ON THE heels of the controversy of her exclusion from the list of National Artists this year, Nora Aunor made her first public appearance at the launch of the 10th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition on July 9.
At the event, members of the press, actors, film workers and independent film supporters could not help but give her a thunderous applause when the trailer of the film Hustisya was screened on a monitor at the lobby of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Though each film was given the same plaudit after the trailer, the applause for Hustisya was louder and evidently longer that people were still clapping their hands even when the trailer was no longer on the video wall.
Perhaps it was a testament of the fueled sentiment by artists and the public who believe that Aunor indeed deserves to be a National Artist based on her talent and unparalleled contribution to local entertainment and arts in general.
The country’s lone superstar was the most interviewed personality of the event, too, but she graciously declined to comment on being snubbed by the Malacañang Palace. Instead, the 61-year-old thespian passionately talked about the indie film Hustisya, which is competing against Louie Ignacio’s Asintado, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna’s Hari ng Tondo, Joselito Altarejos’s Kasal and Michael Tuviera’s The Janitor.
Directed by Joel Lamangan and written by Ricky Lee, the film follows La Aunor as a foul-mouthed woman who works for a human trafficking agency controlled by a powerful syndicate.
New batch of digital films
In the last 10 years, Cinemalaya has supported and promoted the production of 118 full feature independent films and 96 short films. Many of these films have won awards in local and international competitions and festivals.
Through the annual festival, Cinemalaya has showcased over 1,000 works by independent filmmakers including full feature films, shorts, documentaries, Filipino film classics, and art films.
These achievements over the past decade sum up the festival’s theme: A Decade of Connecting Dimensions. The theme highlights Cinemalaya as a flourishing network of individuals, groups and institutions with a common goal of developing and promoting Filipino independent filmmaking.
Special events and new Festival features will add to the excitement of the indie fest latest edition also dubbed as Cinemalaya X. These include the launching of the Cinemalaya X book, announcement of the Cinemalaya Logo Contest winner, the introduction of the Cinemalaya Achievement Award, special exhibitions that will document the story of Cinemalaya’s first decade, and a Cinemalaya Retrospective.
Ultimately, the annual film fest puts the spotlight on a crop of 25 new digital films that would continue that winning streak of local independent films on the recognition stage.
“The road to Cinemalaya X has not been smooth but definitely rewarding,” Cinemalaya Foundation president Nestor O. Jardin said. “We can’t help but be proud of what our filmmakers have achieved—the outstanding films they produced, the unique subject matters and stories they revealed to us, and the awards and recognition they garnered.”
Jardin furthered that this year’s batch of filmmakers will undoubtedly rise up to the challenge of the previous years with new stories to tell and new lessons to be learned from their films.
Covering a range of genres including coming of age stories, romance, epic, comedy and action, the Cinemalaya X will run from Aug. 1 to 10 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, its main venue, and at satellite venues at Ayala Theaters in Greenbelt Makati, Alabang Town Center, TriNoma, and Fairview Terraces.