Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cinemalaya 2012

Now on its 8th year, Cinemalaya announces the finalists for the 2012 independent film festival, which will be shown from 20 to 29 July 2012 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and Ayala Mall Cinemas (Greenbelt and Trinoma). Below are the different indie films that made the cut:

New Breed Full Length Feature
  1. Emmanuel Palo’s “Santa Nina”
  2. Gino Santos and Jeff Stelton’s “The Animals”
  3. Vincent Sandoval’s “Aparisyon”
  4. Mes de Guzman’s “Diablo”
  5. Lemuel Lorca and Jerry Gracio’s “Intoy Syokoy ng  Kalye Marino”
  6. Alfred Aloysius Adlawan’s “Ang Katiwala”
  7. Marietta Jamora’s “Ang Nawawala”
  8. Paul Sta. Ana’s “Oros”
  9. Julius Sotomayor Cena’s “Mga Dayo”
  10. Loy Arcenas’ “Requieme”

New Breed Short Film
  1. Nadjoua Bansil’s “Bohe: Son of the Sea”
  2. Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s “Ang Paghihintay sa Bulong”
  3. Mario Celada’s “Pasahero”
  4. Sheron Dayoc’s “As He Sleeps”
  5. Marianito Dio Jr.’s “Sarong Aldaw”
  6. Emmanuel Escalona, Jr.’s “Balintuna”
  7. Hannah Espia’s “Ruweda”
  8. Chuck Gutierrez’s “Ulian”
  9. Richard Legaspi’s “Manenaya”
  10. Jarell Serencio’s “Victor”

Director’s Showcase
  1. Adolfo Alix, Jr.’s “Kalayaan”
  2. Joey Javier Reyes’ “Mga Mumunting Lihim”
  3. Raymond Red’s “Kamera Obskura”
  4. Jun Lana’s “Bwakaw”
  5. Lawrence Fajardo’s “Posas”

Cinemalaya is a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Film Development Council of the Philippines and Econolink Investments, Inc. It is an all-digital film festival and competition that aims to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity.

The film festival is held every July of each year. Previously, screenings were only held at the CCP. But during recent years, participation of Ayala Malls have been secured to increase awareness and promote more public viewing by showing the finalist movies at their Greenbelt and Trinoma cinemas.

Every year, organizers invest PHP 500,000 to ten independent filmmakers (directors, producers). These ten finalists are selected from an annual average of hundreds of entries from all over the country. Their films debut at the festival, together with in-competition short films, as well as various out-of-competition works (showcase). The purpose is to help provide exposure to various quality indie films whose creators lack enough resources to produce films as compared to big-time, established mainstream film companies.

I try each year to watch as many featured films as possible. Apart from being entertaining, Cinemalaya films always try to present a fresh and "different" artsy look, which serves as a break from the traditional and typical Filipino films (which are mostly overrated, over-promoted and of less substance and quality). The stories of these indie films are unconventional, sometimes even weird (in good taste), and the overall worth are, most of the time, promising. There's no surprise that a number of Filipino independent films have already competed and won awards from film festivals around the world.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sidney Sheldon's novels I've read

During my relatively long staycation, I managed to read a lot of novels. Most of the books I've read were written by master storyteller Sidney Sheldon. Here are the different titles I have read.

Master of the game
Who is Kate Blackwell? She is the symbol of success, the beautiful woman who parlayed her inheritance into an international conglomerate. Winner of a unique position among the wealthy and world-renowned. And she's a survivor, indomitable as her father, the man who returned from the edge of death to wrench a fortune in diamonds from the bleak South African earth. Now, celebrating her ninetieth birthday, Kate surveys the family she has manipulated, dominated, and loved: the fair and the grotesque, the mad and the mild, the good and the evil -- her winnings in life. Is she the master of the game?

My rating: 95%

Memories of midnight

In "The other side of midnight", they played the ultimate game of love, lust, and death.

Now, in "Memories of midnight", the survivors meet to play one last time...

Shadowed by tragedy and burdened by amnesia, a beautiful woman desperately tries to return to reality. She is Catherine Douglas, destined to once again challenge the cruel, charismatic power of Constantin Demiris, the Greek shipping tycoon who murdered Catherine's husband. Now, in the glittering capitals and carefree playgrounds of post-war Europe, Demiris sets his deadly sights on Catherine -- and the single, treacherous secret whose shattering truth is known to her alone...

My rating: 80%

Rage of angels
Jennifer Parker is a brilliant, lovely attorney on her way up. But less than twenty-four hours after joining the district attorney's office in Manhattan, Jennifer finds her career threatened by a Mafia prince. Michael Moretti is a compelling, charismatic crime lord who seeks to expand his domain. He will let no one stand in his way... no matter her beauty or ambition.

Thus begins this mesmerizing tale of two relentless players struggling for absolute power in the greatest city in the world. And in their dangerous battle is a love more destructive than hate.

My rating: 100%

Tell me your dreams
Ashley, elegant yet haunted... Toni, sultry as well as vivacious... Alette, lovely and totally without conceit... three beautiful young women suspected of committing a series of horrifying murders. Now one of the most bizarre murder trials of the century is about to begin -- and reveal an astounding, startling piece of medical evidence almost impossible to believe. Sweeping from London to Rome, from Quebec to San Francisco, this tale from the world's reigning master storyteller is so much more than a mystery: It is a searching, riveting, and, finally, triumphant foray into the dark, wild depths of the human heart.

My rating: 95%

The best laid plans
He wanted power. Oliver Russell is fated to rise to the pinnacle of power, the office of President of the United States. She wanted revenge. Leslie Stewart is his betrayed fiancee, a woman dedicated to a single purpose -- the downfall of Oliver Russel. Amassing her own media empire, marshaling all her forces against him, she stands poised to destroy Russell on the eve of his most dazzling triumph.

From Sidney Sheldon, the unchallenged master of bestselling fiction, comes a story of blazing ambitions and thwarted love that enthralls and surprises with every page...

My rating: 90%

What I love about Sheldon's novels are the excitement it brings which makes me continue reading and not put down the book as much as possible. Sheldon manages to tell a story that catches your interest, develops the story and then suddenly surprise you with a twist or an unexpected event.

Sidney's books are not all about the excitement. While reading his novels, one realizes that there are new knowledge imparted to the reader about politics, law, crime or whatever the story is about. He was able to incorporate facts without making the art boring.

I know there are a lot more other novels written by Sheldon that I haven't read. I am totally looking forward to spend time again reading his books.

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