Cinemanila 2012 to bring back ‘Batang West Side’, pay tribute to O’Hara, Diaz-Abaya
A lean and mean lineup of competing local films will highlight the 14th edition of the Cinemanila International Film Festival which will take place at Market! Market! in Bonifacio Global City from December 5 to 11.
This was announced by Cinemanila founder Tikoy Aguiluz during a roundtable discussion with selected members of media and the film blogging community Friday.
Citing a limited budget and the holding of competing festivals like Cinema One at right around the same time, Aguiluz is quick to add that despite the “downsizing”, the quality of films that will be screened in both competition and in exhibition remains very high.
Leading the competing entries for the Digital Lokal section is Richard Somes’ “Supremo”, a biopic of Andres Bonifacio starring Alfred Vargas, which will have a special advanced screening on Bonifacio Day, November 30 ahead of the festival proper.
Other entries are “Obscured Histories and Silent Longings of Daguluan’s Children” by Teng Mangansakan, “Ang Paglalakbay Ng Mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim” by Arnel Mardoquio, “Taglish” by Gym Lymbera and “Colossal” by Whammy Alcazaren, which stars Mercedes Cabral and maverick filmmaker Lav Diaz.
Speaking of Diaz, Aguiluz also announced that the former’s groundbreaking five-hour classic, “Batang West Side”, will finally have its much-awaited homecoming. Since its Cinemanila premiere 11 years ago where it competed in the festival’s international section and won the NETPAC and Best Acting Ensemble awards, it has never been shown again in local cinemas.
Starring Yul Servo, Joel Torre, Gloria Diaz, Priscilla Almeda and Art Acuña, “Batang West Side” also won Best Asian Feature Film at the Singapore International Film Festival and was honored by the Gawad Urian as one of the 10 Best Films of the Decade (2000-2010).
It was also Diaz who found “Pusang Gala,” the “lost film” by the late multi-awarded director Mario O’Hara, that will also have its world premiere in this year’s Cinemanila as the festival’s way of paying its final respects.
A made for TV film produced by “Batang West Side” producer Tony Veloria over a decade ago, “Pusang Gala” also stars Janice de Belen, Ricky Davao, Gina Alajar and Yul Servo. It has remained inexplicably shelved until it was accidentally found by Diaz very shortly after O’Hara’s death.
Cinemanila is also set to pay tribute to the late Marilou Diaz-Abaya and will screen select films “that represent her 20-year career as a ‘vanguard of Philippine Cinema’, beginning with works that fearlessly confronted the realities of oppression, corruption and power—or lack thereof, as told by a woman who steadily carved a niche in the formerly predominantly masculine realm of the local film industry.”
Aguiluz noted that Diaz-Abaya was Cinemanila’s Director in Focus in 2002, and her film “Bagong Buwan” was screened in the international competition section.
Local films competing in the Young Cinema section in this year’s festival are “Aurora, My Aurora” by Janus Victoria, “Ang Prinsesa, Ang Prinsipe at si Marlborita” by Carl Papa, “Kabilang Dulo” by Bienvenido Ferrer III, and “Unawa” by Pamela Llanes Reyes.
As for the international films, Aguiluz said Cinemanila will release the complete lineup by next week. But he already confirmed that it will include “36”, the acclaimed low-budget debut by Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit which won top honors at the recent Busan International Film Festival in South Korea.
Austrian film “Amour”, predicted by experts as likely to be nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film category of next year’s Oscars, is also in the program.
For the third straight year, the City of Taguig will host and co-present Cinemanila, the longest running international film festival in the country.
Cinemanila’s 14th edition will open on December 4, 2012 and run from December 5 to 11 at Market! Market! Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
The Young Cinema Night outdoor screening will be held at Bonifacio High Street on December 7 while the Red Carpet Harana Awards Night will take place at the BGC amphitheater on December 8.