My first ever Cinemalaya experience

Photographed by: Gemmz Robles

Photographed by: Gemmz Robles

Yesterday, our organization went to the Cultural Center of the Philippines for the annual independent film festival which is called; Cinemalaya. It is their 10th year so it’s extra special and it’s also the reason why the festival’s theme or tagline is, Cinemalaya X: A Decade of Connecting Dimensions. But before anything else, I want to tell you a little information about our org. Our organization is called Multimedia Division and we specialize in photography, film making, script writing and the likes. So the said festival serves as both an exposure and enjoyment for the members. Anyway, back to Cinemalaya… We bought two full-length film tickets and two short film tickets. So all in all, we were able to watch four films. The said films were the following:

Photographed by: Gemmz Robles

Photographed by: Gemmz Robles

1. 1st Ko Si 3rd by Real Florido

2. Shorts A: Asan Si Lolo Me? by Sari Estrada Mga Ligaw na Paruparo by J.E. Tiglao The Ordinary Things We Do by David Corpuz Padulong sa Pinuy-Anan by Eden Villarba Tiya Bening by Ralph Quijano

3. Shorts B: Indayog ng Nayatamak by Joris Fernandez Lola by Kevin Ang Tan Nakabibinging Kadiliman by Paolo O’Hara Ina-Tay by Chloe Veloso Eyeball by Thop Nazareno

4. #Y by Gino Santos   We arrived at CCP at around 11 AM so we decided to eat an early lunch since the first film that we were going to watch is scheduled at 12:45 PM.

I'm in the middle wearing eyeglasses and The Beatles shirt.

I’m in the middle wearing eyeglasses and The Beatles shirt.

After we finished eating, we went straight to CCP and there we were welcomed by cold air, red carpet and an exhibit about the different indie films that made it through the festival. (I can’t put into words how glamorous the CCP lounge is because that would take me hours to do so.)

PicMonkey Collage

The wonderful exhibit at CCP’s lounge. (Photographed by: Gemmz Robles)

The first film that we watched is entitled “1st Ko Si 3rd.” It’s basically about a 65-year old married woman who, after five decades, was reunited with her first love; Third.  

My thoughts about the film: I love 1st Ko Si 3rd because it’s not your ordinary reunited-with-your-first-love romance. It isn’t about recreating what is lost and what is ruined by time. The film is about ageing and realizing that the things that we need in order to be happy is really just on our side. All we need to do is to appreciate it before it’s too late. Also, the film showed the joy that we get from reminiscing our past loves and the sorrow that ‘what ifs’ and regret gives to us. It made me laugh, cry and smile due to its poignancy and brilliance. (Plus, I can relate to the unsent letters and heartbreaking stuff in the film. Lol.)

“Nagsasama ang dalawang tao dahil mahal nila ang isa’t isa. Pero minsan, nagsasama sila dahil wala ng mahanap na iba.” -Cory, 1st Ko Si 3rd.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

The next film was Shorts A which is composed of five short films. It was shown in CCP’s Tanghalang Huseng Batute same as the place wherein 1st Ko Si 3rd was screened so we just went out for a while and went back to the theater again.

Inside Tanghalang Huseng Batute

Inside Tanghalang Huseng Batute

My favorite short film among the list is “Asan Si Lolo Me?’ because of its witty title, humorous characters and plot. It’s about a mother that told her son that his grandfather turned into a goat in order to hide the fact that the grandfather died. Though it lacks a deeper meaning, it’s still refreshing and amusing.

My ratings: 4/5 stars (I won’t talk about the other short films anymore because this blog post is getting oh-so-long. But I like every entry except for Tiya Bening which I still don’t get until now.)

Anyway, after the film ended, we went outside to eat. The whole place is crowded so it’s very easy to lose your way but luckily I didn’t. We also grabbed the chance to take a picture with the large ‘X’ sign outside of CCP’s Main Theater.


Cinemalaya X and MD ❤

At 5:45 PM, we went inside the Aurelio Tolentino Theater for the third film–Shorts B. Those films are all very good. I enjoyed this set more than Shorts A for many reasons but mainly because the stories in Shorts B are more unexpected and unique.

The best film for me among the five indie films is “Lola”. It is set on a Christmas afternoon and the story revolves around a grandmother tending her house. That was the summary of the plot but, BUT! The film is more than that. *Spoilers Alert!* Lola, really is about a zombie apocalypse. (Yes, I know! It’s WOAH. Just. Wow.) The main character (Lola) is a badass grandma who is expert in zombie killing. The whole film is very interesting despite of the creepy or should I say disturbing scenes.  Although the make-up of the zombies aren’t that great, the director found a way to cure it. (Hence, the shaky cam during the zombie scenes.)

For me, it’s the most unforgettable film before 1st Ko Si 3rd and #Y. It’s smart, different and altogether good. Really, really good.

My ratings: 5/5 stars.

Me with Lola herself :)

Me with Lola herself 🙂

After Shorts B is finished, we went out to eat dinner. During dinner, we saw the Magalona family who are there to support Elmo Magalona who stars in the film, #Y. (Saab Magalona is so pretty!) And it is also the last film that we are going to see for the night. (Or day) We also saw the various indie actors and directors who attended their gala night.

At Jollibee, Harbour Square

At Harbour Square

At about 8:30 PM, we went inside CCP’s Main Theater which is more known as Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo. It was gorgeous inside. The theater was enormous and we were seated at the orchestra so we have a clear view of the screen. It was #Y’s gala night so the director and the writer talked about their film for a little while and introduced the cast and the crew.

The cast and crew of #Y

The cast and crew of #Y

#Y is about the ‘Y’ generation. It revolves around the life of teenagers that are overly influenced by social media, drugs, sex and alcohol. The lead actor, (Elmo Magalona) wants to commit suicide simply because he just want life to be over. But the catch is, he leads a good life. His family is rich, he gets whatever he wants, he have friends and all other luxuries that normal people can’t have.

My thoughts about the film:  I like the film especially the script. It gives off The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower feels. It’s very bold and dare I say, vulgar but they were able to touch different problems in our society. (Politics, illegal use of drugs, suicide, etc.) It actually started in the moment wherein Miles (Elmo Magalona) was in the top of a building–ready to jump to his death. No, actually he really did jump. And that’s when the narrating started. I love the flow of the story. The voice overs, the change of perspectives from one character to another and the oddness of Miles. I also love the characters especially Abby and her relationship with Bruce/Miles. Although I don’t think that they really showed the true feelings or stages of a suicidal and suicide, I still like the film. Because again, the writer said that we can never comprehend the mind of a suicidal person. The one thing that I didn’t like about the film is the ending. I thought that after everything that happened, Miles would finally found a reason to live. (Scratch that. HE HAS A REASON TO LIVE!) But he didn’t. He still killed himself and I don’t understand why. (Y?!!!)  But thank God for the wonderful goodbye message that Miles said because if not for that, I would have really hated the writer. I also like the ‘Y’ sign that he did just before jumping to his death. Even though the cinematography isn’t that great, the musical scoring pulled the film up high. (I love the musical scoring during the bed scene of Miles and Lea. It feels like The Art of Getting By.) Nonetheless, the acting is great. I am very much surprised about Elmo Magalona. I didn’t know that he can act really good. (But then again, I don’t watch TV so…) The other actors did great too. I especially love Colleen Garcia’s acting. It’s very natural and cool. All in all, it was a good film. Not as good as 1st Ko Si 3rd or Lola but it’s still good in its own way.

“Being happy and having no right to be unhappy are totally different things.” Miles, #Y

My rating: 4/5 stars

The film ended at 11:00-ish and we were stuck in the middle of the lounge because my org-mates were still inside the theater waiting for the actors to come. By 11:45 (I think) we were already settled in the van and we were all ready to go home. It’s just sad that I don’t have enough money to buy the Cinemalaya shirt or other souvenirs from the indie films but I managed to buy a Cinemalaya baller so I guess it’s okay.

Cinemalaya souvenirs!

My Cinemalaya souvenirs!

Soooo, my first ever Cinemalaya experience was a blast! And I will definitely save up money so that next year, I’ll be able to watch every film. Hands down, I think this is the most exciting thing that ever happened to me these past few months. Lol. I wish that you also had fun on your Cinemalaya adventure! 🙂


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