9 Pinoy short films in French FilmfestPosted on January 9th, 2008 under Entertainment Success
A record nine short films from the Philippines have been invited to the prestigious 30th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France from February 1 to 9, 2008. Regarded as the “Cannes” of short film festivals, the festival is the most important cinematographic event in the world dedicated to short films.
The films, mostly by maverick Filipino filmmakers, will form part of the Asian Panorama section of the festival. Short films from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam will complete the list for this year.
Making the cut are Raymond Red’s Anino, Mes de Guzman’s Batang Trapo, Cesar Hernando’s Kagat ng Dilim, Tad Ermitaño’s Local Unit, Lawrence Fajardo’s Kultado, Mark V. Reyes’ Last Full Show, Jeck Cogama’s Putot, John Torres’ Salat and Khavn de la Cruz’s Rugby Boyz.”
Clermont-Ferrand’s audience numbers and the presence of film professionals make this the second cinema festival event in France, after Cannes. Thousands of filmmakers, film experts and spectators gather to meet there from all over the world as films mixed with the digital medium compete in the national and international sections. Its international film market is abuzz with promotion and distribution network where producers buy short films.
This is an affirmation that the short film is regarded as a relevant art form apart from the full-length movies. The mother of all cinemas—the short film dates back to 1896 when the Lumiere Brothers had their first screening in Paris. The trend of cinema now is to go back to its roots in the short form due to the phenomenon of new media technologies such as the Internet (with sites like YouTube), and mobile phones (with small video content), just to name a few.
Anino, about a commercial photographer whose camera is stolen by a street urchin, features actors Ronnie Lazaro, John Arcilla and Eddie Garcia. It is the first Filipino short film to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2001.
Batang Trapo is about two siblings who sell rags to vehicle drivers. It won L’Etoile d’Or at the Marrakech Film Festival in 2002. De Guzman’s other work, Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong, a full-length film that recently won Best Picture at the Cine de Los Pueblos del Sur in Venezuela in South America and gave him an URIAN trophy for best director in 2005.
Kagat ng Dilim was shown at the Singapore Film Festival, Archipelago Film Festival in Rome and will be shown at the Asian Hot Shots Festival in Berlin in January. It is based on a true account in 1950 about a group of Huk guerrillas whose members disappear one by one and then found with bite wounds on their necks, leading to rumors that there is a vampire in their midst. Popular actor Piolo Pascual plays the lead role. Hernando’s first short film, Maalinsangan ang Gabi, was the first Filipino film to compete at Clermont-Ferrand in 1993.
The other entries present contrasting stories of hope and desperation, love and lust, and a few presents the dark side of Manila. Local Unit is set in the year 2072 where silicon computers have been superseded by biocomps—cloned brains sustained by nutrient fluids. Ermitaño is a video and media artist and Local Unit is his first digital short feature.
Kultado is set in a chaotic provincial marketplace where a vegetable vendor comes to terms with a gang of butchers who torments vendors by asking for “protection money,” bribes, and lending scams. Last Full Show is about an affluent teenage student who gets a kick from cruising the underbelly of Manila’s gay scene. Mark V. Reyes is a Filipino-American filmmaker based in the United States.
Putot is the story of a boy who grows up in a squatter colony and takes care of his mentally ill father while selling mussels. Rugby Boyz is about young boys who play rugby or soccer and sniff solvent in the slums of Manila.