Early Christmas presents from Cinemanila

The long wait is over. Cinemanila Internnational Film Festival together with the City of Taguig presents (pun intended) the movie line up for 2013:

  1. Harmony Lessons (Kazakhstan | Germany | France) Emir Baigazin
  2. The Missing Picture (Cambodia) Rithy Panh
  3. In Bloom (Georgia) Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß
  4. Countdown (Thailand) Nattawut Poonpiriya
  5. Mekong Hotel (Thailand | UK) Apichatpong Weerasethakul
  6. What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love (Indonesia) Mouly Surya
  7. The Act of Killing (Denmark | Norway | UK) Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, and an anonymous co-director
  8. Norte, hangganan ng kasaysayan (Philippines) Lav Diaz
  9. The Terror, Live (South Korea) Kim Byeong-woo
  10. Moebius (South Korea) Ki-duk Kim
  11. Almayer’s Folly Hanyut (Malaysia) U-Wei Haji Saari
  12. Stepping On The Flying Glass (Indonesia) Eugene Panji
  13. Peculiar Vacation and Other Illnesses (Indonesia) Yosep Anggi Noen
  14. Karaoke Girl (Thailand|USA) Visra Vichit-Vadakan
  15. More surprises to follow

2013 FILMS

The longest running international film festival in the Philippines continues to showcase distinctive films from various countries including Oscar entries for Best Foreign Films such as 2013 Camera d’Or awardee Anthony Chen’s Ilo-Ilo (Singapore), KleberMendonca’s Neighboring Sounds (Brazil) and 2013 Cannes Best Director Amat Escalante’s Heli (Mexico) all of which competing under Cinemanila World Cinema Section.


Another world-renowned film this year at Cinemanila is Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing. Elected by Sight and Sound their ‘film of the year’, The Act of Killing received worldwide critical acclaim for its powerful testament on mass murdering.

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn and anonymous (Co-directors)
Cast: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin, Ibrahim Sinik,Yapto Soerjosoemarno
A documentary that challenges former Indonesian death squad leaders to reenact their real-life mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers. The Act of Killing
Berlinale Panorama Prize of the Ecumenical Jury 2013
2013 Danish Academy Award for Best Documentary (Robert Award)
2013 Special Prize of the Danish Film Critics Association – Bodil Awards (SærBodil)
Grand Prize – CPH:DOX 2012
Grand Prix (Documentaire) – Festival de CinémaValenciennes 2013
Grand Prize of the Jury – Documenta Madrid 2013
Audience Award for Best Film – Documenta Madrid 2013
Grand Prix – Beldocs Belgrade International Documentary Film Festival 2013
Audience Award for Best Feature Film – FICUNAM Mexico City 2013
Best Film – Prague One World Festival 2013
Movies That Matter Award – ZagrebDox 2013
Critics Prize – Istanbul Independent Film Festival 2013
Gilda Vieira de Mello Prize – Geneva International Human Rights Film Festival 2013
Amnesty International Award – IndieLisboa 2013
Audience Award – Planete+ Doc Film Festival Warsaw 2013
Grand Prix DolnegoŚląska – Planete+ Doc Film Festival Warsaw 2013
Grand Prize – DocsBarcelona Film Festival 2013
Special Jury Award – Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013
Audience Award – Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013
Grand Prize – Biografilm Festival Italy 2013
Golden Chair – Grimstad Short and Documentary Film Festival 2013
Basil Wright Prize – Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival 2013
Aung San Suu Kyi Award – Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival 2013
The Stanley Kubrick Award for Bold and Innovative Filmmaking – Traverse City Film Festival 2013
Documentary Grand Prix – Batumi International Art Film Festival 2013
Best Nordic Documentary Award – Nordisk Panorama 2013
Press Jury Prize – Message to Man International Film Festival 2013
The Mayor’s Prize – Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2013
TroféuJanela de MelhorFilme (The Best Film) – VI JanelaInternacional de Cinema do Recife
Checkpoints Prize – Bergen International Film Festival 2013
Brtidoc Puma Impact Award 2013
Best Documentary – Gotham Independent Film Awards 2013
Best Documentary – European Film Awards 2013


Watch the trailer here:


The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
RithyPanh uses clay figures, archival footage, and his narration to recreate the atrocities Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge committed between 1975 and 1979.
The Missing Picture
Un Certain Regard 2013 Award
Cambodian entry for the Academy Awards Oscar 2014
Asian Filmmaker of the Year
Ostrovsky Award for Best Documentary in “Spirit of Freedom,” at 30th Jerusalem Film Festival 2013

RithyPanh’s exceptionally moving story of life under the Khmer Rouge starts with the premise of a missing photo. It is a picture that does not exist, an image that details the horrific murders committed by the rule during their four-year oppression.

Panh chooses to tell his story through the use of some old documentary footage, much of it propaganda filmed by the ruling party, and clay figures representing the characters in this horrific tale. Initially, the idea of seeing these miniature figures for 95 minutes might seem daunting or dull. Instead, they assume an emotive resonance, their minutely carved faces and bodies carrying an evocative clout. This is thanks to the detail of the scenes created and to the voiceover (Randal Douc) recounting Panh’s happy childhood and family life before the ill-fated 17 April 1975, when the revolutionary troops swept into Phnom Penh, leading to over two million people abandoning their homes to make the long march from the capital towards an uncertain and fearful future. This future meant the elimination of anything created under capitalism, including cars and medicines, leading to a return to ancient methods and customs.

Watch the trailer here:


In Bloom (Georgia, Germany, France)
Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross’ coming-of-age drama set during Georgia’s civil war has been scooping up awards worldwide.
Director: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Groß

Cast: LikaBabluani, Mariam Bokeria

In Bloom

Tbilisi, Georgia, 1992: The Soviet era is over and Georgia must fend for itself. Civil war is raging in the province of Abkhazia. For Natia and Eka, the barely fourteen-year-old protagonists of Grzelinatelidgeebi, childhood is coming to an end. Eka is growing up without her father, rebelling against her concerned mother and her older sister. And Natia’s father, a choleric alcoholic, terrorises the entire family. The two friends cannot find peace outside of the family either – not in school, not on the street, and not in the bread lines. Chaos, insecurity, and fear of what the future might bring hold sway in everyday life. An admirer gives Natia a pistol with one single bullet. A little later, she’s abducted by another admirer.

The film premiered at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, winning the C.I.C.A.E. Prize.
Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards. 


Watch the trailer here:


What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love (Indonesia)
Moving musical and cinematic composition help Mouly Surya’s film depict visually impaired teens and their first experiences with love.
Director/Screenwriter:Mouly Surya
Casts: Nicholas Saputra, Ayushita Nugraha, Karina Salim, Anggun (cq) Priambodo, Lupita Jennifer
At a high school for the visually impaired in Jakarta, Indonesia, the students are like any other teenagers: they attend classes, pursue artistic endeavors, and fall in love. The most privileged of the bunch, Diana, patiently awaits signs of womanhood and humors her mother’s attempts to mold her into the perfect girl. The beautiful Fitri has no shortage of male attention and enters into a passionate affair with, unbeknownst to her, a hearing-impaired punk rocker who is masquerading as a doctor. Meanwhile, Maya, blind since birth, aspires to be an actress and performer. Regardless of physical barriers, the students find ways to communicate and collaborate, enabling them to connect-with each other and to the outside world.
What they don't talk about
Rotterdam International Film Festival 2013 -Netpac Award
Sundance Film Festival 2013 


Watch the trailer here:


Harmony Lessons (Kazakhstan|Germany)
Kazakh writer-director Emir Baigazin’s poetic drama of a marginalized teenage boy has the distinction of being the only first feature selected for Berlin’s official competition. 
Harmony Lessons
Director: Emir Baigazin 
Cast: Timur Aidarbekov, Aslan Anarbayev, Mukhtar Andassov, Anelya Adilbekova, Beibitzhan Muslimov 


During a medical examination, 13-year-old Aslan is humiliated in front of a load of his fellow pupils. The incident unleashes his latent personality disorder. Plagued by self-doubt, he strives for cleanliness and perfection and is obsessed with trying to control everything around him. His compulsiondraws Aslan, who lives with his grandmother in a village in Kazakhstan, into increasingly difficult situations. He abhors the way most of his fellow pupils are held in the sway of a criminal scheme, in which Bolat, one of Aslan’s tormentors, is also involved. Bolat blackmails the younger children into paying him protection money; he has nothing but contempt for ostracised Aslan.

Asia Pacific Screen Awards  - Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival  - Won and Nominated
Oslo Films from the South Festival  - Nominated
Philadelphia Film Festival – Won and Nominated
Seattle International Film Festival  - Won
São Paulo International Film Festival – Won
Tribeca Film Festival  - Won
Warsaw International Film Festival – Won


Watch the trailer here:



ILO ILO (Singapore)

Starring “[Philippines’] national treasure” Ms. Angeli Bayani (as quoted by Ang Lee), Ilo-Ilo is the first Singaporean movie to win the Camera d’Or award at the prestigious Cannes festival.

Director: Anthony Chen

Cast: KohJiaLer, AngeliBayani, Tian Wen Chen

Set in Singapore, IloIlo chronicles the relationship between the Lim family and their newly arrived maid, Teresa. 

Like many other Filipino women, she has come to this city in search of a better life. Her presence in the family worsens their already strained relationship. Jiale, the young and troublesome son, starts to form a unique bond with Teresa, who soon becomes an unspoken part of the family. This is 1997 and the Asian Financial Crisis is beginning to be felt in the region…
2013, Camera d’Or, Canne Film Festival (Canne, France)
2013, Best Feature, 11th Pacific Meridian Film Festival (Vladivostok, Russia)
2013, NETPAC Prize, 11th Pacific Meridian Film Festival (Vladivostok, Russia)
2013, Grand Jury Prize, 10th Jameson Cinefest(Miskloc, Hungary)
2013, FIPRESCI Prize, 10th Jameson Cinefest(Miskloc, Hungary)
2013, International Ecumenical Jury Prize, 10th Jameson Cinefest(Miskloc, Hungary)2013, Best Narrative Feature Film, 22nd Philadelphia Film Festival (Philadelphia, United States)
2013, First Feature “Sutherland Award”, 57th British Film Institute London Film Festival (London, United Kingdom)
2013, Best Original Screenplay, 50th Golden Horse Awards (Taipei)
2013, Best Feature Film, 50th Golden Horse Awards (Taipei)


Watch the trailer here:



Neighboring Sounds

Considered “a chronicle of today’s Recife” by Brazilian president herself Dilma Rousseff, Kleber Mendonca Filho’s feature debut “Neighboring Sounds” is based on people living their lives and common situations that take place everyday.

Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho

Cast: Irandhir Santos Gustavo Jahn Maeve Jinkings W.J. Solha Irma Brown

Life in a middle-class neighbourhood in present day Recife takes an unexpected turn after the arrival of an independent private security firm. The presence of these men brings a sense of safety and a good deal of anxiety to a culture which runs on fear. Meanwhile, Bia (Maeve Jinkings), married and mother of two, must find a way to deal with the constant barking and howling of her neighbour’s dog.

Watch the trailer here:


HELI (Mexico)

Cannes 2013 Best Director Amat Escalante effectively ‘sends a message commenting on the fear and degradation of future generations in Mexico specifically as a result of corruption and drug trafficking in underdeveloped areas. 

Director: Amat Escalante
Cast: Armando Espitia, Andrea Vergara, Linda González 
Love story between a young girl and a police man, both of them had connections with drugs but in oppositeways. This will create a conflict that love will try to overcome.
Cannes Film Festival – Best Director
Festival du Nouveau Cinema – LouveD’or for Best Fature Film
Film Fest Munich – Arri Award
International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography PlusCamerimage – Silver Frog for Best Cinematography
Lima Film Festival – ury Prize for Best Film

Watch the trailer here:



Transit TRANSIT (Philippines)

Directed By: Hannah Espia
Main Cast: Jasmine Curtis Smith, Ping Medina, Irma Adlawan, Mercedes Cabral, and Marc Justine Alvarez

The film begins and ends in an airport during a father and son’s transit flight from Tel Aviv to Manila.  It tells the story of Moises, a Filipino single-dad working as a caregiver in Herzliya, Israel, who comes home to his apartment in Tel Aviv to celebrate his son Joshua’s 4th birthday. 
It was on that day that Moises, together with their Filipino neighbors Janet, and her daughter Yael, find out that the Israeli government is going to deport children of foreign workers.  Afraid of the new law, Moises and Janet decide to hide their children from the immigration police by making them stay inside the house.


Watch the trailer here:


How to Disappear Completely – Philippines
Deconstructs the supernatural thriller by slowing down every moment to the point of pure abstraction. The synthesizer score, insane directionality, sublime visuals, and horrifically symbolic ending make this something of a marvel.
Director: Raya Martin
Cast: Ness Roque, Shamaine Buencamino, Nonie Buencamino, Ronnie Martinez, ED Lawrence S. Ang

The film is about a young girl from the province who dreams of disappearing. She plays a lonely hide and seek, always hiding, moving and leaving. Everyday her mother quotes the Bible, and the father relishes in alcohol and history. The young girl speaks in English whenever she gets the chance. There is a sense of the Apocalypse in the air. Soon, she remakes an old Filipino film into a stage play. It is about a family who disappears in the mountains during the war. After the performance, things start to get strange. The child disappears from the car. Her parents look for her in the woods. One by one, they all start to disappear.

How To Disappear Completely

Watch the trailer here:


Cinemanila is in the air!

The much-awaited international film festival in the Philippines is just around the corner bringing in legendary and intriguing films. 

The Terror, LiveOne of the most in-demand leading actors of his generation in Korea Jung-woo Ha in “The Terror, Live.” 

The 15th Cinemanila International Film Festival will run from December 18 to 22 in the City of Taguig, Metro Manila. With its theme “Vision and Passion,” Cinemanila is once again showcasing several critically acclaimed and commercially successful films from around the globe varying from genre to arthouse films.

Opening the festival screening is Kim Byeong-woo’s Box Office hit, “The Terror, Live”. Winner of Best New Director at the 34th Blue Dragon Awards, this breathtaking thriller follows a demoted TV news anchor Yoon Young-hwa (Jung-woo Ha), who accidentally finds a golden opportunity to climb back up by broadcasting live terrors manipulated by a bothered man. 
Cited one the 10 best films of 2013 by Sight and Sound. Norte, hangganan ng kasaysayan

Filipino auteur Lav Diaz’s “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” (Norte, the End of History) in its Philippine premiere will conclude the festival on December 22. “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” brings us Fabian (Sid Lucero), a law-school dropout whose act of violence brings catastrophic consequences to a gentle and innocent family man. First screened in the Un Certain Regard Section at Cannes.

Images from here and here.



Watch the Official Trailer of the Kim Byeong-woo’s Box Office hit, “The Terror, Live”

Cinemanila International Film Festival 2013

Cinemanila Banner

The 15th Cinemanila International Film Festival will run from December 18 to 22, 2013 at SM Cinema, Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. In the last decade, Cinemanila played host to celebrated filmmakers Quentin Tarantino, Jafar Panahi, Fernando Meirelles and cinematographer Chris Doyle among others.

This year, the recipient of Lifetime Achievement award is none other than two-time Oscar winner director, Ang Lee. Cinemanila 2013 is bringing in another roster of locally and internationally renowned films under its several sections including Philippine Cinema, Asian Cinema, Southeast Asian Cinema, World Cinema, Digital Lokal, and Young Cinema.

The films in competition will vie for the following awards: Lino Brocka Prize, Grand Jury Prize, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best SEA Film, Best Short Film, Ishmael Bernal Award and Best Director.

Ang Lee recognized in Cinemanila International

Ang Lee accepts award

Manila, Nov. 28 (CNA) Taiwan-born director Ang Lee was recognized with the Lino Brocka Lifetime Achievement Award Thursday in Manila at an event held in his honor as part of the Cinemanila International Film Festival.

The award was jointly presented during a “Tribute to Ang Lee” soiree by Tikoy Aguiluz, founder of the festival, director Brilliante Mendoza and actress Angeli Bayani, the star of the Singaporean production “Ilo Ilo,” which won the Golden Horse Award for best picture last weekend in Taipei.

In an allusion to Lee’s remarks when he received the Academy Award for best director in February, Aguiluz called him a “movie god.”

The award presented in Manila is named after the Philippines’ most respected film director, who died in 1991.

Before the award ceremony, some 400 Filipino filmmakers and guests from cultural circles attended a screening of Lee’s “Life of Pi,” followed by a discussion.

Lee arrived in the Philippines earlier in the day and is due to depart Saturday.

(By Emerson Lim and Jay Chen)

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