My Cinemalaya 2013 To-watch list

It’s a whole new year again, and the season for Filipino indie Movie Watchin’ is here. At first glance of the movie line up, there isn’t much that stands out and screams ‘WATCH MEEeee!’. In my case, I had to read the synopses of the movies and picked those that I think I’d be interested in watching.

Now on it’s 9th year, Cinemalaya: Cinesthesia will be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines from July 27 to August 4 2013, with screenings simultaneously held at Trinoma and Greenbelt 3 cinemas.  Out of the 10 New Breed Category and 5 Director Showcase films that are competing this year, here are the ones which piqued my interest (or piqued my friends’ interest and got me tagging along and buying tickets)

New Breed Category: Rekorder, Instant Mommy, Babagwa

2013 New Breeds: Babagwa, Rekorder, Instant Mommy

What I noticed in this year’s New Breed Category is that all of films were somewhat serious in theme, and I didn’t want to watch anything serious this year. Since I’m typically attracted to the weird, the hipster or the funny themes, my choices for this year is Rekorder, Instant Mommy and Babagwa.

Rekorder follows the story of a man who illegally camcords movies for a living, and when he records something that he shouldn’t have, things go haywire and everything comes down to a chase. Apparently the scenes were shot from different cameras, from security surveillance cameras, cellphone cameras, the camcorder, so I would expect it to be experimental and different in that sense. Since this is my weird movie for this year’s Cinemalaya, I’m hoping this would not make my head ache like Kamera Obskura did last year and Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa last last year. Directed by Mikail Red and stars Ronnie Quizon.

Instant Mommy,  was produced by THE Kris Aquino, and that was a major turn-off for me. But then she wasn’t part of the creative process, so I guess I’ll be watching it. Plus the fact that they got a Japanese Actor from Letters from Iwo Jima to act in the movie, kinda spells Big Time to me. And of course, you have Eugene Domingo – though I’m having  Eugene fatigue as of late (Just watched her Star Cinema Starrer, Tuhog, last weekend). Directed by Leo Abaya and starring Eugene Domingo, Yuki Matsuzaki, Rico J. Puno (a plus for me. Sorry naman!) among others.

Babagwa, meanwhile has an interesting premise for me. It’s about a guy who swindles this wealthy widow through a social networking site. Nothing could be more relevant than a story like this. ‘Sign of the times’ movies like these always pique my interest, or maybe any reflective piece on how technology affects lives over time just grabs my attention. Not a technophobe but I’m no tech advocate either. Directed by Jason Paul Laxamana and stars one of the Medina siblings, Alex Medina.

Director’s Showcase: Extra, Sana Dati, Amor y Muerte

Director's Showcase Picks: Ekstra, Sana Dati and Amor y Muerte
Director’s Showcase Picks: Ekstra, Sana Dati and Amor y Muerte

What’s interesting for the Director’s Showcase part is that there are a lot of mainstream actors and actresses involved. For example, no less than Vilma Santos is starring in Jeffrey Jeturian’s Ekstra, about the life of a bit player. I’m curious as to how Vilma Santos will perform in an Indie environment, plus its trailer, the one with Cherie Gil in it, was really funny. Definitely got me interested.

Sana Dati by Jerrold Tarrog also features mainstream stars, namely Lovi Poe and Paolo Avelino – though Paolo Avelino gained fame from his indie stints, I think.  The movie has the most ‘commercial’ plot among the other films: Girl accepts that she’s going to be married to someone she doesn’t love, but then comes the ex to disrupt everything, and for that I wanted to see how such a commercial, light plot, will be handled in a festival setting. What would it feel like watching it? Would it be similar to watching a John Lloyd-Sarah movie in Glorietta? Or would it be less cheesier and more artsy-fartsy?

Amor y Muerte by Cesar Evangelista, seems to be the more intellectual of the three films. You’re combining Sex and Religion and 16th Century Philippine Setting in a movie? Pretty heavy stuff for me. I actually had qualms watching this movie because my Catholic sensibilities might get offended, but my friends convinced me that I shouldn’t be taking this things seriously. As for me, I’m deciding to approach this with an open mind and in an intellectual manner (if I could help it). Trivia: Ama Quiambao, veteran Philippine actress, stars in this movie, and it might have been her last film.

So folks who are going to watch Cinemalaya 2013 entries, What would it be for you? Even tickets for the Greenbelt and Trinoma screenings are on sale already. My go-to sites have their write-ups and guides posted as well:,!

Kita-kits sa CCP! Pictures used in this blog entry were taken from the films’ respective facebook pages.


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