Take Eight: Cinema One Originals Film Fest opens this week, here’s a quick peek at its roster

Scenes from Eve Baswel’s Tia Madre <i>Photo: Tia Madre/ FB</I> and Denise O’Hara’s Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo <i>Photo: Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo/FB</i>
Scenes from Eve Baswel’s Tia Madre Photo: Tia Madre/ FB and Denise O’Hara’s Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo Photo: Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo/FB

Film buffs, mark your calendars: Cinema One Originals is screening eight original films in 11 cinemas across Metro Manila from Nov. 7 to 17.

Now in its 15th edition, the festival’s 11-day run showcases movies by indie filmmakers backed by Cinema One, a division of ABS-CBN Films. The festival and its productions are collaborations between up-and-coming film creatives and the network’s mainstays and veteran actors. It’s since churned out favorites like the 2014 rom-com That Thing Called Tadhana (“That Thing Called Fate”) by director Antoinette Jadaone, and the 2016 coming-of-age drama about a closeted teen lesbian Baka Bukas (“Maybe Tomorrow”) by director Samantha Lee.

Solid films, right? Well, here’s what’s in store starting Thursday.


Yours Truly, Shirley by Nigel Santos

Cast: Regine Velasquez, Rayt Carreon

Recently widowed Shirley (played by Velasquez) mourns her husband Ronaldo. While going through the difficult patch, she overhears a famous hit song by a pop star (Carreon). Convinced that the young crooner is her husband reincarnated, Shirley goes through extreme lengths to prove it, see-sawing between coping with grief and loneliness, and comedically fawning over a pop star half her age. If this one-minute movie slice is any indication, Velasquez tearing up on screen will have you feeling things.


Lucid by Natts Jadaone, Victor Villanueva, and Dan Villegas

Cast: Alessandra De Rossi, JM De Guzman

Stuck going through the day-to-day motions of a humdrum life, lucid dreamer Ann goes on an adventure every time she sleeps. In one dream in particular, however, she encounters a man who makes sleep more, ahem, exciting (albeit strictly PG as far as the trailer goes, though). On waking, she meets another lucid dreamer and starts finding it hard to distinguish between reality and sleep. Filipino Inceptionanyone?


Metamorphosis by J.E. Tiglao

Cast: Gold Aceron, Ivan Padilla, Iana Bernardez, Yayo Aquila and Ricky Davao 

Metamorphosis centers on 14-year-old Adam, a teenager who struggles with self identity, having been born with both female and male genitals. The arty teaser trailer features a caterpillar in a jar in the foreground (symbolism!) as time-lapse video shows it transforming into a butterfly while Adam shifts in his bed in the background. The coming-of-age film also bills veteran actors Yayo Aguila and Ricky Davao in supporting roles.


O by Kevin Dayrit

Cast: Anna Luna, Jasmine Curtis, Lauren Young and Sarah Carlos

Maria, an intern at a morgue comes face to face with a vampire who offers her this conundrum: act as a blood mule selling other people’s blood to “harmless” modern-day vampires, or get the blood sucked out of her. Naturally Maria chooses blood-mule-peddling, acquiring the “contraband” through highly unsavory means. In exchange, Maria gets to run with vampires at night.


Sila Sila by Gian Carlo Abraham

Cast: Gio Gahol and Topher Fabregas

A man in his 30s returns to Manila to reconnect with old friends and former flames at a school reunion. Tagged by director Gian Carlo Abraham as an “LGBT ghost story,” the film follows the protagonist ruminating over his messy breakups and attempts at undoing them, hinting at the difficulty of navigating middle-aged relationships.


Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo by Denise O’Hara

Cast: JC Santos and Jane Oineza

A hormone-fueled romp featuring a couple-who’s-not-really-a-couple. Lead characters Alex and Carlo continually get laid for the duration of the trailer but have trouble settling on labels to define their relationship. They mix it up by seeing other people, only to find they aren’t happy with their other partners either. What happens next? You’ll just have to sit through this one to find out.


Utopia by Dustin Celestino and Dustin Uy 

Cast: Joem Bascon, Enzo Pineda, Aaron Villaflor, and Karen Toyoshima

Utopia follows a slew of suspicious characters who meet in the city’s dark underbelly, including a rookie police officer, an undercover agent, and a videographer. Crime and corruption unfold as the night plods on. Prime time TV and film actors Joem Bascon, Enzo Pineda, and Aaron Villaflor have top billing in this thriller.


Tia Madre by Eve Baswel

Cast: Cherie Gil, Jana Agoncillo

The feature film debut of director Eve Baswel, this psychological thriller follows 10-year-old Camille and her alcoholic mother Emilia as they move to a new town. Emilia becomes increasingly violent and acts weirdly possessed around Camille, leaving the kid to question what she needs to do to bring her mother back to normal. [Side note: Actress Cherie Gil’s turn as a mother possessed (by alcohol? supernatural demons? something else entirely?) seriously gives us the creeps.]


Cinema One Originals will screen at Trinoma, Glorietta, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Gateway, Power Plant Mall, Evia Vista Cinemas, Cinema Centenario, Cinema ’76, UP Cine Adarna, and FDCP Cinematheque. Ticket prices start at PHP150(US$3) for students and PHP200(US$4) regular, available at the cinema box office.

For details and complete screening schedule, visit Cinema One Originals’ Facebook page.

Read more Coconuts Manila articles here.

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