Films commonly disregarded by the mainstream film community are the main attraction in the recently concluded concluded Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, an annual event that serves as venue to freshest and most imaginative stories for independent filmmakers.
In its culmination last Sunday, Vilma Santos, TJ Trinidad and Jasmine Curtis-Smith were recognized for their acting skills. It was almost a déjà vu. Last year, most of the winners and participants were from the mainstream community.
Sometimes it is a puzzle to us why A-list stars turn to indie. Amid limited budget, limited marketing and exposure, and smaller box office returns, big names and accomplished stars are drawn to doing independent film projects such as the entries to the Cinemalaya. Whether they seek validation from the audience or they simply want to achieve a certain kind of status, it is clear that they enjoy the roles they play in indies, which are far different for from their regular film and television assignments.
This trend is a win-win situation for both mainstream stars and the independent film community. One thing, alternative cinema is given its needed boost. It benefits from the fan base of the stars that now promote indies. On the other hand, mainstream stars are given this prestige of being called a decorated actor.
In this year’s edition of Cinemalaya, however, it’s interesting to note that the virtually unknown actors are those who pulled a big surprise when it comes to acting and not those big celebrities whose predictable sensibilities were showcased in the film entries.