As Country-of-Focus at the ongoing Singapore Media Festival, the rich stories, talents, and achievements of the Filipinos are highlighted in several constituent events.
The festival brings together five key events namely Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF), the newly-minted Asian Academy Creative Awards (AAA), the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), Screen Singapore, and SMF Ignite.
“Fresh off a new wave that began in the 2000s, Philippine cinema has since matured into a thriving industry with rich stories and diverse talents. To celebrate one hundred years of Philippine Cinema, we are proud to present a selection of films and filmmakers across our programmes,” read a part in the festival guide.
Under the Silver Screen Awards are “The Imminent Immanent (Baga’t Diri Tuhay Ta’t Pamahungpahung)” by Carlo Francisco Manatad; “Manila Is Full Of Men Named Boy” by Andrew Stephen Lee; “Judgement” by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez; and “Please Stop Talking (Wag Mo ’Kong Kausapin)” by Josef Gacutan all part of the contest under the Southeast Asian Short Film Competition.
For the inaugural AAA, Filipino celebrities are nominated, particularly Maja Salvador for Best Actress in a Leading Role: “Wildflower” by ABS-CBN; Miguel Tanfelix for Best Actor in a Leading Role: “Kambal Karibal” by GMA Network; Kyline Alcantara for Best Actress in a Supporting Role: “Kambal Karibal” by GMA Network; Gabby Eigenmann for Best Actor in a Supporting Role: “Contessa” by GMA Network; and Michael V. for Best Comedy Performance: “Pepito Manaloto” by GMA Network.
Mikhail Red’s “Eerie” also had a screening as part of the Special Presentation section last Dec. 3. at the Capitol Theatre. Its World Premiere was graced by lead stars Bea Alonzo and Charo Santos-Concio.
The movie is about girls of St Lucia Convent who are dying mysteriously — and their deaths may be related to a student suicide committed years before.
It’s Mikhail’s first foray into the horror genre.
The films are “The Ashes And Ghosts Of Tayug 1931 (Dapol Tan Payawar Na Tayug 1931)” which is Christopher Gozum’s layered historical docudrama centered on a forgotten Filipino revolutionary who led a peasant revolt against American colonialism. Then “Nervous Translation” which is Shireen Seno’s magical realist tale of the fantastical world dreamed up by a young girl left to her own devices in her Manila home. And lastly “Season Of The Devil (Ang Panahon Ng Halimaw)” which is Lav Diaz’s newest bleak and surreal musical drama set in the brutal era of martial law in the Philippines.
Brillante Mendoza’s “Alpha, The Right To Kill” is under the Midnight Mayhem Feature. The gritty social-realist thriller is about a corrupt police officer and his drug-pusher mole struggling to survive amid the Philippines’ war on drugs. The film will have its Southeast Asian Premiere on Dec. 7.
The Southeast Asian Film Lab which “provides an intimate and collaborative setting for Southeast Asian filmmakers embarking on their first feature-length film,” sees Raya Martin as one of the mentors.
Phyllis Grae Grande will screen “Everybody Leaves” which is about a Japanese-Filipina exchange student in Japan who spends her last semester cleaning the houses of people who died lonely deaths, while also searching for her estranged Japanese father.
Jean Cheryl Tagyamon’s “Judy Free” is about a father who has been working abroad for eight years. He intrudes upon his young daughter when he comes home to the Philippines as an animated doodle figure.
In celebrating Asian storytelling, this year’s SGIFF theme is “Let the magic in.”
The venues for the festival are at the Capitol Theatre (CAP), The Cathay (CAT), Filmgarde Bugis+ (FG), National Gallery Singapore (GA), National Museum of Singapore (NMS), Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film (OBJ), and SCAPE (SCA).
The SGIFF was established 1987 and it is the largest and longest-running film event in Singapore.
(Stephanie Marie Bernardino, mb)