2017 is the year of the brave, and Cinema One Original Festival aims to bring this message to the whole Philippines through yet another iteration of their annual festival. The festival strives to push the fearless generation further along an ever-changing environment, and all of the films—seven full-length narratives and two documentaries—will contain themes that aspire to instill these into the younger generation.
Nay: Directed by Kip Oebanda
13-year old Martin lives with his Nay Luisa, a domestic worker. His parents work for a development bank, which requires them to be away for years.
One night, Martin wakes up and finds a naked young girl in their home backyard. Enticed and intrigued, he follows. Martin learns he is seriously ill and in order to survive, he is then transformed into an “aswang” by none other than the mother he grew up to love. The revelation and series of gruesome events that take place after captures fear and paranoia in a city that continuously disconnects and dehumanizes.
Cast: Sylvia Sanchez, Enchong Dee, Jameson Blake
Changing Partners: Directed by Dan Villegas
Based on a musical play of the same title, Vincent De Jesus’ Changing Titles begins with Alex and Cris as a live-in couple.
Recognizing their 15-year age gap, they are clearly in love with each other, ignoring what people say about their relationship.
Their differences become more evident six years later and we see the relationship painfully coming apart at the seams because of issues that have lingered through the years. The love story, shown through the perspective of different genders, paints how a real relationship works. It eschews the narrative for emotions and established that love knows no gender when it pains or soothes, when it hurts and heals.
Cast: Agot Isidro, Jojit Lorenzo, Sandino Martin, Anna Luna
Nervous Translation: Directed by Shireen Seno
Eight year-old Yael, shy to a fault, lives in her own private world. One day she finds out about a pen that can “translate” the thoughts and feelings of nervous people. Eight year-old Yael, shy to a fault, lives in her own private world. One day she finds out about a pen that can “translate” the thoughts and feelings of nervous people.
Cast: Jana Agoncillo, Sid Lucero
#TBT (Throwback Today): Directed by Joseph Teoxon
Primo, gifted with a good eye for production design, ventures into the working world with a great desire to succeed. Unprepared for the harsh realities of the real world, Primo experienced failure, heartbreak and regret in a series of unfortunate events. Life didn’t turn out as he had expected: He wasted away, wallowing in grief, and jumped from one odd job to another for more than a decade. While trying to make ends meet at the peak of his misfortunes, he experiences a technological glitch with his old desktop computer and gets a chance to re-write his life.
Cast: Carlo Aquino, Annicka Dolonius, Kat Galang, Empress Schuck
Si Chedeng, Si Apple, At Ang LV: Directed by Fatrick Tabada and Rae Red
In the wake of her husband’s death, Chedeng, 66, decides to come out of the closet. Her best friend Apple, 63, beheads her live-in partner in a fit of rage. Bound by friendship, the two elderly women, together with the severed head placed inside a fake Louis Vuitton bag, set off on an adventure to find Chedeng’s ex-girlfriend.
Cast: Gloria Diaz, Elizabeth Oropesa
Historiographika Errata: Directed by Richard Somes
A disillusioned and suicidal Rizal, a cross-dressing Bonifacio gripped with paranoia, an ex-Katipunero who joins the US army to save his own neck, and a widow whose sex-for-food errands lead her to become the first ever Makapili. These are the historical mosaics that will form a singular hypothesis as to why we are like this as a people and up to now still reeling from our damaged culture.
Cast: Joem Bascon, Max Eigenmann, Alex Medina, Nathalie Hart, Kean Cipriano
Paki: Directed by Giancarlo Abrahan
An 80-year old woman decides that she will be an old maid. But when the woman tries to leave her husband for sixty years, their children forbid their parents to separate.
Cast: Dexter Doria, Noel Trinidad, Shamaine Buencamino, Ricky Davao, Eula Valdez, Ina Feleo
Haunted: A Visit To The Red House: Directed by Phyllis Grande
During the World War 2, Japanese soldiers set their camps in various places in the Philippines - mostly churches, schools, and farmhouses. During these time, Japanese soldiers raid houses in the Philippines. They get the girls and kill the men. Most of the girls end up in their garrisons and camps where they were treated as sex slaves. They usually keep them for months. These girls were the so-called comfort women. There were more than a thousand of these women. One story is about the mass rape and murder in the town of Mapanique in Pampanga. Thousands of men were shot and killed while women were brought to the Bahay na Pula and raped. The Bahay na Pula is being demolished. From the 1000+ comfort women, only a few remain alive, or fighting to be alive. This documentary will serve as a memory, a reminder of the past that’s soon to be forgotten. It is a collective memoir of the women, of the house, and history.
Bundok Banahaw, Sacred And Profane (Documentary): Directed by Dempster Samarista
While Mt. Banahaw is the place where fertile streams of spirituality, mysticism, the occult, and the environment combine to provide a potent ground for the transmission and exchange of secret and sacred knowledge, it can be said to be a bazaar peddling bizarre mysteries. Pendants and amulets, herbs and potions for love, business and/or peace of mind feature prominently hand in hand with historical accounts of the Philippine Revolution, juicy tidbits of current political and criminal activities, yet the pilgrim’s purpose at this Woodstock of the Philippines’ holiest Christian week is hardly academic. And the vast array of spiritual, religious, and superstitious perspectives one will encounter can overwhelm. This is a documentary film borne out of the sheer frustrating realization that even a cursory interest in what looks like a circus from the outside might be the way to piece up the puzzle which is the Filipino psyche, Mt. Banahaw might just be the perfect microcosm of Philippine society. And yet, it still is just a mountain.
Which film are you most excited to see? Share your own unique story over at www.ChoosePhilippines.com!