While the theme of this year’s Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival is “Wings of Vision,” the materials in it are indeed visionary and they can transport in the air the thoughts and ideas and feelings of each film, full-length or short. Cinemalaya is a breakthrough year in and year out with its respective entries mirroring and defining the moments in time anytime and any setting.
Fresh insights and novel ideas are always the pride of the festival that new perspectives in independent filmmaking are achieved no matter the limitations in logistics and resources especially financial. Each creative filmmaker involved in the making of every Cinemalaya edition is armed with resourcefulness, boldness and earnestness to be at par with any artist worth his or her salt.
Take the case of Aureaus Solito in 2005 during the 1st Cinemalaya in his daring yet experimental “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros,” a coming of age in gaiety and his true and grit identity in Maximo Oliveros. The film became one of the most beloved and memorable entries in the fest’s opening salvo. It has also become one of the most outstanding films of the millennium in the annals of the prestigious Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino or MPP.
Although Aureaus had another chance given by Cinemalaya in “Pisay,” a foray into the colorful socio-cultural life of the students of Philippine Science High School in the 80s during the Marcos dictatorship, his “Maximo” was the real trailblazer and game-changer in his indie kind of moviemaking and particularly, in gay lit.
When Solito returned to Cinemalaya in 2011 for his personal film on environment and the indigenous peoples of Palawan, “Busong (Palawan Fate),” he renamed himself to his real ethnic name, Kanakan-Balingtagos. Even if he repackaged himself in another persona, the real essence of the original name and individual might be the same in spirit. True enough because he was able to even conquer the elite Cannes International Film Festival.
Other important filmmakers which Cinemalaya molded and presented are Loy Arcenas (“Niño,” “Requieme” etc), Jim Libiran (“Tribu”), Hannah Espina (“Transit”), Chris Martinez (“Ang Babae sa Septic Tank,” “100” etc), Treb Montreras II (“Respeto”), Alvin Yapan (“Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa,” “Ang Panggahasa kay Fe” etc), Eduardo Roy, Jr. (“Quick Change,” “Pamilya Ordinaryo” etc), Veronica Veloso (“Last Supper No. 3”), Francis Xavier Pasion (“Jay,” “Sampaguita” and “”Bwaya”), Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil (“Boses”) and a whole lot of many daring filmmakers born in each Cinemalaya chapter.
The past films could also be labeled visionaries and carrier of thoughts and feelings for the good of humankind especially the Filipinos.
In this 14th year of Cinemalaya, there will be an additional names and faces to be remembered as history of the independent cinema.
From among the ten competing films in the full-length features, the following are to be tested and be followed in their aesthetics and invaluable contributions to the local movie industry:
“Distance” by Percival Intalan; “Kung Paano Hinihintay ang Dapithapon (Waiting for Sunset)” by Carlo Enciso Catu; “Kuya Wes” by James Robin Mayo; “Liway” by Kip Oebanda; “Mamang” by Denise O’Hara; “ML” by Benedicto Mique Jr.; “Musmos na Sumibol sa Gubat ng Digma (Unless the Water is Safer than the Land)” by Iar Lionel Arondaing; “Pan De Salawal (The Sweet taste of Salter Bread and Undies)” by Che Espiritu; “School Service” by Luisito Lagdameo Ignacio; and, “The Lookout” by Afi Africa.
2018 Cinemalaya runs from August 2 to 13, 2018 at CCP and selected Ayala cinemas.