Tuesday, August 1, 2023



With the Special Screening Section, the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival aims to provide the most diverse cinematic experiences to its audiences, including films and theater shorts from the Asian Film Alliance Network (AFAN) and ShoutOut Pinas 2022 by Pelikulove, as well as short films by Cinemalaya alumni and filmmakers Ida Anita del Mundo. 

The AFAN category, curated by Lorna Tee, features internationally famous Asian short films such as Grandma by Anthony Chen, Guest by Yoon Ga Eun, Kara, the Daughter of a Tree by Edwin, It's Easier to Raise Cattle by Amanda Nell Eu, and Mountain Cat by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir. 

As Grandma's family gathers by her deathbed to send her off, director Anthony Chen confronts the imminent death of a loved one and the battle to come to grips with it. Grandma won a special mention at the 60th Cannes Film Festival, the Concours d'Excellence Award at the International Short Film Festival of L'Aquila, Italy, and the Asian Film Archive Young Jury Awards for Best Short Film. In Yoon Ga Eun's Guest, 16-year-old Ja-gyung storms into the home of her father's mistress and meets her two small children. Guest has visited the international short film circuit in South Korea, Brazil, and Canada, winning Best Director at the 5th KT&G Sangsangmadang Great Short Film Festival and the Vision Award at the 13th Seoul International Short Film Festival  13th Seoul International Youth Film Festival in 2011. In 2012, Guest won the Grand Prix award at the 34th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France and participated in festivals in the United States, the Czech Republic, Italy, England, Ukraine and Australia. 

Edwin's Kara, the Daughter of a Tree is about a young girl who lives in a remote area. Her father vanished after Ronald murdered her mother. The intrusion of a journalist into her life prompts her to seek out Ronald and ask him the ultimate question. Kara, the Daughter of a Tree was the first Indonesian film to be selected for the Cannes Film Festival's Director's Fortnight in 2005. It was also included in the Short: Asian Hot Houses section of the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2006.

It's Easier to Raise Cattle by Amanda Nell Eu is the story of two young outcasts who create an extraordinary relationship in their secluded community. As one finds the other's terrible secrets, she witnesses her new friend's transformation into aggression, monstrosity, and affection. Eu's film was screened at eight film festivals in 2017, 31 in 2018, and four in 2019. The short won Best International Short at the 2018 Lago short Festival, as well as Best Female Filmmaker at the 2018 Vienna Shorts. It's Easier to Raise Cattle also garnered honors at the 2017 Uppsala International Short Film Festival, the 2018 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, and the 2018 Silhouette Film Festival. In 2019, the  film received the Special Citation award from the Ngilngig Fantastic Film Festival. 

A distressed adolescent girl is persuaded into consulting a local shaman for spiritual healing in Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir's Mountain Cat. She achieves physical relief by unleashing her repressed, youthful energy on the unsuspecting shaman when she realizes his actual identity, trapped by ancient beliefs that serve mainly to pacify her mother. Mountain Cat was a part of the Cannes 2020 Official Selection. It also won the Sonje Award at the Busan International Film Festival in 2020. 

AFAN intends to establish an informal consultative collective of Asian film agencies with similar aspirations in order to collaborate more closely within the area and promote the development of a stronger Asian film culture. AFAN seeks to get out to the younger and more enthusiastic audiences attending Cinemalaya in order to get to know and understand them.

An anthology of film and theater shorts stringed together, ShoutOut Pinas 2022 by Pelikulove captures the varied situations many Filipino youth face today – their fears, struggles, and triumphs as they try to find their voice vis-à-vis their need for survival. The chosen entries from 62 pitches were partnered with film and theater groups around the country and mentored by a board of festival directors, namely, Ricky Lee, Rody Vera, Jeffrey Jeturian, Issa Manalo Lopez, Raffy Tejada, and Cristina Juan of Sulat-UK.

The anthology includes: How to Make an Effective Campaign Ad by Roman Perez Jr.; No Trespassing by Julius De la Peña and Dada Grifon; When A Manananggal Loves A Man by Neil Arkhe P. Azcuna; Libro for Ransom by Arjanmar H. Rebeta; and Quarantine 5 by Sari Saysay.

How to Make an Effective Campaign Ad features two young videographers who set out to shoot an ad campaign for an imprisoned governor inside the Maximum-Security Prison and discover how it is to fall into the mercy of power. 

In No Trespassing, two young journalists travel to Negros Island to cover the killing of sugarcane farmers who are standing up for their land rights and end up with a dangerous dilemma of putting their story, the farmers’, and their own lives at risk.

When A Manananggal Loves A Man tells the story of a young manananggal caught in a relationship with a mortal man is forced to choose between saving and protecting her kind or making a case for her love.

An award-winning broadcast journalist needs to find out the real story behind the 1961 theft for ransom of the most famous novels of Jose Rizal, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, in Libro for Ransom. Pitted against the popularity of new media and the prevalence of fake news, she and her newbie partner do everything beyond the typical documentary to save her show, her reputation, and her commitment to truth.

Quarantine 5 tackles an online reunion of ex-student activists turns into a guild-ridden confrontation as they learn of their comrade, recently red-tagged and missing in action at the height of the 2020 pandemic. It turns out to be a spiral of brazen confrontation about their political contradictions, unresolved wounds in their past, disillusionment, and remorse – all surfacing in the face of the looming terror law challenging the power of friendship and shared dreams.

Cinemalaya alumni and filmmaker Ida Anita del Mundo’s Never Forget and Anna, Greta, Sophie, and the Rainforest complete the Cinemalaya Special Screenings Section. 

Never Forget is del Mundo’s first venture into the Filipino-American struggle with history, memory, and identity. It centers on Filipino-American Vera, her estranged father Pablo, and undocumented nurse Jhason as they grapple with their discoveries when Pablo’s dementia brings painful memories from his past to the surface. 

In Anna, Greta, Sophie, and the Rainforest, three generations of women use technology and memory to bring love and humanity into a desolate, dystopian wasteland. A mother and grandmother share the experience of discovering the forest, rain, and fresh air for the first time with a young girl who has only known a world where none of these exist anymore.

All Special Screenings Section exhibition films will be screened during the Cinemalaya run from August 4 to 13, 2023. 

For more information, visit the CCP website (www.culturalcenter.gov.ph) and the Cinemalaya website (www.cinemalaya.org). Follow the official CCP and Cinemalaya Facebook pages and other social media accounts in Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok.

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