Two relevant and timely films highlight the Quezon City International Film Festival, or QCinema. The first is a classic movie about the lives of young neophytes striving to enter a Greek lettered fraternity through a difficult hazing process and the other is an animated film that takes viewers’ into an artist’s intricate and creative mind.
This year, festival aficionados will be treated to “throwback experience” with the comeback of Mike de Leon’s digitally restored Batch 81, and the advance Philippine premiere of biographical animated drama Loving Vincent.
Dubbed as the world’s first fully painted feature film, Loving Vincent is originally filmed as a live action film and then painted — frame by frame — by more than 100 artists. It takes place a year after van Gogh’s suicide.
Meanwhile, Batch 81, which most film critics refer to as one of the “best Filipino classics” and “a metaphor for the Martial Law,” tells the story of the vicious cycle of brutality in a fraternity—the harsh initiation new members go through—as seen from the main character’s eyes, Sid Lucero (played by Mark Gil). The film bookends the 10-day film fest.
“Its vast repertoire is a halo-halo menu of the best new foreign films, Asian films, restored classic, best of regional films, gender-aware works, and other works reflective of our customs, settings and people,” said Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte during the festival’s media launch last week.
“Entering its 5th year, QCinema must cease the opportunity to take the lead in unifying indie filmmakers to make Philippine cinema shift to the next level as a potent force in the world cinema,” the government official added.
Belmonte was glad to present this year’s films chosen to the part of the Circle Competition, the festival’s main section, eight films were chosen and they are: Dapol Tan Payawar Na Tayug 1931 (The Ashes and Ghosts of Tayug 1931) by Christopher Gozum; Dormitoryo by Emerson Reyes; Balangiga:Howling Wilderness by Khavn de la Cruz; Kulay Lila Ang Gabi Na Binudburan Pa Ng Mga Bituin by Jon Steffan Ballesteros; Medusae by Pam Miras; Neomanila by Mikhail Red; The Chanters by James Robin Mayo; and The Write Moment by Dominic Lim.
In this section, each film received P1 million worth of production grants and the filmmakers are given the rights to retain ownership of their works.
For the QC Shorts roster, the films included are: Anya Iti Nagan Mo? (What is Your Name?) by Ice Idanan; Babylon by Keith Deligero; Gikan Sa Ngitngit Nga Kinailadman (From the Dark Depths) by Kiri Dalena; Kun’ Di Man by Phyllis Grae Grande; Link by Mike Esteves; Love Bites by Carl Joseph Papa; Pixel Paranoia by Epoy Deyto; and Si Astri Maka si Tambulah (Asti and Tambulah) by Joseph Vincent Suarez.
“Five years ago, we started with just a vision, but look at where we are now. It only took political will and a whole lot of people that really believed in what we really wanted to do. But today, QCinema has become a launch pad for the career of this generation’s indie (film) geniuses,” the government official added.
She also underscored QCinema’s partnership with Film Development Council this year to expand its reach. At the same time, the film fest will also allocate space for classic titles that have been digitally remastered by ABS-CBN Film restoration Group.
QCinema runs from Oct. 19 to 28 in cinemas in Quezon City.