MANILA, Philippines – With the success of this year’s Cinemalaya in July and the citations that Filipino independent filmmakers are receiving the world over, the Filipino film industry is certainly on a high.
Another testament to this is the successful opening night of this year’s Cinema One Originals film festival last November 29 at the Robinsons Galleria Movieworld.
Cinema One Originals films are being screened in both Robinsons Galleria Movieworld Cinema 4 and Edsa Shangrila Cineplex Cinema 4.
To help you decide which of the films to watch (although we highly suggest you watch all), here are the synopses of the festival’s featured films:
Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Assunta de Rossi, Adrian Sebastian, Sue Prado, Mon Confiado
Baybayin is set in the pristine coast of El Nido, Palawan. It tells the story of two half sisters (played by real-life siblings Assunta and Alessandra de Rossi) who fall in love with the same man who is deaf mute. Having no way of communicating with the love of their lives, both women learn Baybayin — an ancient Palawanon script — and communicate with him by writing in that script.
The message of the film? Love’s language is silent.
2) MATER DOLOROSA by Adolf Alix Jr.
Cast: Gina Alajar, Cogie Domingo, Alessandra de Rossi, Carlo Aquino, Joem Bascon, Mercedes Cabral (with the special participation of Phillip Salvador)
Lourdes Lagrimas — played by Gina Alajar — is the Filipina counterpart of Don Corleone of “The Godfather.” She is known to be the head of all illegal activities in an old district of Manila. The crime family matriarch has her reach on everything underground from jueteng to sakla, carnapping to drugs.
Despite having ease in running an illegal business with her family, she wants to shield her youngest son Benjamin from being involved in their activities. Lourdes will face peril when one man decides to take over the city’s underworld.
3) MARIPOSA SA HAWLA NG GABI by Richard Somes
Cast: Erich Gonzalez, Alfred Vargas, Mark Gil, Joel Torre, Maria Isabel Lopez, Rez Cortez, John Lapuz
Set in 1994, Mariposa sa Hawla ng Gabi is about an innocent woman named Maya (portrayed by Erich Gonzales) who sets off for Manila to find her long lost sister. But her harmless purpose will lead her to a horrifying discovery that will change her life forever.
4) ABERYA by Christian Linaban (First feature debut)
Cast: Will Devaughn, Mercedes Cabral, Iwa Moto, Nicholas Varela
Aberya revolves around 4 individuals, each with an agenda of their own: An egomaniac Fil-Am boxer on a pleasure trip, a prostitute from Luzon out to accomplish a mission, a local drug dealer experimenting with time travel and a social climber from Mindanao caught up in a scandal.
Through the eyes of these 4 anti-heroes (played by Will Devaughn, Iwa Moto, Mercedes Cabral and Nicholas Varela), the film will tackle taboo issues such as sex, drugs, religion and activism presented in pop art form.
5) ANAK ARAW by Gym Lumbera (First feature debut)
Starring: Jay de la Vega
Anak Araw is about a local albino searching for his identity. He believes that he is a son of an American and thus tries to learn English through reading translations and definitions from a Tagalog-English dictionary.
The film is shot in black and white.
6) ANG PAGLALAKBAY NG MGA BITUIN SA GABING MADILIM by Arnel Mardoquio
Cast: Fe “Gingging” Hyde, Irish Karl Monsanto, Roger Gonzales, Glory Pearl Dy
The film presents the many facets and intricacies of the Bangsa Moro struggle in Mindanao. It narrates the story of 3 Muslim rebels trying to elude arrest from their captors. As Bapa Indo, Amrayda and Fatima traverse the mountains and highlands of Jolo, Sulu, they will meet a 9-year-old boy, Faidal, who seeks vengeance for the murder of his parents.
7) CATNIP by Kevin Dayrit (First feature debut)
Cast: Lauren Young, Maxene Magalona, Rommel Luna, Ramon Bautista, Megan Young
Liv is an introvert who hides her true personality because “everything she does is wrong.” The only person whe can be herself with is her friend Cieca. Cieca values her and is amused by Liv’s avant garde-esque unpredictability, a different flavor to her dull and boring world.
8) EDSA XXX by Khavn dela Cruz
Cast: Epy Quizon, Althea Vega, Sheree, Bong Cabrera
Set in the year 2030, The Republic of Ek-Ek-Ek has just elected their new president, Three Eyes aka Kulas Missing-Marbles (played by Epy Quizon). The street simpleton won the election by a landslide but will discover later on that his presidency is all part of an intricate conspiracy. With the help of his sexy “first girlfriend,” Three Eyes will discover the truth and where he got his 3rd eye from.
This homage to Pinoy B-movies is a tribute to the late king of comedy, Dolphy. It is the first and only full-length film shot entirely in Corregidor and in fisheye.
9) MAMAY UMENG by Dwein Baltazar (First feature debut)
Emily Dickens once wrote: “Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me.”
It is clearly not the case for Mamay Umeng, an 84-year-old man living in the quaint province of Pinagbayanan, San Juan, Batangas. He wants nothing more than to end his long life. But Death always eludes him; it is a never-ending game of hide and seek, to which he has always played along.
One day, Mamay will stop playing this game. He will track and hunt down his own very demise.
(The cast are all non-actors except for indie film actress Sue Prado who will play a supporting role.)
10) MELODRAMA NEGRA by Ma. Isabel Legarda (First feature debut)
Cast: Gee Canlas, Jerald Napoles, Bong Cabrera, Sheng Belmonte, Cindy Lopez, Ria Garcia, Cai Cortez, Mara Lopez, Bembol Rocco
This urban contemporary tale delves into the lives of the fortunate who have both power and freedom to do as they please. It revolves around Dee, her dead friends Gomez and Lim, blood-hungry sociopath sisters Twinkle and Candy, their friend Bing, wealthy father and son Congressman Ramirez and Rex.
“The film is about lost chances and how wealth and power make you lose your moral compass,” says Legarda.
11) PALITAN by Ato Bautista
Cast: Mon Confiado, Alex Medina, Mara Lopez
Palitan is an erotic, psychological drama-thriller set in the gritty street of Raon, Quiapo, Manila, a 3rd-world commercial avenue where everything from dildos, car parts, home appliances to other electronic gadgets are sold.
Ill-tempered Nestor (Alex Medina) becomes buried in bad debt and costly favors from his cunning boss, Ramiro (Mon Confiado). But love-starved and porn-tired Ramiro wants more than money from Nestor: he wants Nestor’s young, lovely common-law wife, Luisa (Mara Lopez).
This film is Bautista’s tribute to his favorite film, Peque Gallaga’s Scorpio Nights.
12) PASCALINA by Pam Miras (First feature debut)
Cast: Maria Veronica Santiago, Peewee O’Hara, Cara Eriguel, Alex Vincent Medina
After a series of unpleasant events in her life, Pascalina receives news that her Aunt Taba is dying but cannot do so unless she passes on a curse. Pascalina visits her dying aunt thinking that the news is only a big joke.
But Pascalina begins to experience changes in her life that will push her to the edge of madness and monstrosity.
13) SLUMBER PARTY by Emmanuel dela Cruz
Cast: Markki Stroem, Archie Alemania, RK Bagatsing, Sef Cadayona, Nino Muhlach
The film is set on the night of August 23, 2010 under the new administration of P-Noy. Two “major major” events are underway: the hostage-taking of HK nationals in Quirino Grand Stand and Venus Raj fighting for the Miss Universe crown.
Three gay friends decide to throw a slumber party as part of their yearly vigil to support the Philippine representative in Miss Universe. But the supposedly fun sleepover is cut-short when Jonel, a young frat boy, tries to rob the their “castle.”
For the complete schedule of Cinema One Originals, click here. – Rappler.com