Thursday, June 17, 2010

Faces and stories at the Cinemalaya 2010 kick-off

The noontime presscon, held at CCP Main Theater lobby. Last year's Cinemalaya attracted the biggest crowd ever, said festival organizer Nestor Jardin--which should augur well for this year's edition. TonyBoy Cojuangco, who birthed Cinemalaya with his annual seed money of P5 million distributed to 10 newbie directors, was on hand to deliver some remarks--a rare moment, it was said, because Mr. Cojuangco hardly gives speeches due to a recurring throat ailment. But this time he spoke clearly and vigorously.

The short-film directors (upper photo) and the feature-length directors, among whom are Cinemalaya second-timers Dennis Marasigan (Siya ang Mayor Ko (Vox Populi))and Francis Pasion (Sampaguita). Only 9 full-length entries will compete in this year's festival; one entry backed out reportedly due to failure to meet grant requirements.

The short-film directors and their entries are (sorry, can't match names to faces for now): Zurich Chan (Boca), Steven Flor (Breakfast With Lolo), Janus Victoria (Dalaw), Borgy Torre (Despedida), Jerrold Tarog (Faculty), Mikhail Red (Harang), Hubert Tibi (Hay Pinhod oh Ya Scooter), Joey Agbayani (Lola), Milo Tolentino (P) and Pam Miras (Wag Kang Titingin).

Aside from Dennis Marasigan and Francis Pasion, the full-length directors include Sheron Dayoc (Halaw), Gutierrez Mangansakan II (Limbunan), Kim Homer Garcia (Magkakapatid), Dan Villegas and Paul Sta. Ana (Mayohan), Danny Añonuevo (Rekrut), Art Katipunan (Si Techie, Si Teknoboy at si JuanaB) and Ian-Dean Loreños (The Leaving).

Emilio Garcia, one of the stars of Danny Añonuevo's movie Rekrut. On the next table are director Mario O'Hara and his leading lady for the movie Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio.

Irma Adlawan and Dennis Marasigan, lead star and director, respectively, of Siya ang Mayor Ko (Vox Populi).

The most star-studded table--the corner of Joel Lamangan's Sigwa, which hosted, among others, Ayen Munji-Laurel, Zsazsa Padilla, Dawn Zulueta, Marvin Agustin, Tirso Cruz III and Lovi Poe. “Kanino pa ba naman ako lalapit kundi sa mga kaibigan ko?,” said Mr. Lamangan in his brief remarks, adding for good measure that these A-list stars agreed to reduced fees for their work in the movie.

Jay Altarejos, director of Pink Halo-Halo, with one of his stars, Mark Xander Fabillar. Mr. Altarejos, the youngest filmmaker in the first-ever “Directors Showcase” category of the festival (featuring works by directors who have released at least three feature-length films--the first batch includes, aside from Mr. Altarejos, Gil Portes, Mark Meily, Joel Lamangan and Mario O'Hara)--counts among his first films the gay cult favorites Ang Lalake sa Parola and Ang Lihim ni Antonio.

Actors Manuel Chua and Joem Bascon (major hottie alert!) star in Rekrut, along with a bunch of other young and good-looking actors--Alwyn Uytingco, Alchris Galura, JM De Guzman and Dominic Roco. Director Danny Añonuevo said he wanted to do an action film since it's the genre he noticed was lacking in previous Cinemalaya editions; the trailer of his film (about a platoon of new Army recruits) showed his actors in the buff running toward the sea, their backsides filling up the two-second frame--and sending the audience into a swoon. “Ay, sige na, panonoorin ko na siya!,” announced the guy beside me.

Maxene Magalona, also part of the cast of Rekrut, was on her way out when a small band of reporters and cameramen swooped down on her. Intrigued, I followed the pack, took some pictures and listened to the questions--something about ampalaya and what sounded like a tiff with a fellow actress. It was only later in the office, when I had strung “Maxene Magalona” and “ampalaya” together on Google, that I found out what all the fuss was about. Ow-kay.

Director Mark Meily and two of the stars of his film Isang Pirasong Buhay, one of them Meryll Soriano, the first Cinemalaya Best Actress awardee (for Roomboy in 2005).

Mr. Lamangan in a photo-op with his bevy of Sigwa stars--Ayen Munji-Laurel, Lovi Poe, Dawn Zulueta, Tirso Cruz III, Marvin Agustin and Mon Confiado. ZsaZsa Padilla had exited by this time.

Gil Portes with the stars--Xian Lim and Tessie Tomas--and producers of his film, Two Funerals. He had nurtured the idea for this movie for two years, said Mr. Portes, until the opportunity to join Cinemalaya came along. But how to raise enough money for it? The first scene of his movie involved a bus crashing down a ravine. He approached a certain singer-actress who owned a fleet of buses, he said, and asked if he could borrow one. The singer-actress said yes--provided she played the mother role. Horrified, Mr. Portes said no, and despaired of finding the right actress until somebody pointed him in Tessie Tomas' direction. Now, with her participation in Two Funerals, Ms. Tomas is on her third major Cinemalaya outing, after Chris Martinez's 100 in 2008 and Milo Sogueco's Sanglaan last year.

The beef contingent, along with a lone lovely rose--(from left) Alchris Galura, Alwyn Uytingco, Dominic Roco, Maxene Magalona, Emilio Garcia, director Danny Añonuevo, JM De Guzman, Manuel Chua and Joem Bascon.

The Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival runs July 9-July 18, 2010 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. For more information, call the CCP Arts Division at 8321125 locals 1704-05.


~Carrie~ said...

Five stars to Mr Gibbs for this post :)

Anonymous said...

napakabait nitong si mr tony boy sa theater and film. sana wag naman sa walang kapararakan gamitin ng ccp ang pera. they should take care of their finances

Anonymous said...

i think cinemalaya should have definite plans on how to develop their audience and market na. para self-sustaining na sila even without grants coming from the government and mga nagmamagandang loob like tony boy. para kasing hindi rin clear kung pano nila ihahandle ang funds nila. and sila din naman ang nakakanood ng mga gawa nila. ni hindi nga alam ng madaming estudyante sa universities kung ano ang cinemalaya (which should be one of their consumers). parang ang nakakaapreciate lang ng mga gawa nila ay iyung small portion ng movie buffs, artists, and critics.

Anonymous said...

People should support Cinemalaya as this is the only hope of improving the quality of movie production in the Philippines.

Anonymous said...

After a certain point, dapat hindi na din bigyan ng grants ni mr tony boy ang cinemalaya. para lalo slang may incentive to strengthen themselves hanggang nandito pa ang suporta

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