Having been in the industry as a multi-hyphenated filmmaker for almost a decade and a half, Joselito Altarejos finally receives his first Gawad Urian nomination that victoriously coincides with his perennial “muse” – actor Oliver Aquino’s Best Actor nomination as well.
Altarejos and Aquino worked on their fourth film together, Jino to Mari, a year before its festival release. Originally titled “Death by Gokkun,” it had been intended to be the festival opener of Sinag Maynila when it was postponed in its 2016 edition due to failing to secure a permit to exhibit for its highly sexual content The film is about two young sex workers who are hired to do a pornographic film on a remote island. Altarejos and Aquino’s next film, Walang Kasarian Ang Digmang Bayan, would also be pulled out by the same festival for its supposedly highly-charged political stance against the current government.
Entrepreneur and producer Dr. Carl Balita is actively campaigning for the public to stay home during the start of the quarantine until today not just to contain the virus but to also to help the health and service professionals who are the frontrunners in the field. Among the many strategies he launched was the “Video Home Festival(VHF)”, a short filmmaking competition anchored on the theme “lockdown.” The challenge of the competition is to create films based on the theme while observing quarantine guidelines using immediate technology, space, and casts available for the filmmakers.
“I knew that the filmmakers were oozing with creativity in the new normal and were itching to express their craft even with all the limitations of a quarantine experience,” says Dr. Carl. “We were surprised when after more than a month from our launch, entries came in from professionals, film students, and enthusiasts.”
Dr. Carl expounded the festival to raise funds for the industry workers through the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund). Being a film producer himself and within the circle of show business, heis aware of the current plight of the industry players. Mowelfund Board Member Boots Anson-Rodrigo and President RezCortez welcome the idea and are exploring new partnership opportunities with Dr. Carl and his company, Dr. Carl Balita Review Center (CBRC) on how to bring the collaboration to a more productive level. Festival Director Jek David notes that some of the entries have international caliber, highlighting the quarantine experience of the filmmakers.
What holds a film together when one of the main elements becomes absent or voluntarily removed?
Before the advent of sound, films were devoid of dialogs and diegesis as modern history painstakingly moved along. Intertitles were inserted long before they were followed as conventions. At most, every aspect of modern day inventions would become a learning journey toward the development of world cinema. In fact, in the earlier years, films from the post-invention had been far more superior than their more technologically equipped successors (Arnheim, 1932). They could be true in essence because of their inherent qualities and characteristics to fill what wasn’t there yet. There simply was more time and less impact of ascendancy to allow creating more spaces for expansive projects.
British filmmaker and actor, Charles Chaplin caught on earlier with the power of the language of film. Story becomes king and execution is everything. And in the more profound method of analyzing films, structural-linguistic theory is by its essence a more substantial philosophy to deliberate and consider. And by understanding the very foundation of film history and its nuclear core, there may be a conceivable inference to achieving a sort of objectivity in studying every element that a film presents as a whole. Quite possibly, even if one or two components is missing, its effectiveness rests mostly on whether its desired effects reach it audience. A film may be subjectively incomplete, but it will always be inimitably a creation of its own.
In an attempt to still deliver quality stories amidst a global pandemic, Cinemalaya goes digital this year with 10 short films slated for its main competition. These films can be accessed via VIMEO on August 7-16, 2020. Select titles will be available via iWant and TFC after the festival.
The main entries can be rented in bundles that cost only P75. The complete package that includes retrospective shorts and full-length features, talkbacks, and fringe events costs P350.
I fell in love with Gameboys right off the first episode, faster than the lead character Cairo could say PLAY to being wooed which set off the story of the series. In just a little over 10 minutes it was already apparent that the show is something special, not just in comparison with shows of the same genre, but even compared to the near-endless list of shows available online for streaming.
Gameboys is headlined by Elijah Canlas (Kalel 15, LSS, Edward, Sundalong Kanin) who plays Cairo and Kokoy de Santos (Fuccbois, Tumbang Preso) as Gavreel. Both actors have acclaimed performances in festival movies in the past and have been acting since they were kids. Meanwhile, the supporting cast Adriana So (Pearl) and Kyle Velino (Terrence) are regulars in local television shows. This is important to note because the quality of performances in Gameboys sets it apart from the other local BL (Boys Love) series that were produced and released during the same period.
The show benefits from a well-written screenplay by Ash Malanum (Unforgettable, Kiko Boksingero), set design by Nestor Abrogena Jr. (Mananaggal sa Unit 23B) which effectively creates a believable personality for the characters, and a soundtrack that you can play on a loop for days. These are all put together with ease by Ivan Andrew Payawal (I America) to create a contemporary story that does not feel confined by the limitations of its medium.
From the get-go, it would seem like TBA Studios’ Write About Love has everything going for it: a fresh take on the rom-com genre, a winning soundtrack, and a multi-talented cast.
But despite some early favorable feedback from its premiere screening, the film struggled in the first few days of the 45th Metro Manila Film Festival as many moviegoers instead trooped to see the usual family comedies headlined by stars that have been dominating the annual Christmas season festival for years.
Write About Love, which opened on Christmas Day was even pulled out from cinemas where it did not perform as well as the expected top grossers.