Cinemanila, the festival, traces its roots to the desire of continuing the legacy of Lino Brocka. In 1974, the great filmmaker created “Cinemanila,” an independent production outfit. With immortal classics like Mortal and Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang, Brocka was able to associate Cinemanila to films that are uniquely Filipino yet able to play to international markets. In turn, Cinemanila the film festival was envisioned to be a nurturing environment for the future of the Filipino film industry. By exposing them to international-caliber films, Cinemanila aimed to rouse the yearning among young and upcoming filmmakers to be more globally competitive and to be optimistic that they too can create world-class films worthy of exhibition abroad.
Since its inception in 1999, the Cinemanila International Film Festival (CIFF) has endeavored to revive the Philippines as the center of Southeast Asian cinema and encourage the creation of international caliber, yet uniquely Filipino films. Over the years, the major goals of the Festival have been to 1.) Nurture young Filipino directors by providing them with the opportunity to see to the best of World Cinema, which would otherwise be unavailable to them; 2.) Unearth new talents in the Philippines and Southeast Asia in order for the Philippines to become the hub of Southeast Asian films; and 3.) Create a revitalized Filipino Film Industry that will become a major player in the Asian Content Industry. For the past 11 years, Cinemanila has championed the spirit of independent filmmaking and has given tributes to master filmmakers and their groundbreaking films.
The central features of the festival are Philippine Cinema and Southeast Asian Cinema, or SEA Cinema. The direction and framework of the festival have provided the focus for its programs to provide to the world a window on Philippine cinema in particular and Southeast Asian cinema in general.
In previous editions of the festival, film luminaries such as iconic director Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill), Indonesian actress/producer & Cannes International Film Festival Jury member Christine Hakim, Filipino-American actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Tia Carrere, Academy Award-nominated Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles (City of God, Constant Gardener), have graced Cinemanila and conducted Master Class workshops to an enthusiastic audience of Southeast Asian filmmakers.
Welcome. This is Cinemanila.
CINEMANILA has always stood for two things:
the promotion of Filipino films to world cinema audiences and of world cinema to Filipino audiences; and the development of new and independent Filipino filmmakers. The central features of the festival are Philippine cinema and Southeast Asian Cinema, or SEA Cinema.
The direction and framework of the festival have provided the focus for its programs to provide to the world a window on Philippine cinema in particular and Southeast Asian cinema in general.
The goals of CINEMANILA are to:
- to nurture young Filipino directors and unearth new talents in the Philippines and Southeast Asia in order for the Philippines to become the hub of Southeast Asian films.
- to create content that will make a major contribution to the development of the bigger picture which is the Asian Content Industry.
- to revitalize the Filipino Film Industry that will become a major player in the development of the Asian Content Industry.
On October 16, 2008 the Cinemanila International Film Festival will blow out the first 10 candles on its cake. Opening the festivities is the HK caper Sparrow by maverick director Johnny To.
With sparse dialogue and scenes mostly driven by music and facial interplay, Sparrowdepicts the entanglement of a group of Hong Kong pickpockets with a dashing but mysterious beauty. The film premiered at the 58th Berlin International Film Festival where it was selected in competition. Sparrow also marks another milestone in the illustrious career of Johnny To.
To first gained recognition in the box office hit All About Ah-Long starring Chow Yun-Fat. He has then formed Milkyway Image, a production house that specializes in cost-efficient independent films. His 2005 hit Election was hailed by Quentin Tarantino as one of the best films of the year. In 2007, To was honored as “Filmmaker in Focus” at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.