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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 15, 2012

Many Very Promising Entries to the Cinemalaya Filmfest this July

THE CINEMALAYA FILMFEST is still in July but this early, some entries are creating an early buzz as the films all local film buffs should watch out for. On the forefront in the Director’s Showcase (for those who have already helmed three full length films) is writer-director Joey Reyes’ “Mga Mumunting Lihim (These Little Secret)” because it has a very mainstream cast led by Judy Ann Santos, Iza Calzado, Janice de Belen and Agot Isidro. Its blurb says: “Kung ang kamatayan ay pagtatapos, papapaano kung sa pagpanaw ng isang pinakamamahal mong kaibigan ay nabuksan ang iyong mga mata sa mga napakarami pang bagay na hindi mo inakala habang siya ay nabubuhay pa? Papaano kung sa napakaraming taon ay napakaraming mga sikreto ang itinago ninyo sa isa't isa... at nabunyag sa kamatayan?”

Next is writer-director Jun Lana’s “Bwakaw”, with Eddie Garcia playing a 75-year old gay man who has almost given up on life until he forms an unlikely friendship with an azkal (stray dog) he called Bwakaw. Also in the cast are Armida Siguion-Reyna, Gardo Versoza, Soxie Topacio, Alan Paule, Luz Valdez, Rez Cortez, Beverly Salviejo, Jonathan Neri, May-I Fabros, Soliman Cruz, Roni Bertubin, and Joey Paras.

Then there’s “Kalayaan” by writer-director Adolf Alix Jr. set in the contested Spratley Islands. This stars Zanjoe Marudo, Luis Alandy and Thai-Laotian actor Ananda Everingham (best known for the original 2004 Thai version of “Shutter” that was remade in Hollywood.)

Another entry to look forward to is “Posas”, a scathing look at the country’s warped justice system as seen from the experience of a lowly snatcher, played by Nico Antonio, who got nominated as best supporting actor in a past Cinemalaya entry, “Magkakapatid”. “Posas” is originally meant for director Jeffrey Jeturian, who backed out because he got busy directing a soap for ABS-CBN. He was replaced by Lawrence Fajardo (best known for last year’s “Amok”). “Posas” also stars Bangs Garcia, Wendy Valdez and last year Cinemalaya’s best supporting actor winner for “Nino”, Art Acuna.

In the New Breed Category (for neophyte filmmakers), a promising entry is “Aparisyon” as it stars two of the best indie actresses around: Mylene Dizon who won best actress for “100” and Jodi Sta. Maria who won best actress for “Sisa” and also stars in the controversial “Chassis” that has been rated X by the MTRCB. They play nuns in the story, along with Racquel Villavicencio (last year’s Cinemalaya best actress in Director’s Showcase for “Bisperas”), Fides Cuyugan Asencio and another best actress winner, Rustica Carpio (for “Lola”.) It’s written and directed by New York-based filmmaker Vincent Sandoval and is about a group of contemplative nuns who must grapple with an act of violence in the months leading to the declaration of Martial Law in 1972 (40 years ago this year.)