The Eye-Catching Cinemalaya Experience

A guide to what happened during the 12-day Indie Film Festival

The 15th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) showcased a full-on indie film experience from August 2 to 13. For indie film junkies this is one of the many festivals they look forward to every year, and rightfully so since Cinemalaya offered a lot more than indie films, but also had talks, film markets, exhibits, free screenings, and many more! And since we enjoyed Cinemalaya so much, we would like to share with you the whole Cinemalaya experience with this year’s theme, “Eye-catching.”

The Indie Film Experience

There were 10 full-length films and 10 short films to enjoy throughout the festival, which played in the CCP theaters as well as at Ayala Malls and Vista Cinemas all over the Philippines. Each full-length film and shorts A & B clusters cost 200 pesos for regular attendees and 150 pesos for students. CCP also offered Festival Passes ranging from 600 pesos for their One Day Pass, to 4,000 pesos for their All-Access Festival Pass. There were also seven NETPAC Award-winning films shown during the festival, as well as tribute films to honor the legacy of outstanding artists such as Armida Siguion-Reyna, Cesar Hernando, and Eddie Garcia.

            Aside from these, there were other festival programs, categorized as Best of the Festivals, Dokyu, Indie Nation, Premieres, Retrospective, Cinemalaya Institute Showcase, and Ika-31 Gawad CCP para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video. These categories showcased animation, indie films that were previously showcased and loved, and interesting documentaries.

The Eyeball Experience

            Cinemalaya has always held talks and forums, but never like this. This year they decided that we can get up close and personal with our favorite actors, directors, writers, and musical scorers. This meet and greet that happened last August 7 and 8 at the CCP Silangan Hall let small groups of people have question and answer portions with the artists participating in this year’s Cinemalaya. About ten to twenty people were grouped and taken to different artists who simultaneously conducted talks not just about the film, but also encouraged future artists and indie film enthusiasts to continue supporting the indie film industry and pursuing their dreams as well. Students present were able to ask intelligent questions about how the film industry works and how artists do what they do. The Eyeball let moviegoers experience a more personal talk with the stars, something that we would most definitely like to see in the next Cinemalaya.

Exhibits, Film Market, and a Hidden Gem

            In Bulwagang Fernando Amorsolo, CCP Small Gallery, an art installation by Rai Cruz can be found featuring his depiction of Cinemalaya 2019 full-length films made from acrylic murals and free-standing painted panel boards. There is also Optima Digital’s AR Poster Experience, where people can enjoy a one-of-a-kind digital photo booth. At the Bulwagang Juan Luna, CCP Main Gallery, Scenes Reclaimed by Patrick Campos, Louise Jashil Sonido, Karl Castro, and Tito Quiling Jr. is on display, tracing the historical participation of CCP in the development of Philippine cinema. Meanwhile, the Film Market features different production houses that invited people to sign up for workshops and events as well as offered merchandise on sale.

            The hidden gem we were talking about is located in the CCP Library, where you can sign up and get a film library pass for only 100 pesos and you can watch old Cinemalaya films all day! Imagine binge-watching indie films all-you-can, and the best part is you can bring a plus-one for free!

With all the Cinemalaya excitement we had this year, we are definitely looking forward to all the activities they have in store next year.

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Nicole Galleon

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