Cinemalaya 2016

Philippine Independent films are given more and more appreciation nowadays more than ever. A lot of different non-profit organizations are putting up a venue where filmmakers, especially the new breeds, can showcase their talents to a larger set of audiences. And it is quite surprising that people seem to be way more interested and enthusiastic about it than before.

At the entrance, there's this huge banner promoting the Philippine Independent Film Festival 2016 

Cinemalaya Foundation Inc. is one of the non-government organizations that aims to hone and amplify the skills of the already-talented filmmakers by setting up a Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival every year. It is a competition and a festival that usually takes place every July-August of each year. Competitors are given seed grant so they can fund their films.

It is interesting that the word 'Cinemalaya' is actually two words combined together "Cinema" and "Malaya" (Free) which means "a free cinema". This is very appropriate, in my opinion, considering the interesting and some rather controversial topics that cannot be found or usually regulated in mainstream movies but are welcomed in indie films. Indie filmmakers brave to tackle different economical, social, political, (and other) controversies and may even include rather sensitive materials such as sex, drugs, violence, LGBT, mental illnesses, crimes, etc. They allow use of some profanity to convey the truth and give emphasis to the scenes. Some of the contents may not be suitable for young audiences, though. That's true. But still, I believe these kinds of contents give awareness as it unmasks reality using films as a proven effective media.

Here's Cinemalaya 2016's Promo Video:

I find most of the films intriguing and very different to what we usually see in the mainstream or television that it keeps on piquing my interests. I first started to watch indie films, Cinemalaya entries in particular, last 2013, when a friend of mine introduced us to the festival. I was really amazed by how good the films come out provided the limitations in terms of budget. Since then, every year as a tradition, we make sure to support the industry by watching entries. Among my favorites are 'Babagwa (2013)', 'The Janitor (2014)' and 'Last Supper (entry from 2009, was shown again on 2015)'.

For this year's Cinemalaya film festival, we were able to get whole-day passes that cost Php 700.00 ($15+). You can watch up to 5 screenings on date (may be a combination of full length films and short films). Or you can also buy individual tickets if you wish to watch different movies on different schedules. Individual ticket costs Php 150.00. This price is relatively cheaper than the average cost of movie tickets. which makes me even more willing to patronize the festival, not to mention the kind of stories they share, different styles of direction, acting, etc.

People waiting for the film to start. This the main theater in CCP. All of the seats are taken before the film actually starts.

Here are the movies that we watched on August 7, 2016:
  1. Ang Bagong Pamilya ni Ponching (Ponching's New Family) - Main Competition, Full Length by Inna Salazar and Dos Ocampo
  2. Stranger (Kazakhstan,2015) - Vision of Asia, Full Length by Yermek Tursunov
  3. Shorts B: Butas (hole) by Richard Cawed, Ang Hapon ni Nanding (Nanding's Afternoon) by Rommel Tolentino, Get Certified by Isaias Zantua, Fish Out of Water by Mon AL Garilao, and Forever Natin by Cyrus Valdez
  4. Mercury is Mine - Main Competition, Full Length by Jason Paul Laxamana
  5. Lando at Bugoy (Lando and Bugoy) - Main Competition, Full Length by Victor Acedillo, Jr
Our tickets :)

Mercury is mine is my favorite in this batch (Though, I can't really say because I've only watched 5). I recommend you to watch it. I encourage you to watch all the films if you can. I am hoping to do so, however, my schedule doesn't allow me to.

Other Cinemalaya 2016 Entries are as follows:
[Photo:] Full Length Movies
[Photo:] Shorts A

[Photo:] Shorts B

We were able to watch some of the films on their gala night, the actors and people behind the scenes come up the stage to be recognized. Here are some pictures from the gala. (Sorry for the blurry shots :P)

Cast and crew of "Butas"

Cast and crew of "Mercury is Mine"
Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is the main venue of the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, but they also do multiple screenings in some selected Ayala Malls. We watched at the CCP where we usually do. The first movie (if you plan to watch 5 movies) starts at 10 am and the last film is shown at 9pm. The interval of each screening was about 2 hours and 45 mins including the length of the film. This schedule is only for the CCP screenings. You can view the full list of schedules and venues here. For more information about the films, you can checkout Cinemalaya's official website. The last screening date will be on the 14th of August, 2016.

You still have time to watch the films. Let's support our own movies and filmmakers. Mabuhay ang malayang pelikula!