Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

- The 12 year of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival was applauded for its ability to showcase excellent independent films

- The films included in the festival were commended for their plots, cinematography, but most of all the mainstream and indie artists that graced these motion pictures

- It ended on August 14 with critics providing everyone a reason to find a way to catch these films

The 12th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival took their advertising a little further than they usually do. You might have seen their promotion video that starred Edu Manzano and other fictional characters, which dropped blows on mainstream shows airing on television. Although it did gain some criticisms, all of those were forgotten when good reviews started pouring on.

As expected, the film festival showcased cinematic works by independent Filipino filmmakers with its theme ‘Break the Surface’ for this year.

Sadly, the film festival ended today. However, it’s ordinary for these films to be shown in different venues so you can still have the chance to watch it. These can be shown in malls, university tours, or special screenings.

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Here are the 9 full-length films everyone raved about and why you ought to expect to be doing the same thing after seeing them!

1. Kusina by Cenon Obispo Palomares and David Corpuz

The story revolves around Juanita, played by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo. Amid serving delectable dishes, she is also in a journey to nourish her personal life and get past through her struggles.

Why should you watch it? As expected, Judy Ann delivered a touching portrayal which depicted the woes of women being trapped in traditional roles and expectations – one of the many things this movie aimed to deliver to its audience. The filming techniques were also commended for its minimalism and luxuriousness at the same time.

Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

Judy Ann’s involvement in the film was also the reason why this movie was awaited by a lot of fans. (Photo credit: Cinemalaya)

2. Ang Bagong Pamilya ni Ponching by Inna Miren Acuña

‘Ponching’ is a man who commits petty crimes in order to survive but eventually got himself into a bigger story when a family mistakes him for the bastard child of their dead relative, when he is just really scamming them through text messages.

Why should you watch it? The viewers were reminded beforehand by critics that the movie wasn’t as polished as commercial films. But whatever they lack in visuals, they compromised with the light-heartedness of the film while also appreciating the family values instilled on it.

Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

The film mainly focused on comedy and dramatic family scenes. (Photo credit: Cinemalaya)

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3. Dagsin by Atom Magadia

Justino has experienced every horrible situation you can think of. He survived the Death March, Martial Law, and the worst was the loss of his legs. After realizing that he wishes to be with his dead wife already, he starts going through her old diary – only to be shocked with the secrets he unraveled.

Why should you watch it? If you’re a fan of period films, then this is the right movie for you. It travels back and forth in Justino’s present life and his past. Considered as a dark film given Justino’s experiences, it didn’t fail in making everyone realize the importance of appreciating our loved ones while they’re still with us.

Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

GMA actors Benjamin Alves and Janine Gutierrez played the roles of Justino and his late wife. (Photo credit: Cinemalaya)

4. Hiblang Abo by Ralston Javier

Four old men’s dark stories are narrated as they all reside in one room in a hospice facility or home for the aged. They were all civil until their dark secrets were shared to each other later on.

Why should you watch it? More than watching a film, one would feel like you’re viewing a theatrical play and there’s a perfect reason for that. The film was a play written in 1980 by Rene O. Villanueva. In addition, instead of expecting an inspirational movie of people with the same situation consoling each other, this was dark and thought provoking.

Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

This film will make you wonder; “Will I share the same fate as these men when I get old?” (Photo credit: Cinemalaya)

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5. I America by Ivan Andrew Payawal

A soul searching lead is often the start of an amazing narrative and that’s what Bella Padilla has brought to life in this motion picture. In her quest to find the American dream in Olongapo City, she stumbles upon something she didn’t expect.

Why should you watch it? The critics have some parts of the film that they found shaky or not well established, but Padilla did shine in the movie. Even with a miss, the final scene of the movie was recommended by a lot of people. 

Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

Dubbed as Padilla’s best role yet, more promising projects are coming for this actress. (Photo credit: Cinemalaya)

6. Lando at Bugoy by Vic Acedillo, Jr.

‘Lando at Bugoy’ was something that was shown numerous times. However, the film decided to present it in angle that was never seen before. Lando is a high school dropout who goes back to school to accompany his delinquent son, Bugoy.

Why should you watch it? This story hits closer to home after knowing this was based on a true story. The leading role was a Camiguin teacher who tried to be a father to his distant son. This film aimed at the joys and sorrow of a father-and-son story. It was often rebellious but mostly touching.

Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

The father-and-son’s story may be unconventional but inspiring nonetheless. (Photo credit: Cinemalaya)

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7. Mercury Is Mine by Jason Paul Laxamana

Carmen is about to close down her eatery when suddenly, a teenager with American features appears out of nowhere and asks for her help. In return, he works and saves Carmen’s livelihood.

Why should you watch it? Perhaps, this is one of the festival’s box-office hit. Its lead stars are familiar names and from the trailer alone, dark comedy was offered to everyone. Together with Bret Jackson, Pokwang was applauded for her genuine acting and unexpected chemistry with Bret. From what we’ve heard, this is the film closest to a commercial release.

Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

Though created by independent film makers, fans were raving for this film to be released commercially. (Photo credit: Cinemalaya)

8. Pamilya Ordinaryo by Eduardo Roy, Jr.

Jane and Aries are teenage parents who steal in the streets for a living. Their world was turned upside down when their own child gets stolen from them.

Why should you watch it?  This movie was critically acclaimed for its rawness. The cinematography and narration were told in a realistic setting which made people forget they’re actually watching actors and not a struggling couple being documented. For those who don’t know and are looking for this information, this is the movie where Coco Martin’s brother was included.

Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

The independent film was celebrated for its rawness and its actors. (Photo credit: Cinemalaya)

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9. Tuos by Derick Cabrido

A well-respected woman in her tribe was torn between convincing her granddaughter to keep the tradition or letting her live a different life from hers; one that is not confined.

Why should you watch it? Nora Aunor, enough said. The brilliant actress can carry a film all on her own but for her to be included in a film where richness in cultures clashed, it was a sure hit. What came as a surprise for viewers was Barbie Forteza who played as her grandchild. Some people even believe that the young actress should be nominated for the ‘Best Actress’ category.

Critics praise improving Cinemalaya Film Festival

Not only for its lead actresses, every little detail made this film work. (Photo credit: Cinemalaya)

Behind the film festival is the Cinemalaya Foundation Inc. It aims to support the production of films produced by Filipino filmmakers – a non-stock, not-for-profit, non-government foundation.


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