NEW BREED CATEGORY
Ruben loses his job as a carpenter in a small town in Zambales where he lives with his wife Edna and their 10-year old son, BUDOY. Desperate to make ends meet, he accepts a job as a caretaker of an abandoned property in Quezon City. Ruben soon finds out that the previous owner of the house is an important figure in the country’s history. When he is interviewed by a TV reporter about this historical figure, Ruben feels embarrassed that he knows nothing about him. Ruben soon starts reading up to get to know more about the life of this person, his accomplishments and what he has done for the people. Ruben’s fascination about the person’s life and his inevitable hero-worship irks the only friend he has in the sprawling compound, the night-shift security guard, GIMO, who jokes that Ruben is slowly being possessed by the soul of his new hero.
Gibson Bonifacio stopped speaking when he was a child. Now twenty years old, he returns home to Manila from his studies abroad, his first visit in three years. He finds his family trying to keep it together, his mother still hurting from a tragic loss in the past. Against the backdrop of the vibrant local music scene, his childhood best friend tries to reconnect with him, while he unexpectedly finds a chance at a first, real romantic relationship. Amidst the holidays, Gibson reconsiders and redefines his relationships with his family, his friends, and with himself.
It is 1971, and the sisters of the Adoration monastery lead quiet, insulated lives in a remote town in Rizal. Mother Superior Ruth leads the group in its prayers and daily rituals and prides herself in keeping the nuns removed from the vices and vicissitudes of the outside world. Young and fairly new, Lourdes, joins the monastery and gets introduced to the cloistered life. Shortly after, Remy, an extern nun (who is able to leave the cloister from time to time to do errands for the nuns), gets an unexpected visit from her mother telling her that her activist brother has been snatched away. Deeply troubled, Remy asks Ruth for an indefinite leave of absence to help her family search for her brother. But Ruth turns down her request, reminding her of the increasing importance of prayer during that time of crisis and in order to keep Remy out of harm’s way. Behind Ruth’s back, Remy starts attending meetings of families whose progressive relatives have gone missing, something that Lourdes discovers when she accompanies Remy on an errand in town. Meanwhile, the meeting of families with missing relatives has left a profound impression on Lourdes, who decides to become an extern herself alongside Remy, a decision that Mother Superior reluctantly consents to. One afternoon, the meeting in town that Remy and Lourdes attend ends well into the evening. On their way back, deep in the woods leading back to the monastery, they fall victim to violence. Devastated, Ruth, Remy and Lourdes individually grapple with the emotional aftermath. Ruth is well aware that the crisis could either destroy the nuns beyond repair or draw them closer together.
Mga Dayo (Resident Aliens)
Guam, U.S.A. Thursday, November 24, Thanksgiving Day. Alex, a local newspaper photographer, gets into a “green card marriage” with her good friend James, a Guam-born Filipino. Miriam, a former member of the Philippine press and now an established Guam journalist, longs to repair a damaged relationship with her American husband. Ella, a hotel housekeeper for almost 20 years, finds means of sending her 88-year old mother to the Philippines with the uncertainty of coming back. As the island of Guam celebrates this classic American holiday when people count their blessings and give thanks, the lives of the three Filipina immigrants intersect and find themselves at a tug-o-war of sacrifice and significance where they must find their home or must they find it somewhere else.
This is the story of Lusing, mother to five grown up sons who have distinct characters and professions of their own. Her children would occasionally come by for a visit. Each son comes for a specific purpose with different stories to share. Never has there been a chance that all five siblings came together nor met each other. The only moment they will gather as a family would be when one son is stabbed to death by a drunken loony while on a pilgrimage. Aling Lusing is a representation of the typical Filipina mother of perpetual help – caring and loving to a fault, gentle and generous, passive and pious. In spite of her frailty and her sons’ failures, she remains strong and steadfast, never ceasing to listen to their endless woes as well as wonders. She is always there for them to offer comfort in every crisis.
Intoy Syokoy Ng Kayle Marino
Intoy has had the hots for Doray since they were kids in Kalye Marino, Cavite City, formerly the American Naval Base in Sangley Point. Both marginalized as the long-lasting effect of American abandonment of the said base, Intoy has become Kalye Marino’s best “tahong” caretaker-with-no-angst-about-poverty, while Doray a cheap prostitute-with-no-guilt, tending to her siblings’ needs. Intoy strives to have his own cages of “tahong” so he can have Doray, not for just a night of quickie sex, but forever. But what will he do to when she offers to drop by his hovel-on-stilts to quench his passion, but before it happens Nature has chosen to play a joke on his tahong cage? Will it be goodbye to his tahong business or to his damsel-in-distress and ultimately to Kalye Marino? From Eros S. Atalia’s 2001 Palanca Grand Prize-winning Short Story, Intoy Syokoy ng Kalye Marino is a love tale minus the obligatory romantic sentiments.
The film set in a decadent world where even death becomes a provider. In a country where a cadaver may serve as license for holding a sakla operation (illegal gambling) in wakes, people may exploit the dead in order to generate income from the profits of gambling, and possibly pay for its burial. In Oros, a funeral parlor owner sells an unidentified body to Makoy, a kasero in a saklaan, who, along with his reluctant brother, Abet, set the stage for a three-week long fake wake holding the illegal saklaan. The sakla personnel deals with everyone involved, including Linda, an impoverished homeowner, as they agree upon a fictional story which will “legitimize” the wake.
Circus hijinks surround the barangay of Sta. Maria in the midst of an international murder sensation. Swanie, Sta. Maria’s barangay chair and a distant relative of the killer, tries to gain political points by staging a wake for the criminal-turned-celebrity. Meanwhile in faraway Manila, Joanna, Swanie’s runaway son, navigates his way through labyrinthine bureaucracy, to give a neighbor a proper burial. With these two unrelated deaths, estranged mother and son each bury the dead long shelved in their hearts. Amidst these unspoken family burials, the neighborhoods’ penchant for funeral fiestas, gossip and secrets, bizarre social events and the sheer mix of scandal and inebriation complete the picture of dying the Pinoy way.
When Paulino Mungcal and his co-worker in a lahar-filled quarry unexpectedly dig up the remains of his 2-year daughter Marikit, they discover that she showed no signs of decay. Could this be a miracle, and could she despite death cure the sick? Inspired by whatever healing power the deceased child may have, Pol asks the church to declare her a saint. But how, when her resurgence stirs up emotions buried by time, and shores up questions about pure love, guilt, sin and salvation?
Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)
Set in an affluent, upper middle class village in the suburbs, “The Animals” chronicles a day in the life of Jake, Trina, and Alex, who go through the musings that every kid in high school has to deal with. All Jake wants to do is have a good time, Alex just wants to fit in, and Trina simply wants more. A very vivid picture is painted of life in high school after the final bell rings, as well as a different side of the Philippines, and what is happening to its privileged children.
Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)
DIRECTORS SHOWCASE CATEGORY
Bwakaw is a drama-comedy about growing old, and everyone’s fear of growing old alone. Rene is a gay man who came out of the closet at age 70. Ailing in his twilight years, he thinks it is now too late for love, even companionship, and that all there is to look forward to is Death. He has made a will, bequeathing his few possessions to his even fewer friends. Everything is packed and labeled, ready for distribution. He has even paid for a coffin, taking advantage of a funeral home’s Summer Sale. Nowadays the only companion Rene has is Bwakaw, a stray dog that hangs around his house and follows him wherever he goes. As Rene waits for the day of his death, he gets the surprise of his life when it is Bwakaw who suddenly falls ill and is diagnosed with cancer. Rene is surprisingly affected, and he realizes that he values Bwakaw more than he thinks. In his struggle to get Bwakaw cured, Rene finds comfort in the most unlikely person: Sol, a tricycle driver who helps him bring Bwakaw to the vet and befriends him. Buoyed by Sol’s friendship, Rene starts living. Little by little he discovers simple joys. To the surprise of his friends, he even has his hair dyed to look younger. One day, he finally decides to make a move on Sol. The revelation that Rene is gay and has feelings for him surprises and disgusts Sol. He rejects Rene and leaves in anger. In the meantime, Bwakaw’s condition gets worse. Not even Rene’s ancient Santo Entierro (a supposedly miraculous statue of Jesus Christ) can save Bwakaw. Bwakaw dies, and Rene’s neighbors help him bury the faithful dog. But Bwakaw’s death, even while it was still only imminent, has made a difference. Rene has found a new appreciation for life and what is most important. He decides to unpack the things that he has already willed to other people and make his house more inhabitable. He is, after all, still alive.
Julian, a Filipino soldier stationed in Kota Island, is ready to leave Kalayaan. He already completed his three months of service. News of a pending coup d' etat in Manila orders him to stay in the island until further notice. With nothing much to do, he spends his waiting hours walking by the beachfront, cleaning his rifle, watching porn, listening to songs on his old radio to overcome boredom and loneliness. He also has to contend with ‘someone’ seemingly watching him. Not until his officer from the main island sends the loud mouth Lucio and the newbie Eric to station with him on the island. Their moments together - chatting, drinking, playing basketball and exchanging stories about a ghost soldier opens up things that Julian tries to forget. He is now confronted with a growing loneliness and remembers a traumatic experience in his past, which he doesn’t want to talk about. His only option for survival is to cope with reality or lose his own sanity.
The title “Kamera Obskura” is a Filipino spelling of the latin “Camera Obscura” which simply means “dark room”. The film’s concept adheres to formalist cinema, where the filmmaker’s thesis is to make a semblance of a vintage film seemingly produced sometime in the late 1920s to early 1930s in the Philippines. The thesis is to conjure up a film from a period that did not really exist in Philippine cinema’s historical cultural heritage as we know it, such as a pseudo-expressionist / experimental Filipino cinema of the silent film era. It is a film within a film. The narrative plays with the idea of a retro-futurist world where a prisoner locked away in a dark chamber for over two decades only sees the reality of the world outside through the small hole in his cell, which projects an image of the city on his wall, the phenomenon of the “camera obscura”. He later immerses back into society by slowly climbing up the different social classes represented by the levels of different floors in a mysterious building, where corruption, deceit, and betrayal seem to be at work at every level. The film KAMERA OBSKURA is a tribute to Filipino cinema heritage. Through the re-imagining of an era of cinema in the transition from the lost silent era, the filmmaker hopes to instill in the next generation the recognition of the value of passing on that heritage before it is totally lost.
Mga Mumunting Lihim (Those Little Secrets)
The death of Mariel (Judy Ann Santos) was met with such hurt by her three closest friends. But it was her best friend, Carla (Iza Calzado) that she leaves a most special gift, a box full of her diaries through the years. Carla has been Mariel’s friend since their high school years; they have practically shared everything in their lives together. Their two other girl friends, Sandra (Agot Isidro) and Olive (Janice De Belen) formed the quartet who would get together ever so often and served as a mutual support system. Despite warnings from Sandra and Olive not to read the diaries left behind by Mariel, Carla could not help herself to find out what was written on those volumes of handwritten materials. True enough, what she discovered completely shattered all her perceptions and beliefs of the friendship shared by the four women through the years. Inside those diaries were all the little secrets that the women kept from one another all the hidden emotions, stories and comments that made their lives a sham. Death should be a closure but it could also be a terrible beginning and realization of what was hidden by the living.
Corruption is a process. Jestoni “Jess” Biag, early 20s, is a notorious snatcher victimizing people in bustling streets around Quiapo Church. As a routine, he steals wallets, gadgets and jewelries, which he will trade for a meager amount of peso enough for him to survive and to support his family. Today, Jess will be captured by the police for snatching a cellphone of a call center agent, Ma. Grace Rosuello (Bangs Garcia). It’s his first time to undergo investigation. And as he goes in the process from Barangay Hall Clinic, Police Station to the Fiscal’s Office, we will witness how human rights violation bluntly executes, and how culture of corruption deviously perpetuates in this chain of institutions. In the end, despite the fact of proving Jess as guilty of committing theft, he will still get his freedom. But this freedom shackled him to a cycle upholding the predicament of his life.
SHORT A: FILM CATEGORY
Bohe Sons of the Waves
Sama Palau or commonly known as "Badjaos", are the second Sea Gypsies in the world. They hail from the Southern parts of the Philippines to escape from conflicts and constant abuse from the pirates and ordinary folks. They find an island of hope called "Malitam Island", a tiny patch of land in Southern Luzon. A new place for them to settle and keep. In this Island, five Badjao boys (Harun, Rasul, Manel, Jamil and Wahab) learn the value of mangroves so they plan to save their island from sinking due to harsh weather and other man-made causes. While they lack the money to buy the needed seedling, they decide to steel them at the sanctuary. Little did they know what they are about to lose. Will these seedlings become their tree of hope or will this hope drown their dreams for a stable home far from people who drove them away. The hope of these young sea gypsies will be the frustration of their elders.
You may look at it like: "It is about a woman in a jeepney who keeps on babbling – sharing her ideals and personal issues as if you are listening to a live commentary and an audio diary at the same time" OR "The passenger(s), the driver, the 10 Commandments, the window, the high tech lifestyle and the high tech love life, the rumors, the government, the reality TV shows, Death, the family..."
As He Sleeps
In sickness and in health, should marriage really be an unconditional partnership that should never be broken? Christina, in her 30’s, is married to Hector, a husband who’s paralyzed and therefore physically incompetent to consummate their marriage. She wants to liberate herself from a sexless union. Her needs as a woman are unfulfilled. But her love for Hector, and her commitment to him coupled with the dictates of her faith and marital vows, and her sympathy and care for her husband keeps her in “cage of marriage,” where she suffers in melancholic solitude, yet contemplates on freedom and rediscovering her true worth.
Two young boys who have met by fate are bound by the irony of their lives. Can two different people share the same story? And can each of them find his own escape?
Life is a big show. For ten long years, Victor, a native in San Pedro Cutud, San Fernando, Pampanga, religiously offers himself to be nailed on the cross every Holy Week. Like other people, this has been his long time “panata” for he believes that God will forgive him for all his sins and grant all his petitions after crucifying himself on the cross. But this film will show you the glaring realities of faith and beliefs and how Filipinos and foreigners embrace the tradition of “Semana Santa” as an attraction to this town. This film will leave you with questions on your own faith as well as Victor’s belief. Is he doing a divine sacrifice? Or it’s just part of his life’s big show?
SHORT B: FILM CATEGORY
Ang Paghihintay sa Bulong
Bernardo It is in the culture of the Filipinos that when a person dies, you can whisper and send your wishes to the dead. The film is about a family who happens to take care of their ailing mother / grandmother. They see this as a burden in their lives and they wait for her death so they could whisper their wishes.
"Manenaya" (Waiting) is a story of a determined woman and her journey through life under the backdrop of the various landscapes of Pampanga. She brings with her a wooden casket for her husband, a victim of political killings. The film is a journey in search for truth and personal triumph through the challenges of life.
A drunk, cynical man is playing a coin toss game at the local town carnival. On his way home, he finds an engagement ring lying on the ground. He picks it up and considers himself lucky for getting something so expensive for free. What he will never know is that it took two people's misfortunes to pay the price of his day's luck.
Mag-amang magsasaka sa isang liblib na lugar sa Kabikulan ang binubuno ang bawat araw. Yumao ang asawa ng matandang magsasaka nang ipanganak ang kanilang panganay. Manunulat at makata ang nanay at namana ng lalaking anak ang hilig at ibig sa pagsususulat. Dahil hikahos sa buhay at naiipit sa kapanglawan ng ama, ninais ng anak na ituloy ang pagsusulat, pag-aaral at paghahanap ng pag-asa sa Maynila. Kaya isang araw ay nagpaalam siya sa ama. Bagaman bakas ang pagtutol at pagkadismaya sa desisyon ng anak, sa huli ay sasang-ayon ang matandang magsasaka.
“Ulian” centers on young Dayang and her Grandmother in their journey of self-discoveries in unexpected circumstances. Together they explore each other’s consciousness to realize the most important thing about growing old and growing up.