Photo by Xtian Lozañes.

CineKasimanwa 2: Film Appreciation for the Everyday Ilonggo

By glory moralidad

The 2nd edition of CineKasimanwa: The Western Visayas Film Festival reeled into action from December 8 to December 13 at three simultaneous locations—SM City Cinema 1, FDCP Iloilo Cinematheque, and UPV Cinematheque—to showcase full-length and short film works of Ilonggo filmmakers.

CineKasimanwa 2 - Project Iloilo
CineKasimanwa 2 poster courtesy of Elvert Bañares.

Pictured now as an annual event to unite filmmakers and pour out their talents in promoting Region VI’s film industry, Cinekasimanwa 2 opened amid a flurry of activity on the red carpet for the opening film, Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (Norte, The End of History), the country’s official entry to the 2015 Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category.

In a press release, CineKasimanwa Festival Director and Programmer Elvert de la Cruz Bañares explained that the selection of Norte was more than just the fact that Lav’s parents were from Iloilo.

“When we open festivals, we set the tone and mood for the audiences. Norte narrates a humble story that gets complicated and emotionally challenging as it progresses. It is told through visually haunting images that forebodes. How can you ignore something like this one?” he said.

Cinekasimanwa 2 also made a strong effort of introducing new filmmakers and films that haven’t been screened yet in the region. There were 87 films submitted for the festival by 75 Ilonggo filmmakers, many of whom also include students.

Other full-length films that were featured on the festival are: Dapya Sang Paglaum by TM Malones; My Fake American Accent and Trabaho by Ned Trespeces; Wanted: Boarder and Brod by Ray Gibraltar; Namets! by Bacolod-born filmmaker Jay Abello; Tumbang Preso by Kip Oebanda; T’yanak by master filmmakers Peque Gallaga & Lore Reyes; Little Azkals by Baby Ruth Villarama; and Dagyang by Joenar Pueblo.

For this festival’s short films, these are namely: Wowa, the Best Short Film winner from 2014’s Bantayan Film Festival in Guimbal and the Opening Short Film; Yuhom by Blessel Toledo; Sino Si Mel Carreon? by Mia Reyes; Silong by Steven Asaph Reasol, winner of Best Director of the Summer at the 2014 Bakunawa Film Festival; Ang Paranublion by Eden Gilpo; and the Bakunawa Film Fest winner Reverie by Angelica Pavillar.

The festival shorts were divided into six programs throughout the duration of the event: “Relasyon, Bala, Kulo, Dugo” collected films with themes of domestic relationships, revenge and interpersonal conflict; “Bagito Ang Panahon” is a collection of light-hearted films; “Sin-o Gid Bala Sila?” featured four documentaries and three narratives; “Liwat Liwat” was a free screening of twelve films by different student-filmmakers interpreting the same script; “The Best of CineKasimanwa 1” collected some of the best shorts from the first film fest; and the annual “Moo-Moo-An Kag Fantasmagoria“, which is the program dedicated to themes of horror, adventure and fantasy, closed the festival with the horror drama Asin directed by Aimee Apostol Escasa.

Gracing the red carpet were actors and film directors who are part of the films programmed in the festival. They were Sid Lucero from Norte and T’yanak; Alessandra De Rossi from T’yanak; Albert Almendralejo, the Ilonggo producer of Tumbang Preso and Little Azkals; actress Tanya Lopez, who was present for the red carpet launch of Robertine Films during the special screening of Little Azkals; Ned Trespeces, director of Trabaho and My Fake American Accent; Juan Carlo Rosales of OLX; and Raymond Lee, producer of Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan.

Cinekasimanwa 3

The Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 6 will lead next year’s festival after the success of Cinekasimanwa 2.

The DOT 6 plans to promote the region’s tourism industry through films.

Atty. Helen Catalbas, regional director of the DOT 6, said this year’s CineKasimanwa 3 will showcase films from six provinces in Western Visayas.

Submission of entries for the third edition of the film festival is now ongoing starting on January 1. Deadline for submission is on August 25.

Cinekasimanwa 3 is slated to run on December 1 to December 6, 2015.

Glory Moralidad founded Bata Ako Ph, which aims to bring back the lost art of storytelling to children. She has also been nominated and awarded for her work on various children's books.