: 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 Sigfreid Sanchez.

But we got this letter on September 19, 2007:

Ms. Kristine M. Kintana
Representative, Phil. Independent Filmmakers Cooperative
21 Kamias Road, Quezon City

Dear Ms. Kintana,

This is to inform you that your short film entitled “RIGHTS” was reviewed by the Board on September 18, 2007 and was classified “X”. Not for Public Exhibition, for the following reasons:

“Scenes in the film are presented unfairly, one-sided and undermines the faith and confidence of the government and duly constituted authorities, thus, not for public exhibition.”

You may appeal for a second review within five (5) days from receipt of this notice.

Very truly yours,
Chairman, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board

The MTRCB’s X rating on RIGHTS – a series of public service
advertisements on human rights – is a form of violation of freedom of
expression, validating the filmmakers’ opinion on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

The X rating on RIGHTS is not only an X mark for artist to express views and sentiments freely. Sadly, the MTRCB’s action is an X mark for the thousands of victims of human rights violations that cry for justice.

Despite the censorship, we, from The Southern Tagalog Exposure and the Free Jonas Burgos Movement will continue to reproduce and distribute copies of RIGHTS and will hold a series of public screenings for the benefit of the people’s right to know.

We pushed through the event entitled SHOOTING DISQUIET AND RAGE: Transgression and Transformation in Philippine Cinema
after the First Quarter Storm on September 21, 2007, Indie Sine, Cinema 3, where RIGHTS was originally set for launching.

We have also protested the censorship of the MTRCB in a press conference. This repression of freedom of expression and worsening human rights situation only gives us more reason to produce more films and actively participate in the struggle for justice and peace.

Watch the complete “RIGHTS” public service advertisement at: http://www.youtube.com/isabellematutina

If you want your name and organization to be counted as signatories of the unity/protest statement against the said decision, e-mail us at freejonasburgosmovement@yahoo.com

Anna Isabelle Matutina
Coordinator/Filmmaker, RIGHTS Filmmakers initiative
Victor Tagaro, Overall Coordinator/Filmmaker
Free Jonas Burgos Movement

Rated X: MTRCB bans HR films

The Philippine Star

Filmmakers are up in arms against the latest decision of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), stopping the commercial showing of independently produced short films on human rights in the country and rating them “X.”

On Sept. 18, the MTRCB reviewed the 30-second to one-minute films, which tackle unexplained killings and enforced disappearances involving activists and journalists, among others.

The following day, the board informed the Philippine Independent Filmmakers Cooperative (PIFC) that the short films were rated “X”, which means they are unfit for public viewing.

“Scenes in this film are presented unfairly, one-sided, and undermine the faith and confidence of the government and duly constituted authorities, thus, not fit for public exhibition,” explained MTRCB chairman Ma. Consoliza Laguardia, in a letter addressed to Kristine Kintana, representative of the PIFC, dated Sept. 19.

The 13 short films contain excerpts from news video footage from the era of martial law, the killing of former Sen. Ninoy Aquino, and demonstrations during the Marcos administration, up to the killings of militant leaders, and the abduction of others, including Jonas Burgos.

The 13 short films titled “RIGHTS” were supposed to be shown yesterday at the Indie Sine cinema in a mall in Ortigas Center, in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of martial law and International Day of Peace.

Although the launching of the short films pushed through Friday afternoon, their public viewing was halted due to the MTRCB ruling issued on Sept. 19.

“We were shocked by the decision of the MTRCB,” noted Sunshine Matutina, one of the independent filmmakers who contributed a public service advertisement (PSA), which forms part of the awareness campaign of the Free Jonas Burgos Movement (FJBM).

“These series (of short films) are valid sentiments of filmmakers, we should not be repressed.  These short films are reflections of what we are seeing around us, of what is happening (in the society) right now,” she also said.

The PIFC submitted “RIGHTS” for review by the MTRCB two weeks ago, since it is supposed to be launched and shown commercially in a cinema.

Jose Luis Burgos, younger brother of Jonas, an activist/agriculturist believed abducted by alleged government agents and missing since April 28, expressed disappointment over the MTRCB ruling, saying it stifles the freedom of speech and expression.

Local human rights watchdog Karapatan called the MTRCB ruling “prior restraint” as it is also a violation of people’s right to information.

Burgos lamented that though his family has sought help from the different institutions of the government, they have yet to be enlightened over the sudden disappearance of Jonas.

He pointed out that almost five months after Jonas disappeared, the CHR has yet to release its findings on the case; the PNP seems to be not even vigorously investigating the matter; and the AFP has yet to release its Provost Marshall report, which the family believes could shed light on the disappearance of the 37-year-old Jonas.

“And now the MTRCB is telling us that scenes in RIGHTS are unfair, one-sided, and undermine the faith and confidence of the people in their government and/or duly constituted authorities?” he asked.

Burgos said they would file a motion for reconsideration before the MTRCB, and hope that the board would change its mind regarding its classification of the human rights advocacy plugs.

The MTRCB gave the petitioner five days to file their appeal for a second review.

Multi-awarded filmmaker Carlitos Siguion-Reyna of the Directors Guild of the Philippines Inc. (DGPI) and Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) said the MTRCB decision against the showing of the “RIGHTS” is indicative of “an abusive law”.

“We also denounce this latest decision by the MTRCB because the Board should supposedly only classify and not censor films.”

According to the filmmaker, a PSA is “simply a personal editorial” that is no different from editorials in the newspapers.  He also said that a PSA is a legitimate medium to air grievances, which should be allowed by the government.

Julie Po, board member of the CAP, likewise criticized the MTRCB for it decision against “RIGHTS”, noting the Board could have been using the wrong reason for issuing an “X” rating for the short films-cum-advocacy plugs.

She stressed that the MTRCB should realize that a film is always one-sided because a film is a reflection of an artist’s conviction about a certain topic.

Filmmakers slam review board’s X-rating for ‘Rights’ film

Media group joins condemnation of ‘censorship’

By Jeannette Andrade
Inquirer, INQUIRER.net
Last updated 07:52pm (Mla time) 09/21/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Two men struggle through tall grass, running away. The unseen man with the camera, trailing the other in red, prods: “Takbo, Juan. Takbo [Run, Juan. Run]!”

They run to a clearing, gunshots ring out. Juan falls on the ground. The unseen companion desperately shouts: “Huwag kayo magpaputok [Don’t shoot]!” as he runs towards his fallen comrade.

Again gunshots, and the unseen cameraman falls. His last vision, Juan’s red shirt before the screen blackens and is replaced by the glaring words: “Stop the killing of activists and journalists.”

A crooning Jose Maria Sison, featured on a skewed screen, and the message that everything depends on how people perceive things. Flashes of torture and other forms of human rights violations committed by persons in authority.

All these earned 13 independent filmmakers an X-rating from the Movie, Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) for their collection dubbed, “Rights” with the short film creators insisting that they were simply presenting facts that do not deserve censorship.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) joined its voice to the filmmakers’ in condemning the MTRCB’s “move to censor” the short films , with secretary general Rowena Paraan urging “our friends in media two protest this violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to free expression.”

Among the banned shorts, said Paraan, is “The Good News,” which is about press freedom.

Acclaimed director Carlito Siguion-Reyna on Friday expressed support for the independent film makers, calling for the amendment of the law creating the MTRCB, Presidential Decree 1986, which he claimed is a remnant of martial law.

“X is simply censorship. They are hiding behind the semantics of classification,” Siguion-Reyna said of the MTRCB.

“There are no visible acts of violence. They are all criticism of government policy. This is a form of legitimate airing of grievances. They [independent filmmakers] should be given the same space as any editorial in the newspaper,” he pointed out.

Independent film maker Sunshine Matutina said: “Our attempts to effect change should not be curtailed. The MTRCB is preventing us from expressing artistically how we feel about the situation. It is wrong that there is this body who can tell people that it [a film] is not for public viewing.”

Jaymee stars in new short film ‘Walong Linggo’

Source: Journal Online

Games Uplate Live host Jaymee Joaquin pairs up with Joey Santos in Anna Isabelle Matutina’s latest short film, “Walong Linggo (Eight Sundays).”

Santos plays the loner who enjoys spending Sunday mornings at a small cafe until a young woman, played by Joaquin, starts disrupting his quiet solitude. With the nostalgia of silent movies, the film traces how one man finds himself falling in love with a woman he doesn’t know. Their Sunday meetings are punctuated with Tanaga verses by Benilda Santos, Grace Orbon, Jess Santiago, Risa Jopson, Jules Katanyag, Joanne Tan, Abet Umil and Bien Lumbera, while first-time musical scorer, Caloy Diaz, narrates the melodious yearnings of undeclared love.

Aside from her GUL hosting chores, Joaquin also currently stars as the friend of Roxanne Guinoo’s character Lea in ABS-CBN’s daily afternoon drama “Ligaw na Bulaklak.”

“Walong Linggo”  is Matutina’s 4th short film and her first attempt in the romance genre. It will have a week-long run at Robinsons Galleria Indie Sine from June 11 to 17 under the program Katorse Shorts.

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.