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Cinemalaya — lighting up screens anew for 19th edition

The 19th edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival has officially opened, promising enchanting and compelling visual storytelling experiences, all celebrating the spirit of independent filmmaking.

The festival's red carpet event on August 4 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) was graced by esteemed personalities from the Philippine film industry, including National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Ricky Lee, internationally acclaimed actress Dolly de Leon, Film Development Council of the Philippines Chairman Tirso Cruz 3rd, Shamaine Buencamino, Joel Saracho and Ricky Davao.

National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Ricky Lee

Film Development Council of the Philippines Chairman Tirso Cruz 3rd

Cinemalaya Festival Director Chris Millado

Ricky Davao and President of Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc. Laurice Guillen

Cultural Center of the Philippines president Margie Moran-Floirendo

‘Iti Mapukpukaw’ director Carl Joseph Papa, internationally acclaimed actress Dolly de Leon, and producer Geo Lomuntad

Director Quark Henares (fifth from left) and the cast of ‘Marupok AF’

‘Marupok AF’ star Maris Racal and partner, Rico Blanco

Respective cast and crew also represented the main competition and short film entries.

The opening started with the screening of curtain riser “Marupok AF (Where Is The Lie),” a dark comedy thriller directed by the award-winning filmmaker Quark Henares. Inspired by a viral true story about the challenges of online dating, the film explores themes of love, deception, and catfishing. Starring EJ Jallorina, Royce Cabrera, and Maris Racal, “Marupok AF” takes audiences on an intricate journey into the world of modern relationships.

Likewise set to captivate audiences until August 13 is a collection of diverse and thought-provoking films under the theme “ilumiNasyon.” Here, Cinemalaya invites audiences to delve into a realm of illumination where stories shed light on various aspects of society and culture.

“In the next few days, you will all experience and enjoy what the 2023 finalists have produced through the Film Lab and hope you will see their artwork,” Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) president Margie Moran-Floirendo said in welcome remarks.

“We have so much to offer and so many films to enjoy and watch. Following this year's theme ilumiNasyon, the Cinemalaya continues to shine its light on truthful storytelling and illuminate our path towards a stronger nation anchored on cultural identity,” she added.

Floirendo also highlighted the festival's unique position in the landscape of independent cinema, where it continues to evolve and adapt while staying true to its mission of shining a light on authentic storytelling.

“Even with the rehabilitation of its forever home, the CCP main building, it doesn't stop the country's biggest independent film festival from taking off to a new horizon. Cinemalaya can certainly do more,” Floirendo said.

“This year, we have many surprising firsts. This is the first time the Cinemalaya will be held outside the CCP main theater. This is the first time screening films in the PICC, and I believe this is also the first time for the PICC to host this kind of event in a long time since the Manila International Film Festival in the '80s,” she continued.

“It is also the first time the competing filmmakers underwent an intensive three-month-long film laboratory mentorship program, the Cinemalaya Film Lab, to upskill their filmmaking processes and techniques and experiment with new ways of storytelling. With all those learnings and experiences, to me, they are all already winners.”

Returning with renewed vigor, Cinemalaya offers a platform for independent filmmakers to showcase their works and voice their perspectives on contemporary issues. The festival features a lineup of 10 full-length films and 10 short films in competition, alongside other components that invite the audience to engage with the art of storytelling.

The 10 competing full-length films are “Ang Duyan ng Magiting (The Cradle of the Brave)” by Dustin Celestino; “As If It's True” by John Rogers; “Bulawan Nga Usa (Golden Deer)” by Kenneth De la Cruz; “Gitling” by Jopy Arnaldo; “Huling Palabas (Fin)” by Ryan Espinosa Machado; “Iti Mapukpukaw (The Missing)” by Carl Joseph Papa; “Maria” by She Andes; “Rookie” by Samantha Lee and Natts Jadaone; “Tether” by Gian Arre; and “When This Is All Over” by Kevin Mayuga.

Festival Director Chris Millado emphasized that Cinemalaya is an opportunity for engagement and social transformation.

“Cinemalaya is about immersing ourselves and engaging the luminous creative minds that populate the world of independent cinema. Let us all celebrate Cinemalaya in all of its diversity and variety. Let us raise the power of storytelling and spark meaningful conversations about art, film and society,” Millado said.

“Cinemalaya is not just a film festival. It is an opportunity for engagement and social transformation. Let the glow of cinema illuminate our hearts and minds,” he added.

PHOTOS BY JOHN ORVEN VERDOTE

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Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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