Cinemalaya (August 7 – 15)

Broadening Horizons

Philippine Independent Film Festival


August 8, 2015

3:30        Shorts B


When extreme devotion and unconditional love collide, a mother and her daughter find their escape out of the loophole that binds them together.

A mother, drowned in her own problems, issues and fear constantly screams while holding the statue of Sto. Nino. We only watched the last two minutes – I didn’t really get to watch the whole film.


During a performance, a ventrilonquist suddenly finds himself talking with his past. Will he continue the conversation or remain tight-lipped from a voice long kept?

‘I should not have left her alone. I should not have allowed her to swim. I should’ve been there. I could have saved her and she’d still be here if I did’ – these are probably the things that haunt the protagonist in this film.  What ifs, I wish, and I wonder are usually the conversations that he has with himself. As he struggles with the constant reminder that his daughter drowned because he wasn’t able to save her. Past always find a way back to us if we haven’t forgiven ourselves. He constantly lives in regret. The only way to move past it is learning how to forgive oneself and learning from the experience.


Cinta Dela Cruz, a middle-aged faded actress tries to relieve her glorious days as a movie star in the 1970s by watching films at home every day. One day during an earthquake, something breaks into her window and wakes her up from her Hollywood dream.

I think this is very relevant at this time. When one experiences the spotlight, they hope against all odds that no one takes it away from them. But just like the celebrities today, what would actually be their life after the films stop rolling, after the directors say CUT? Could they handle a lifelong scene cut? To be cut dragged down from their pedestal and be erased from the public’s eyes and memories?

In social media times, where people scoop their self-validation and self-value from the number of likes or shares or favorited, or retweets, we have to ask ourselves, why does these things motivate us?

We have to remember that what others think of us doesn’t matter and what you think of yourself is everything.


A young boy’s journey as they take his father to his final resting place.

I think the film was trying to magnify the sorrow that the boy is feeling from the loss of his own father at the point where he decided to switch off his emotions and let the river consume him.


Tib chances upon an old map that triggers him to retrace the paces that are special to him and his high school best friend, Tric.

Disclaimer: I may be out of line here – but I think Tric was really gay and had feelings for his bestfriend.

But what if I was wrong — Why is it that more often than not, when two people (man & man) are too close, they are ultimately judged to be gay all too quickly? Is it not possible that they only feel fondness for each other as much as they do for their own siblings? Hypocrite, I know.

6:15        Shorts A


An afternoon of love and farewell as Mark and El spend their last afternoon together wishing on a tree, waiting to fade with the sun.

Director’s Favorite Scene: The one where El was looking at the vast body of water and Mark was throwing the pieces of paper on the river. As the writer explains, El was looking at the ocean that represents the countless opportunities that lays ahead before him. While Mark, who will be left behind interacts with the river who only has a limited supply of water that represented the constraints and limitations in his life.

Huh! The writer and director from the way he speaks really thought about the smallest details of his film. Kudos! You’re young and you’ve been recognized! Keep waving that rainbow flag wherever you go. J


Year 1983: Ms. Estrella investigates the case of Carlito Dimahilig, the assassin who attempted to kill Imelda Marcos.

This got a bit boring for me. But before that, I have to admit that I have no particular inclination to history. And I thought – this being one of the finalist – would trigger something in me. I thought this film would bring forth another aspect of the history, one that are not written in books or discussed by our high school professors. But it didn’t.

Don’t fret. You’ll be hearing their college batch mates cheering for them. Love your own!

Marissa lives alone in the dark with an even darker secret.

The director and writer of this film received silence and awkwardness at the start. Laughter and a little bit of screaming was present during the film. And a lot of applause and cheering at the end. It was unlike the others.

Want to know what pertains to the even darker secret? Marissa is an abortionist who feeds her son, the son of the devil, the fetuses from her line of work.  

I don’t know but what probably go to me was that mothers, no matter what kind of person you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what the circumstances are – will never abandon their children. And they will go through great lengths to care for their offspring. —– (which made Marissa kill, not just the unborn baby but her last patient in the film.


A troubled man finds his own cure in the vast darkness of his room. Trying to persuade his lover to come back, he discovers a new form of therapy – his greatest ordeal, a terrible encounter he has to escape from.

Director and Writer’s Favorite Scene: When the protagonist woke up and was shot. He explained that the whole film, apart from that scene was a dream.

Okay! So I didn’t get that part without his explanation. Forgive my deliberately turtle of a brain. But I think, the things that destroys us, the things that tear us apart or bring us down is entirely up to us. Whatever happened to him on the film was the product of his actions.


Nenok, a nine year old street kid in Malolos Bulacan adopts the city’s Barasoain Church as a temporary home and his personal space for mischief to the distress and annoyance of Mang Johnny, the stern parish groundskeeper.

So I concluded correctly on this one: the lady who was always beside the boy was his dead mother. On the event that the groundskeeper followed the boy to his mother’s grave, he was enlightened. And that was the start. I guess, we should always look at where the other person is coming from. Maybe in this case, the reason the boy was always making fun of him – the boy was seeking attention or company or just an elderly figure in his life.

And it is so comforting to know that your mom is always watching your every move. To know that she will never leave your side even beyond the grave.

This is the first time that I was able to watch a series of Short Films. The last time I watched an entry to Cinemalaya, I was in third year college – and that was just one.

You know what else? I want to reach that recognition too. Not in the same field perhaps, (although I am fond of making videos of trips, I know it doesn’t qualify but making videos still). It’s utterly overwhelming to have your work – the work you spent hours and poured out your heart and passion into it, to be recognized by experts in that field is irreplaceable. I would probably have my ear to ear smile plastered across my face constantly with my skiddy-hop-hop happy walk.

Congratulations and Kudos, really! You made it! Good Luck and may the best, wins!

P.S. I’ll write about the last film (KASAL – Best film of 2014) during the next entry.

Cinemalaya every year! Yes! 🙂

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