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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.

Oct 8, 2018

QCinema Filmfest Features Five Intriguing Entries Led By Dan Villegas' Movie About People In Purgatory, 'Hintayan Ng Langit'

QCINEMA FILMFEST is now on its 6th year and will feature FIVE Circle Competition entries from ;October 21 to 30, 2018 at Gateway Cineplex 10, Trinoma Mall, Robinsons Movieworld Galleria, Greenbelt 1, UP Town Center, SM City North EDSA, SM Megamall, SM Manila, and SM Mall of Asia. Past QCinema entries that gained much acclaim include “Patay na si Hesus” (also a surprise box office hit), “Manananggal sa Unit 23 B”, “Neo Manila” and last year’s best picture winner, “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness”, that also won in the FAMAS and Urian Awards.

This year, there are only five entries in the main Circle Competition: “Oda sa Wala” by Dwein Baltazar (writer of the hit mainstream film, “Exes Baggage”). It stars Pokwang as Sonya, an old maid whose family business is a funeral home where she embalms the dead. She is about to lose hope and give up on life when she meets a corpse that totally changes her life.

“Billie and Emma” by Samantha Lee, who has done the lesbian love story, “Baka Bukas”, before for Cinema One. This time, the sapphic love story is about Billie, a teenage rock star, and Emma, a model. Billie is considered a troublemaker so she is sent to the town of San Isidro to live with her old maid aunt. There, she meets Emma, a good daughter and student. They become friends and fall in love, exploring the fleeting nature of life and love together. Starring newcomers Gabby Padilla and Zar Donato in the lead roles, Ryle Santiago as the boyfriend and Beauty Gonzales as Gabby’s mom.

“Dog Days: Pinoy Hoop Dreams” by Timmy Harn. This is about half black, half Pinoy young man who wants to be the Filipino Michael Jordan and thinks he is given special powers to achieve this. The film shows how he pursues his destiny as a top basketball star. Harn’s first film, “Pagbabalat ng Ahas”, was shown in Cinema One 2013.

“Hintayan Ng Langit” originally written by Juan Miguel Severo as a Virgin Labfest play, this is now directed by Dan Villegas. It’s about the souls in purgatory who are waiting to be transferred to heaven. This stars Eddie Garcia and Gina Pareno as former lovers on earth, Manolo and Lisang, who married other partners but meet again after they died in the waiting station for souls, originally played on stage by Nonoy and Edna Froilan. As they recall their past lives, secrets are revealed about them. Dan Villegas is the indie director who has successfully crossed over to mainstream cinema with such hits as “English Only, Please”, “Walang Forever” and “Exes Baggage”, but continues to do indie flicks like “Changing Partners” which won him the Cinema One best director plum last year.

“Masla A Papanok (The Giant Bird)” by Gutierrrez Teng Mangansakan. A period film set in the 1890s, this is the story of a princess who escapes from an arranged marriage and seeks refuge in a convent and a young prince she meets. Then after a long absence, an ancient bird mysteriously appears in Maguindanao and is taken as a sign "foretelling the fall and rise of colonial empires." Mangansakan’s first film was “Limbunan (Bridal Quarter)”, a Cinemalaya entry also set in Maguindanao at got several nominations in the 2010 Urian Awards.

Two films that qualified but later backed out and didn’t make it in the final lineup are “Panata sa Bundok Gulsuk” by Jordan de la Cruz and “Sila-Sila” by Gian Carlo Abrahan.
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