Filipino indie filmmakers take center stage at Cinema One Originals Film Festival

Photo: Hospicio’s Facebook account.
Photo: Hospicio’s Facebook account.

Filipino independent film shows no signs of stopping as Cinema One stages the 14th edition of the Cinema One Originals Film Festival.

Happening from Oct. 12 to 21, this year’s movies will screen in cinemas at Power Plant Mall in Makati; Santolan Town Plaza in San Juan City; Trinoma Mall in Quezon City; Glorietta 4 in Makati City; and Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City.

Several foreign films will be screened during the festival, such as Las Herederas and Miseducation of Cameron Post. Also worth watching are restored versions of Filipino film classics such as Anak and Dekada ’70. 

However, most cineastes will be looking forward to watching the indie movies that were included in the competition category. According to the Philippine Entertainment Portal, each filmmaker was given a PHP3 million grant (more than US$55,464) to produce their movie.

Here are the films which made the cut.

Asuang by Raynier Brizuela

Combining mockumentary, comedy, and fantasy, Asuang is about the once ruthless God of Bicol who becomes lonely despite his decision to dabble in social media. But he finds a new purpose in his existence when a group of seers asks for his help to stop the impending Armageddon. Assisted by a group of eccentrics, he now seeks to save mankind.

Brizuela said in a statement sent to media: “Nowadays, the truth is often times mixed with lies. It is hard for people to differentiate which is real and which is fake. With Asuang, I hope to make people embrace the truth and be always true to themselves.”

Starring: Alwyn Uytingco, Chai Fonacier, and Jon Lucas

A Short History of a Few Bad Things by Keith Deligero

Photo: A Short History of a Few Bad Things' Facebook account.
Photo: A Short History of a Few Bad Things’ Facebook account.

This comedy is about a detective who tries to investigate a spate of grisly killings in Cebu City. But several forces try their best to keep him from knowing the truth behind the crimes.

Starring: Victor Neri and Jay Gonzaga

Bagyong Bheverlynn by Charliebebs Gohetia

Rufa Mae Quinto. Photo: Bagyong Bheverlynn's Facebook account.
Rufa Mae Quinto. Photo: Bagyong Bheverlynn’s Facebook account.

The world has crumbled upon Bheverlynn, who’s suffering after the break-up of her four-year-relationship. But she learns that her misery will create a massive typhoon that will wipe out everything in its path. Only moving on and finding happiness will stop the typhoon from appearing. But can Bheverlynn manage to do that?

Gohetia, the film’s director, said about the comedy: “[H]opefully we are able to learn a thing or two from Bheverlynn’s journey of discovering her self-worth, taking in the universal lesson that self-love is still the greatest love of all.”

Starring: Rufa Mae Quinto and EA de Guzman.

Double Twisting, Double Back by Joseph Abello

Tony Labrusca. Photo: Double Twisting Double Back's Facebook account.
Tony Labrusca. Photo: Double Twisting, Double Back’s Facebook account.

Double Twisting, Double Back is about Badger a former gymnast whose career was sabotaged by a friend. He ended up working as an alcohol distributor but his luck changes when another opportunity to compete as a gymnast comes along.

The erotic drama gave director Abello the opportunity to get inside an athlete’s mind. He said: “Their struggles can be summed up with this: their ambition is mostly antagonized by no one and nothing else but themselves. Laziness to train, impatience to improve and complacency after winning medals are some of the emotional pitfalls they face. This very universal idea — that our biggest obstacle towards success is ourself — became the central theme of the screenplay.”

Starring: Tony Labrusca and Joem Bascon

Fisting: Never Tear Us Apart by Whammy Alcazaren

Ricky Davao stars in Fisting: Never Tear Us Apart. Photo: Cinema One.
Ricky Davao stars in Fisting: Never Tear Us Apart. Photo: Cinema One Originals.

A family drama about an aging spy who discovers that his wife was impregnated by a monster called The Shadow.

Alcazaren calls the movie his “attempt at a portrait of a modern family.”

Starring: Meryll Soriano, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, and Ricky Davao

Hospicio by Bobby Bonifacio

Leslie was sent to a rehabilitation facility to recover from her drug dependency. The longer she stays, the more she discovers that the place has its own secrets and mysteries and that her promised recovery may not be as rosy as it seems.

“As much as Hospicio is a tale of horror, it is also a sarcastic and humorous parody about institutionalization, hypocrisy and self-righteousness,” Bonifacio, the film’s director, said.

Starring: Loisa Andalio, Mary Joy Apostol, and Ana Abad Santos

Mamu; And a Mother Too by Rod Singh

An aging transgender sex worker is suddenly forced to take care of her niece, a trans woman herself. The difficulty of taking care of her niece, maintaining a relationship with her boyfriend, and making ends meet lead her to have a new attitude towards life and a discovery of a wonderful Kampampangan dish, sisig.

“The film aims to do one thing — to tell a story that is true and is reflective of the realities and struggles faced by transgender people and the gay community. A story that shows that transitioning goes beyond the physical, that it is a journey through the different aspects of life and above all, that transitioning is a privilege,” Singh said.

Starring: Iyah Mina, Arron Villaflor, and EJ Jallorina.

Paglisan – The Leaving by Carl Papa

Papa’s second animated movie, the dramedy is about the crumbling marriage between the depressive Dolores and her husband Crisanto, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Starring: Ian Veneracion and Eula Valdez

Pang-MMK by John Lapus

Veteran comedian Lapus’ debut film is a dramedy about Janus, a son who was given the daunting task of organizing his dead father’s funeral. Between taking calls from his United States-based mom and dealing with his late father’s mistress, Janus learns that all it takes to face adversities is a strong character and willpower.

Lapus calls the movie an “answered prayer” which was created during a low point in his life. He said: “My script is a little dramatic but big in laughter. I’m the kind of person that looks at dramatic moments in my life as fun. As they say, ‘laugh at your problems.’ In my lowest, I move up by creating fun stuff. Effective!”

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