It was the strangest of nights. The Cultural Center of the Philippines, home of the finer arts and hence an edifice that most of Manila avoided, was for that one strange night more jam-packed than a sports bar on a Pacquiao fight morning.
Find out why after the jump.
Cinemalaya is finally open.
Now in its seventh edition, the film festival that made popular in some secret sectors in the Philippines and around the world films that tackle everything that Star Cinema and Regal Films wouldn’t even touch. From the lobby up to the fourth floor (where a delicious exhibit of Cesar Hernando’s production photographs from several important films), Cinemalayaddicts (if love team fans have their own names, I don’t see why Cinemalaya fans can’t have theirs) who braved the payday traffic were crowding to see what’s in store for them in the next several days.
The usual speeches were spiced with songs sung from stages hanging from different parts of the Main Theater lobby. The trailers of the several films that are competing for balangay-shaped trophies and bragging rights were accompanied by the most awesome of dances done both in the floor and up in the air. The opening program seems to be an indie-version of the Cirque du Soleil show also playing in nearby Manila Hotel. It was a night to remember.
To cap the night was the screening of Maskara, festival director Laurice Guillen’s loving tribute to her husband Johnny Delgado, who was a big part of Cinemalaya when he was still alive. Although the screening was abruptly stalled midway due to a power outage, the film screening, like most of the struggling filmmakers that Cinemalaya fostered through the years, persisted on and was met in the end with appreciation and applause.
It’s going to be a very busy next few days for Cinemalayaddicts (fine, the name’s lame so feel free to use the Comments section for suggestions and I promise I won’t take it personally).
Check out photos from the Cinemalaya opening by photographer Ian Marasigan below:
Cinemalaya Festival Director Laurice Guillen and Regal Film’s Mother Lily Monteverde
Ms. Eleanor Esteban, Ms. Princess Disini, National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Ambeth Ocampo, Mrs. Lumbera, Ms. Tessie Luz
Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema founders and co-directors, Martine and Jean-Marc Thérouanne
Direk Doy del Mundo and Direk Rica Arevalo
CCP’s Ed Cabagnot and President Nestor Hardin
Direk Aureaus Solito, Lagarista.com writer Oggs Cruz, Producer Endi Balbuena
Direk Adolfo Alix
Music Scorer Nani Naguit, Chuck Gutierrez and Baby Ruth Guttierez of Voyage Studios