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Monday, December 13, 2010

Cinemanila International Film Festival 2010 recap

I'm now in Dubai, took numerous photos and videos. But before I give you all updates of my misadventures there, I'll do a recap of Cinemanila International Film Fest first.

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I went to Cinemanila right after the Torino Film Festival/ Film Lab.

3rd of December. I arrived in Manila during the afternoon, I was picked up at the airport. I intended the festival to be one where I could rest, since the Torino schedule was so hectic.

"Well, for tonight, I'll just relax, and maybe catch the SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD screening." I told Raymond, who was picking me up. His day job is actually as a TV writer.

"Oh, I'm afraid you can't do it. The awards ceremony is tonight." Raymond said.

"What? But today's only the second day of the festival!" I was flabbergasted.

"Yes, but they wanted to get the awards out of the way first." Raymond said.

So... that evening, we went to the award ceremony.

Here are the trophies.

Trophies of Cinemanila

The ceremony was held at a place called Mogwai, a screening of short films was going on too. As you can see from the video below, the entire thing has a very fun and casual atmosphere.


Wafa, director of the KL Film Festival. She had never heard of my name. (I threw a fit and exclaimed "What? But I was the youngest Malaysian filmmaker to get into Venice Film Fest! Then I produced a film that went to Cannes this year and won a special mention at Tokyo Film Fest! I also won an award at the Pusan Film Fest two months ago and was on the papers quite a few times!", she insisted no, I was humbled and realized my sheer obscurity.)

With Wafa, KL Film Fest director

With Stephen Cremin, who now writes for Film Business Asia and was serving as jury in the festival. And Im Sang-soo, director of THE HOUSEMAID.

With Im Sang-Soo and Stephen Cremin

With Filipino actress Mercedes Cabral, she was in Brillante Mendoza's SERBIS, and also Park Chan-Wook's THIRST.

With Filipino actress Mercedes Cabral

Tikoy, founding director of Cinemanila, giving a speech.


Cinemanila 2010 Award Ceremony

Im Sang-Soo got a Best Director award.

Im Sang-Soo receives Best Director award

Joy Aquino won for the short film competition. She one-upped my short film KINGYO by using three screens instead of two.

Joy Aquino receives Best Short Film award

Mercedes Cabral was her leading lady.

Joy Aquino with leading actress Mercedes Cabral

Then I met Raymond Red.

In 2008, I won my first ever award in my directorial career at the BMW SHORTIES for Chicken Rice Mystery, and Raymond Red was president of the jury. I was already in Tokyo then, so I wasn't around to pick up my award, and never got the chance to meet him.

Until that night. Was great chit-chatting with him!

Me with Raymond Red

The Godfather of Filipino indie filmmaking Kidlat Tahimik was there too. Kidlat went to the TIGER FACTORY and INHALATION screening 2 days later. Awesome.

With godfather of Filipino films Kidlat Tahimik

The next day. 4th of December, I headed off to the screening of KANO, by Monster Jiminez, which won the Best Documentary award the night before. My friend Margie speaking before the screening.

Margie talking before KANO screening

Monster Jiminez talking after the screening.

Monster Jiminez talking after Kano screening

It was a very fine documentary about an American Vietnam War veteran Victor Pearson surrounding himself with a harem of Filipino women and wives, and the events that led to a conviction of rape and 80 years in prison. Here is its trailer.

Kano trailer

You can read a KANO review here.

I then went off to catch the screening of the short films. All four of them were pretty accomplished.

Here's Joy Aquino, and Mikhail Red (son of Raymond, just turned 19 yesterday), after the screening of the shorts. Mikhail also got a jury prize.

The audiences were quiet, so I ended up being an unofficial moderator by throwing them questions. Both of them are so young (Joy's 22) that I feel slightly envious that they were able to jump into filmmaking that soon. Though often I proclaimed myself a wunderkind, encountering these young gifted Filipino filmmakers made me feel old.

Mikhail would also go to my screening the following day.

Mikhail Red and Joy Aquino after short film screenings

On the 5th of December, I was there to talk before the screening of INHALATION and THE TIGER FACTORY (with Tikoy).

Me and Tikoy before Inhalation/The Tiger Factory screening

And after the screening too, this time with Anima, Tikoy's daughter, and current festival director.

me with Anima after Inhalation/ Tiger Factory screening

me with Anima after Inhalation/ Tiger Factory screening 2

Once again I meet my pal Sheron Deyoc, director of HALAW, and his actress Maria Isabel Lopez. (we first met in Pusan, then in Tokyo). Girl next to me was Mara Isabella Lopez Yokohama, Maria Isabel's daughter, also an actress.

With Sheron Deyoc and actresses  Maria Isabel Lopez and Mara Isabella Lopez Yokohama (they're mother and daughter

December 6. I left Manila.

This was my room in Holiday Inn Manila. Lavish hotel that's just next to the multiplex (festival venue) and shopping mall. Very convenient.

My room in Holiday Inn Manila

My room in Holiday Inn Manila 2

It was a great trip, and the guerrilla style of this film fest was definitely part of its appeal.