MANILA, Philippines - A more varied batch. That, in a nutshell, is how Laurice Guillen, Cinemalaya competition director, describes the 10 digital films participating in the latest edition of the four-year-old film fest.
?There are films that share a common topic,? she explains.
As examples, she points out that ?Concerto? and ?Boses? feature musicians as main characters, while ?Jay? and ?Huling Pasada? tackle media responsibility.
?Even if the themes are similar, the treatment is not the same,? Guillen says. ?I?m happy with what I?ve seen so far.?
According to Guillen, Robbie Tan, chair of the production and monitoring team, has expressed ?excitement? over this year?s batch.
Tan confirms this in a separate interview. ?We took risks in choosing the 10 finalists. Some of these films are difficult to mount,? he notes.
The mere fact that all 10 have finished principal photography in time augurs well for this year?s film fest which opens July 10, says Tan. ?Hopefully, no one will drop out of the competition, unlike in previous years.?
Guillen says that it?s now ?crunch time for the filmmakers.? She also notes that ?3 out of the 10 entries would inevitably stand out. But there are always pleasant surprises, like ?Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros? in the first year.?
As in previous years, this year?s Cinemalaya has attracted a number of mainstream actors.
Chris Martinez?s ?100? features Mylene Dizon, Tessie Tomas and Eugene Domingo. Francis Xavier Pasion?s ?Jay? has Coco Martin and Baron Geisler. Paul Morales? ?Concerto? has Meryll Soriano and Jay Aquitania. Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil?s ?Boses? has Cherry Pie Picache, Ricky Davao and violinist Coke Bolipata. Tara Illenberger?s ?Brutus? has Yul Servo and Ronnie Lazaro.
Jay Abello?s ?Namets? has Christian Vazquez, Angel Jacob, Monsour del Rosario and director Peque Gallaga. Michael Christian Cardoz?s ?Ranchero? has Gary Lim, Archie Adamos and Jess Evardone. Paul Sta. Ana?s ?Huling Pasada? has Agot Isidro, Jao Mapa, Dimples Romana, John Manalo, Neil Ryan Sese and Irma Adlawan. Joel Ruiz?s ?Baby Angelo? has Ces Quesada, Katherine Luna and Mark Gil.
Only Onnah Valera?s ?My Fake American Accent? used a cast of stage actors, says Tan.
This year?s batch of filmmakers received P500,000 from Cinemalaya and an additional P100,000 from the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Tan reports.
Also, ?Ranchero? has been chosen to take part in the Paris Project of the Festival Paris Cinema next month.
?The film will have a private screening there. The director and producer will be flown to France to meet foreign distributors and investors for possible co-production and/or distribution deals,? explains Tan.
The indie film fest is spearheaded by the Cinemalaya Foundation, Cultural Center of the Philippines, UP Film Institute and Econolink Investments, Inc.