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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

CineFilipino Film Festival 2016: Feature-Length (9 Films)

From a combined total of 442 entries submitted in the different categories (Feature-length, Short Features, Mobile Content, Online Content, TV Series, and Documentary Categories) of 2016 CineFilipino Film Festival, here are the finalists for the feature-length films:


(including the full schedule of all participating theaters)

CINEFILIPINO 2016
9 FEATURE-LENGTH FINALISTS

1st Sem
by Dexter Hemedez and Allan Ibanez

The love-hate relationship between mother and son intensifies when the latter decides not to pursue college education in Manila after suffering from separation anxiety.

Synopsis:
Maru Marasigan (Darwin Jefferson Yu) a sixteen-year old incoming freshman from the province, leaves his hometown to study in one of the prestigious universities in Manila. He is accompanied by his mother Precy (Lotlot De Leon) as he goes to his dormitory. But Precy cannot help but get emotional when she is about to leave him. Maru feels sad seeing his mother cry. This escalates after Maru spent his first night at the dorm feeling alone and very lonely.

Maru then decides to pack his things and go back home. Precy is very shocked to see him in their kitchen early in the morning the following day. Down on his knees, Maru pleads to Precy to allow him to study in a nearby college for he cannot afford to live miles away from his family. But Precy rejects Maru's request and tells him to go back to Manila instead.

As Maru insists his decision and disobeys Precy, his relationship with his mother starts to fall apart.


DIRECTOR & WRITER: DEXTER HEMEDEZ AND ALLAN IBANEZ
DOP/CINEMATOGRAPHER: Neil Daza 
LINE PRODUCERS: Oniel Parker, AJ Orlina, JezreelBelleza 

CAST: 
Lotlot de Leon as Precy Marasigan 
Darwin Yu as Maru Marasigan 
Allan Paule as Casio 
Miguel Bagtas as Jairus 
Sebastian Vargas, Jr. as Tim 
Karen Romualdez as Grace 
Teri Lacayanga as Edith 
Maddie Martinez as Susan 
Sachie Yu as Michelle 
Simon Ibarra as Ricardo 
Marc Paloma as Thomas 
Tricia Monique Olive as Elyze 
Junya Santarin as Emmy 
Inna Tuason as Rona 
Rjude Solero as Tintin 
Mikko Baldoza as Daniel

A Lotto Like Love 
by Carla Baful

Two totally different strangers get entangled with each other’s fate as a single winning lotto ticket brings them together in luck and love.

Synopsis:
On the far side of being ambitious is Kayela, a go-getter woman whose goal in life is to be rich. She’s the kind of dreamer who has started acting rich even before being one. On the other end of the spectrum is Itot, a handsome and hard-working cab driver who just wants to provide for his disabled mother and teenage brother’s everyday needs. Their worlds had nothing to do with each other until they both cue up in the same lottery line to buy lotto tickets.

Being the people person that she is, Kayela manages to involve Itot in choosing the numbers she’d bet on. She even gets to borrow money from him upon realizing that she does not have enough money to buy a lotto ticket. Itot wants nothing in return but to get rid of this woman who’s slowing down the lotto line.

Everything changes when Itot falls in dire financial need and Kayela wins the lottery. Itot hunts Kayela and demands that she shares her prize with him, to which Kayela eventually agrees. Just when the two are about to claim the prize, 2 hold-uppers attempt to take Kayela’s bag where the winning ticket is kept. Instead of giving the bag to the thieves, Kayela throws it inside a moving bus. The hold-uppers did not pursue her bag anymore. However, it is now Kayela and Itot’s turn to chase it back.

This propels the series of their adventures and mishaps, ultimately leading them to discover their priceless worth to each other.


DIRECTOR, WRITER: CARLA BAFUL 
DOP/CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tom Redoble and Jordan Arabejo 
LINE PRODUCER: Bianka Bernabe 

CAST: 
Martin Escudero as Itot 
Isabelle de Leon as Kayela 
Dennis Padilla as Kayela’s Dad 
Ruby Ruiz as Itot’s Mom 
Mauro Lumba as AD 
Emmanuelle Vera as Anna 
Mae Jacob Clayton as Mani 
Naomi Reyes as Bubwit 
Bernard Carritero as Bubwit’s Dad 
Aireen Almonte as Bubwit’s Mom 
Richmond Padayo as Bubwit’s Brother

Ang Taba Ko Kasi
by Jason Paul Laxamana

A fat girl is torn between her hot swimming instructor, who motivates her to lose weight, and an equally fat friend, who wants her to accept her appearance.

Synopsis:
Kahit mahilig silang magluto at kumain, payatot ang lahat ng miyembro ng Pamilya Gigante, maliban kay Olga. Kahit ano’ng diet ang kanyang gawin, hindi siya pumapayat. Upang magkaroon ng puspusang ehersisyo, maiisipan ni Olga na kumuha ng swimming lessons tuwing gabi. Madaragdagan ang kaniyang motivation pagkakita kung sino ang kaniyang magiging swimming instructor – isang makalaglag-panty na binatilyong nagngangalang Noah! Maiisip ni Olga, kung papayat siya, maaaring maging silani Noah, lalo pa’t panay ang pagpapahiwatig ng manlalangoy ng kanyang pagtingin sa kanyang matabang estudyante.

Upang lalong bumilis ang pagpapapayat, gagawin na ring regular ni Olga ang pagdiya-jogging tuwing hapon. Sa halos araw-araw niyang pagtakbo sa unibersidad, makikilala ni Olga si Benji, isang lalaking nagmamadaling bumalik sa dating matipunong anyo bago umuwi sa Pilipinas ang kanyang seksing ex-girlfriend.

Sa una, hindi kumportable si Olga sa pakikisalamuha sa isang kapwa-tabachoy. Kalaunan, magiging magkaibigan din sila ni Benji at magtuturingang weight loss buddies. Subalit darating ang panahong mapapagod si Benji sa pagpapapayat. Yayayain niya si Olga na tigilan naang obsession sa panlabas naanyo at i-enjoy na lamang ang buhay sa pamamagitan ng pagkain nang sandamakmak at pag-aasal-batugan.

Kaninong piling mananatilisi Olga? Sa lalaking tumutulak sa kanyang maging balingkinitan o sa lalaking tanggap siya – sa katunayan, mahal siya – kahit na isa siyang tabachoy?


DIRECTOR, WRITER: JASON PAUL LAXAMANA 
DOP/CINEMATOGRAPHER: Topel Lee 
LINE PRODUCER: Minda Ponce-Rodriguez 

CAST:
 Cai Cortez as Olga 
Mark Neumann as Noah 
Ryan Yllana as Benjie 
Jay Gonzaga as Gordon 
Bea Vega as Dream Girl 
Patanias Friend 
Mitz Ong as Bea 
Naomi Reyes as Bubwit 
Divine Aucina as Wendy 
Edith Chu as Nanay 
Bajun Lacap as Tatay 
Tintin Mendoza as Leni

Ang Tulay Ng San Sebastian
by Alvin Yapan

The dead come alive as an ambulance driver and a nurse try to keep awake recounting road ghost stories on a Good Friday, the day of Christ's death.

Synopsis
Bong and Francis, driver and nurse, are now driving back in an ambulance to their home province from Manila where they dropped off a patient. It is nearing midnight of a Good Friday. As traffic thins out along the highway, Bong finds it hard to keep himself awake. To help Bong stay alert, the two men agree to tell each other road ghost stories. Eventually, Bong recalls that it’s bad luck to tell ghost stories on a Friday. They might just come true, especially on a Good Friday when Christ is dead.

When they keep passing the same bridge of San Sebastian, Bong and Francis begin to witness their stories become real, one after another. They encounter a white lady hailing them by the roadside, a floating coffin pursuing their ambulance, and a ghostly reenactment of a massacre of passengers of a commercial bus line by armed robbers.

Bong and Francis realize that whatever is happening to them is connected to the San Sebastian Bridge. They muster their courage to explore the bridge’s underbelly where they would get separated. Bong would encounter a hut owned by a mysterious young woman who knows the history of violence attached to the bridge. Francis would encounter a band of ghost rebel soldiers. After narrowly escaping death among tiyanaks, zombies, and an incarnate of the devil, Francis and Bong get reunited by the same ambulance they left parked near the bridge of San Sebastian.

Fearing that there seems to be no way out of the cycle of ghost stories, Francis and Bong decide to kill themselves by ramming the ambulance off the bridge of San Sebastian. Will they come out of this desperate act alive?


DIRECTOR, WRITER: ALVIN YAPAN 
DOP/CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ronald Rebutica 
LINE PRODUCER: Shandii Bacolod 

CAST:
Joem Bascon as Bong 
Sandino Martin as Francis 
Alex Castro as Coward 
Rebel Angela Cortez as Tess 
Ivy Sumilangas White Lady 
Arrian Labios as Rebel Leader 
Lance Raymundo as Hostage Father 
Sue Prado as Hostage Mother

Buhay Habangbuhay 
by Paolo Herras

In death, the ghost of a dutiful housewife learns to move on and discovers a new life in the afterlife.

Synopsis
One ordinary day, in an ordinary kitchen, while making an ordinary meal, devoted housewife Sandy accidentally slips and kills herself.

Used to following after her husband, Joel, Sandy’s ghost dutifully waits for him to die so they can move on together in the afterlife.

While waiting, Sandy adjusts to her new ghostly life, as she playfully haunts her husband, befriends an older Anito spirit also living in her home, and discovers her ghostly abilities. She is no ordinary ghost.

Sandy can turn dark or light depending on her disposition. Sandy also learns to live with Joel’s new family: second wife Cecile, and their son, little Christopher.
But when Joel finally dies, he disappears and cannot be found. It finally dawns on Sandy that she has only waited in vain.

Sandy decides to let go and move on from her past life, and past love, and Sandy realizes that even as a ghost, even as a shadow of who she once was, even after confronting Joel when he finally shows himself to her – there’s still so much more good she can do in this world. Even if this new life begins with death, it’s truly about celebrating life – how one chooses to live for the rest of one’s life, while one still has life.


DIRECTOR, WRITER: PAOLO ALESSANDRO HERRAS 
DOP/CINEMATOGRAPHER: Regiben Romana and Marissa Florendo 
LINE PRODUCER: Aleli Mesina 

CAST:
Iza Calzado as Sandy 
Jake Macapagal as Joel 
Meryll Soriano as Cecile 
Ricci Chan as Anito Spirit 
Rocky Salumbides as Raymond 
Anna Marin as Celia 
Nhikzy Calma as Christopher

Ned's Project 
by Lemuel Lorca

An itinerant tattoo artist joins a talent reality show for lesbians in the hopes of winning the prize money that will enable her to get artificially inseminated and achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a mother.

Synopsis:
Henedina “NED” De Asis is a tattoo artist whose days are either filled with playing basketball, getting her client’s tattoo’s done or visiting MAX, her much older lesbian friend who is bedridden. She has everything in control until her world starts to crumble -her longtime girlfriend, GLADYS, dumped her and Max suddenly dies.

Not wanting to be alone like her friend when she grows old, Ned finally pursues the dream that she has long wanted for herself---to have a baby. Unfortunately it’s not going to be easy. What follows is a series of comic and desperate attempts for her to achieve her purpose.

All hope seems lost, until, she stumbles upon a solution. A TV station is holding a contest - a lesbian variety/TALENT show. Eyeing the grand prize of 300,000 pesos - which is enough to fund her artificial insemination procedure - she decides to join, but with one hitch -she does not have any talent. She will make this her project.

She asks the help of ASHLEY, the neighborhood’s new girl, to help her out. The two scrambles and fight to get Ned’s act ready. She wins the contest and qualifies for the grand finals. Moreover, as her dancing gets better, Ned’s friendship with Ashley turns to love.

Unfortunately, as the big day looms closer, Ned discovers that Ashley has gone back to Manila. She gets depressed and loses her chance to win at the contest. Wallowing in loneliness, Ned spirals down in despair until she gets caught in a quandary that will either make her dream of being a mother possible or lose her chance and be alone forever.


DIRECTOR, WRITER: LEMUEL LORCA 
DOP/CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tey Clamor 
LINE PRODUCER: Sarah Pagcaliwagan-Brackensiek 

CAST: 
Angeli Bayani as Ned 
Max Eigenmann as Ashley 
Dionne Monsanto as Gladys 
Star Orjaliza as Nancy 
Anna Abad-Santos as Olga 
Lui Manansala as Max 
Kints Kintana as Sprikky 
Biboy Ramirez as Marlon 
TJ Dela Paz as Ronald 
Tomas Miranda as Erwin 
Juvan Bermil as Brenda 
Joshua Bulot as Fred

Sakaling Hindi Makarating
by Ice Idanan

A series of mysterious hand-illustrated postcards take a young woman on a journey throughout the Philippines in search of its anonymous writer.

Synopsis:
Cielo is devastated when her boyfriend of 11 years, Mark, breaks off their engagement two months before their wedding. In anticipation of building a new life with Mark, she quit her job and now isolates herself in what could have been their new home, an old apartment in Quezon City.

When a series of anonymous, hand-illustrated postcards from all over the Philippines are delivered to Cielo, she bonds with her gregarious neighbor Paul over their vivid descriptions of travel and adventure. Just as she begins to feel revived, Mark contacts her, asking to meet. In response, Cielo is compelled to travel the Philippines, using the money that she saved up for the wedding, with the postcards as her guide. She agrees to write to Paul from every new destination, whose burgeoning romantic feelings for Cielo are left unreciprocated.

Cielo journeys from Mindanao to Luzon by land and sea. Along the way, she is enthralled by life beyond Manila and the people she encounters. Lessons are learned and friendships are made as the story of Cielo and the anonymous writer unfolds.


DIRECTOR, WRITER, DOP/CINEMATOGRAPHER: ICE IDANAN 
CO-WRITER: Petersen Vargas 
LINE PRODUCER: Melai Entuna 

CAST:
Alessandra de Rossi as Cielo 
Pepe Herrera as Paul 
JC Santos as Manuel 
Hiraya Plata as Aisha 
Terry Malvar as Sol 
Lesley Lina as Mila 
Jay Gonzaga as Mark 
Karen Delos Reyes as Gina

Straight To The Heart
by Dave Fabros

A gay hairdresser gets into a coma and wakes up a straight guy, turning his life and relationships upside down.

Synopsis:
Eric, a handsome gay hairdresser, lives a generally happy life with his gay salon colleagues, and his lesbian best friend, Jeans. He just got out of an abusive relationship with a straight guy, and he is mystified why straight guys seem to get the best out of life.

One night, during a fight with his ex-lover, Eric is injured and gets into a coma. Just as his friends are about to give up on him, he wakes up – a straight man. He changes radically into an arrogant sex-obsessed macho dude, who offends his close friends, loses his job at the salon because of moral indiscretions, beats up an ex-boyfriend in public, and disrespects his lesbian best friend.

What follows is a harrowing emotional roller-coaster for Eric as his friends struggle to deal with the straight Eric. When the lines are blurred, principles are compromised, and relationship is put to the test, only true friendship saves love's true meaning. Change, it will seem, is Always for the Better.


DIRECTOR, WRITER, DOP/CINEMATOGRAPHER: DAVE FABROS DOPs/CINEMATOGRAPHERS: Topel Lee and Malay Javier 
LINE PRODUCER: Sarah Pagcaliwagan-Brackensiek 

CAST: 
Carl Guevara as Eric
 Gwen Zamora as Jeans 
Vincent De Jesus as Lenard 
Ricci Chan as Rich 
Nico Antonio as Joey 
Kiko Matos as Cheska 
Dina Padilla as Dina 
Cris Lomotan as Franco 
Gilleth Sandico as Sophie 
Bibo Reyes as Kevin 
Zandra Summer as Shiela 
Evelyn Vargas as Manay Luling 
Allan Forte as Mang Berto 
Jace Flores as Gary 
Ronnie Martinez as Eric’s Tatang 
Garie Concepcion as Mikay 
Pinky Amador as Dr. Kayla

Van Damme Stallone
by Randolph Longjas

The life story of a kid diagnosed with Down syndrome. He dreams of being an artista; his family has to make ends (and dreams) meet.

Synopsis:
Based on a real-life characters and events, this tale is about Nadia, a single mom in Bocaue, Bulacan, who goes through the trials and tribulations of raising Vanvan – a child with Down Syndrome. As a mother, one is expected to give one hundred percent, but when one is raising a special child, you still have to give so much more. That’s why when Vanvan wished one day to become and artista, Nadia knows she has to make ends – and dreams – meet.

Spanning more than two decades of personal accounts, this story offers vignettes of Vanvan’s life through the eyes of the people closest to him: his mother Nadia when he was a newborn and the story of how he got his unique name; his brother Tano during his childhood, when he got his first lead role and gave it up for the sake of the ‘greater good’; his uncle Jim when he reached his teenage years and began making his acting career happen; and his own perspective as an adult when he finally, in a manner of speaking, became a full-pledged TV personality.

This drama-comedy asks that soap-opera question: Sino ang totoong baliw? To which the film answers: everyone. Because all of us, in varying degrees, are prepared to do the craziest things fir the ones whom we love the most.


DIRECTOR: RANDOLPH LONGJAS 
WRITER: Allan Habon 
DOP/CINEMATOGRAPHER: Sasha Palomares 
LINE PRODUCER: Joe Alandy 

CAST: 
Candy Pangilinan as Nadia 
Erlinda Villalobos as Ditas 
Sarah Pagcaliwagan as Cecile 
Paolo Pinggol as Van Damme 
Jad Dilanco as Young Van Damme 
Neil Sese as Jim 
Mara Marasigan as Jessica 
Cris Lomotan as Young Jessica 
Acey Aguilar as Tano 
Isaac Aguirre as Young Tano

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