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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro City’s premier development film festival is all set for its opening night on Friday, December 15, the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Tropical Storm Sendong tragedy, which it commemorates.
Now on its fourth iteration following a break brought by the global pandemic, Cine de Oro Film Festival IV will run from December 15-17 at Karumata, Macasandig and Limketkai Cinemas, Lapasan.
Orpheus Nery, festival director, disclosed how the CDOFF was initiated by a passionate group of filmmakers from Cagayan de Oro as an advocacy project to cultivate audiences for local films and encourage filmmakers from across the country.
“Most Kagay-anon are familiar only with Hollywood, Netflix, and Korean movies, but cinema goes beyond these avenues and we would like to highlight that in this edition of the festival by showcasing local and national works,” Nery said.
“The festival aspires to cultivate a diverse audience, encouraging local artists to step out of their comfort zones, and share stories that resonate globally.”
Spanning three days, the festival is not just a celebration but a launchpad for emerging talents in the art of filmmaking. The main competition features outstanding home-grown short films from Cagayan de Oro, showcasing the richness of Kagay-anon storytelling.
“We noticed how many Kagay-anon filmmakers have returned to film making so we opted to have a main competition for them, just like in our inaugural festival. This marks the return of CDO-made shorts since our inaugural edition in 2019,” noted Joe Bacus, CDOFF Founder.
The six Kagay-anon films entered in the main competition include Desilya directed by Toni Cañete, a filmmaker based in Cagayan de Oro and a recent film graduate from the University of the Philippines Diliman; One Late Evening by Ryan Lao, a BS Development Communication graduate who’s currently taking his master’s degree in Media Studies (Film) at UP Diliman, and a protégé of Peque Gallaga; and Ang Pagputol directed by Ela Figura, a BA Theater Arts graduate from UP Diliman who’s also an artist under Off The Record under Sony Music Entertainment.
Also on the list: On My 18th directed by Joseph Marc Salas, an events host, theater actor, and student filmmaker based in Cagayan de Oro who’s currently a Grade 12 HUMSS student from St. Mary’s School of Cagayan de Oro and one of the executive producers of Paper Plane Films, a student filmmaking organization that aims to share “stories from the naked lenses of the youth.” P’Do is directed by Fernando Omboy, who heads Circulo De Entablado and directing CDO-Incinema; and lastly, OKRA, IT’S LIFE is directed by Geniny Galo, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Phinma-Cagayan de Oro College.
“Instead of having two sub-categories for the open competition for filmmakers from outside Cagayan de Oro City, we decided to just have one,” Bacus added.
The 10 entries in the Open Category include Ang Pamilyang Maguol (Jermaine Tulbo, a filmmaker and graphics designer from Mindanao; End Times (Conrad Dela Cruz); Gatas (James Damasin, a Monkayeño writer and filmmaker); Kiang (Mariya Lim, a Cebu-based filmmaker and graduate of the University of San Carlos Cinema Program); Nalumos Akong Papa sa Sabaw (JP Corton, Ormoc City); Diak Kayat Magna Maisa (Mikael Joaquin, Bolinao, Pangasinan); Ikaw at Aking Daigdig (Aki Red, Pasay City) HITO (Stephen Lopez, BS Nursing graduate of UST); Congratulations, DX! (Mark Felix Ebreo, Assistant Director in the MMFF Best Film Deleter (2023) and Script Continuity Supervisor in Drag You & Me); and lastly, the river that never ends (JT Trinidad, Pandacan, Manila).
The festival will also feature special screenings of Animal Lovers (Aedrian Araojo, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay) and Jino to Mari (Jay Altarejos), Antonio’s Secret (in Tagalog Ang Lihim ni Antonio), Kambyo, The Game of Juan’s Life (in Tagalog Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan), Pink Halo-Halo, Unfriend, The Commitment (in Tagalog Kasal), and Tale of the Lost Boys, which have been celebrated at international LGBTQ+ film festivals.
Scheduled as the festival’s kick-off on December 15 and directed by Kagay-anonfFilmmaker Bani Logrono, Valor: The Legacy of Col. Emmanuel V. De Ocampo immerses viewers in the captivating life of Colonel Emmanuel V. De Ocampo, who was only an 18-year-old ROTC cadet when he first joined the Hunters ROTC Guerrillas during World War II.
The guerillas stole firearms from the enemy and fought against Japanese invaders all throughout Southern Luzon. De Ocampo himself stood out as a fierce combatant and an inspirational guerrilla leader in many of his battles and operations. Eventually, Col. De Ocampo became the commander of the 47th Hunters ROTC Division. He defeated many of the strongest Japanese forces in the Philippines, including the Japanese Imperial Marines in the Battle of Fort McKinley and Nichols Field.
Logroño said he created his documentary films – Unsurrendered 2: The Hunters ROTC Guerrillas, Valor: The Legacy Col. Emmanuel V. De Ocampo, and Honor: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos – to remind younger Filipinos about the heritage of heroism gifted to them by our valiant veterans.
Born in Australia in 1992, Logroño grew up in Cagayan de Oro City and went to school at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan until his family moved to the US in 1999. He studied filmmaking in the International Academy of Film and Television in Mactan, Cebu.
Eighteen years later, he returned in triumph to Cagayan de Oro where his films Unsurrendered 2 and Valor were screened as part of a film festival celebrating the 75th Anniversary of General Douglas MacArthur’s arrival in Cagayan de Oro following his celebrated Breakout from Corregidor in March 11-13, 1942.
The closing film, Topografia by Gutierrez Mangansakan II, is a profound exploration of friendship, choices, and the complex landscapes of Mindanao. Drawing from the shared universe of Teng’s 2016 film Moro2mrw: Daughters of the Three-Tailed Banner, Topografia is an exploration into the story of lifelong friends navigating the intricacies of their futures. – Rappler.com