Friday, July 20, 2007

Watch a movie, win a prize

It's Cinemalaya time, and I've got a contest for you!

The third Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival opened last night at the CCP with the Philippine premiere of Brillante Mendoza's "Foster Child," which has made it to the Directors' Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival. The competition proper starts today, with nine new full-length digital films and 10 shorts, never before exhibited and all a product of the P500,000 individual Cinemalaya grants, showing in various venues at the CCP.

Which film will be the next "Maximo Oliveros" or "Big Time" or "Donsol?" You have to watch the nine entries to find out. Once more, with feeling: Rachel Ann GO!

I was fortunate to have been at the birth of the Cinemalaya filmfest two years ago, when the public at large still hadn't heard of digital or indie cinema, or was at least suspicious about it. I, too, had my doubts, but the chance to preview the first batch of entries convinced me that something fresh and altogether exciting was happening to the moribund local cinema. A new generation of filmmakers and artists was blazing a path and pointing the way towards the future.

"If 'Big Time'--close on the heels of 'Bridal Shower,' 'Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino' and 'La Visa Loca,' and made for a measly P500,000--is the shape of things to come, then perhaps we can mothball for now the tiresome wailing over the death of Philippine cinema. Going indie is clearly a way out," I said in my article about the first Cinemalaya lineup ("The shape of things to come," July 11, 2005).

"Big Time," directed by Mario Cornejo, was my bet for Best Picture; until now I stand by that choice. It won Best Screenplay at the filmfest, and was subsequently cited as one of the year's best films by the Urian and other award-giving bodies. Of course, Aureus Solito's "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros"--second after "Big Time" and ahead of Clodualdo del Mundo Jr.'s "Pepot Artista" in my ranking--was the film that broke through and captured the public imagination. I was there during its first public screening, and even now my heart quickens when I recall the wild, never-ending cheers of the crowd as the end credits rolled.

In last year's filmfest, I again managed to watch all the entries except one. Mike Sandejas' "Tulad Ng Dati," a sleek riff on the triumphs and tragedies of the rock band The Dawn, was hands down my choice for the best entry (review here). It did win Best Picture, so I'd like to think my taste in films isn't that way off.

This year's Cinemalaya, however, is a big problem for me. I've committed to watching some plays and showing up at a birthday party this weekend, and next week I'm out of the country to cover the Kuala Lumpur Festival. Which means I won't be able to watch any of the Cinemalaya entries, at least during their premiere runs. I'd be posing before the Petronas Towers and tramping all over Putrajaya thinking that I'd missed the next big Filipino film. Aargh.

Something to make our hearts beat the faster: another Cinemalaya

The contest!
But I've got an idea. Maybe you can let me know what you think of the Cinemalaya movies, since I'm out of the loop for now. Here's how:

1. Go to CCP and watch any or all of the competing Cinemalaya films (Details here, trailers here, screening schedules here). You've got every day from today up to July 29 (except Monday--CCP day off) to catch the movies. I highly recommend watching as many as you can, because that gives you a surer grasp of what's good and what's so-so.

2. Write a 300 to 500-word post about the film/s you're able to see. Tell us why you liked it, or didn't--entirely your choice. I'm not looking for the next Pauline Kael, James Agee or Roger Ebert here, but I sure hope I don't end up with a pointless rant or a fawning rave, either. Just talk about the movie in clear, compact language, in your own voice. Substance and style, baby--that's what I'm looking for.

3. Post a comment here to let me know you've written up something, and I'll visit your blog to read it. To ensure greater objectivity, I've collared some friends to help me do this. A panel of judges (naks!) composed of the Troikasters--me, Mcvie and Migs--plus Karla (also a full-time editor) will go over the posts and choose what we think is the best one. Cinemalaya closes on July 29 (Sunday); I'll announce the winner of this contest on August 1 (Wednesday), so please have your entries ready before that date.

The prize!
4. I'm offering Robinsons gift certificates worth P2,000 to whoever we choose as the best "Cinemalaya blogger." The GCs are valid until March 2009 and are honored at any of the following Robinsons-affiliated establishments: Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Appliances, HandyMan, Toys R Us, TopShop/TopMan, Dorothy Perkins and Warehouse.

5. I'll feature in this space the winning blog entry, plus I'll link up as well (and perhaps quote a line or two from) all the other bloggers who wrote up entries about their Cinemalaya movie-going.

At the end of all this, what I hope to see is another crazy quilt of blogger commentary about the Cinemalaya filmfest, similar to what we did for the Virgin Labfest. Were you impressed, infuriated, bored, baffled, provoked to laughter, moved to tears by the indie movie/s you saw? Blog about it!

Can I leave you with this challenge? Call me lazy--I'll quote again from what I wrote two years ago at the birth of Cinemalaya:

"Don't just take our word for [these] entries. Go to the CCP... and judge for yourself whether these movies earn for themselves the right to present entertaining, important alternatives to mainstream Pinoy cinema. Wondrous new stories are always welcome, but audience support is even more so. So give digital films a try."


JOSH said...

viewed all d trailers... it seem i'll be inclined to watch "Still Life" in d full L category and I know someone who will be interested in "Misteryo ng Hapis" aspiring theather artist mrs J! :-)

fruityoaty said...

Oh, cool!

By the way, I've met and talked to Lav Diaz before back in 2004 (director of Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino - "Evolution of a Filipino Family") when it screened in Toronto International Film Festival. THAT WAS THE LONGEST FILM I've ever seen in my ENTIRE LIFE! Whoah, 10 hours. My ass was hurting. Thankfully, the screening room was a special VIP room with very comfy padded reclining chair and popcorn/drink side tables. Very intimate setting.

Mr. Diaz did a Q & A after the movie. Unfortunately, many of the Filipinos there (who accounted for probably 95% of the small audience) were extremely rude during the screening (shouting stuff like "what the hell is this about?"). To be fair, it was a bit gimmicky, needed massive editing and hard to watch (on the eyes).

I also saw Brillante Mendoza twice... and once, I got to ask him a question. Again, at Toronto International Film Festival - screening of 2 films: Masseur and Twilight Dancers.

Some of the male actors were there... Hilarious, how so many GAY MALE Filipino fans showed up at the screening so they could take pics and drool over the actors.

fruityoaty said...

Oh, I also wanted to add:

I'm beginning to think that North American audiences think that movies from the Philippines only deal with 3 topics: gamblers, gay male strippers who have sad lives, abused women who become prostitutes.

For once, I would like umm... a comedy or romantic film to screen at Toronto International Film Festival. I mean, sheesh... a bit of variety would be good. :)

cant_u_read said...

saludo ako sa yo, gibbs! mapalad akong maging bahagi ng industriyang patuloy mong sinusuportahan at nilalapit sa kamalayan ng mga taong "wa-knows"!

salamat at i love you!

f i l l i b u s t e r o said...

i totally agree with you gibbs na mas maganda ang Big Time kaysa sa Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, nangingiti pa rin ako pag naaalala ko yung mga aakalaing mga ridiculous na eksena nina Danny at Jonas.

Jap said...

Thanks to you I watched all the trailers for Cinemalaya. Except for one or two, the rest looked great and with a unique story to match. Promising indeed. I hope I can get it on video soon since there's no chance of me watching it on the big screen. =( I hope Ligaw Liham will do good. All out support to the Ilonggos in Bacolod =)

CokskiBlue said...

Wow. This is big Gibbs. Gift certificates worth P2,00? Sayang hanggang July 29 na lang yung run. I hope I find time to watch at least one of them.

Anyway, I'll be waiting for Big Time's DVD release. :D

MANDAYA MOORE: Ang bayot sa bukid said...

may balak ba silang dalhin yan sa mindanao?

Dennis N. Marasigan said...


another great and selfless idea idea! your turn for the virgin labfest was already a big thing, this one is even better. thanks for your continued support for filipino arts and artists!

dennis marasigan

rheytarded said...

oh my gawd!!!
we have indie films in manila now?!!! why didnt they think of this while iw as there?!

anyway, gibbz, if they do plan to have them on dvd please hit me up on that. or do an entry. i would love to get copies of the movies...

i really agree that going indie is the way out of the slump of Philippine cinema.

will check back!


Some of the past films are on DVD now, rheytarded. Most are available from the Unico Films collection which are available in most video bars here.

Great idea, Gibbs! Will start writing already, ha ha!

- Radioactive Adobo

Richard Lionheart said...


Ask lang po about sa MORENO Movie na showing ngayon sa Robinson's Galleria...

Part po ba 'yun ng Cinemalaya?

Actually, naging habit ko na talaga na kapag may Indie Film na palabas... kahit ano pa promotion niyan, talagang nanonood ako.. Just asking lang po..

Sana mavisit din ninyo ang blog ko. Salamat!

gibbs cadiz said...

hi JOSH! thanks for the comment, hope you get to watch all the films. and do blog about them. sali ka sa contest ha? :)

hey FRUITY, great that you met lav diaz! and i agree, it's high time we come up with more varied filipino stories for foreign audiences, and not just "gamblers, gay male strippers who have sad lives, abused women who become prostitutes," as you put it. btw, you're in my top 10 list. :)

hi RYE, hehe, labya too! :)

FILLIBUSTERO, yep, kaya lang sobrang culture-specific ng dialogue, di tuloy mag-translate for foreign audiences, haha. yun ang naging edge sa kanya ng maximo oliveros. :)

hi JAP, i hope pag-uwi mo dito some of these films would still be doing the rounds of theaters, so you can also catch them. robinsons galleria has a cinema now devoted exclusively to digital films. am sure the cinemalaya entries will also make an appearance there. :)

COY! hehe, you should watch 'big time.' you'll enjoy the humor. kamusta naman! :)

hi MANDAYA, honestly i've no idea. sana me maglakas-loob. :)

hi DENNIS, you're welcome. i promise to watch your film and the others pagbalik ko. :)

hello, RHEYTARDED, as GENIUS said (below you), many of the past cinemalaya entries are now out on video. bili na! :)

hi GENIUS! great, writewritewrite! lemme know here pag me blog entry ka na. :)

hello RICHARD, nope, 'moreno' is not part of cinemalaya. right now, all cinemalaya films are showing exclusively at the ccp. :)

tutubi said...

dyan ako last saturday watch movie

bukas sana saka sa sunday :)

Q The Conqueror said...

Hey Gibbs, yan. My Review's up :D Hehehe. I did Pisay (the only one I watched). The link is:

Thanks for the oppurtunity (again) :D

drewrites said...

Hi! Here's the link to my review on "Tribu":


yatot said...

hello gibbs! good day to you!

this is my first time here... can i still join this contest? (^_^)V

i have also made a review about the film "Still Life" by Katski Flores... but it's quite long... I did not follow the 300-500 words review... hehehe...

anyway, i hope you like it!

here's the link:

the link says "sill life" but its the correct link... hehehe... iyon kasi yung una kong natype at iyon na yung nasave ng blogger...

thanks! V (^_^) V

~ yatot

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