QCINEMA features eight new local indies this week

Only three years old today, the Quezon City International Film Festival started out giving film grants amounting to 800,000 pesos for each of the three filmmakers selected in 2013.  After 9 years since the creation of the Quezon City Film Development Commission, QCinemaFest now awards 1 million pesos to 8 filmmakers in form of financial support.

But did you know that with or without QCFest a city-based filmmaker or film production can apply for a film grant/support to QC local government through QC Film Development Commission? Of course, they would say "sumali ka na lang sa QCFest" - but being the only film commission created through a city ordinance since 2006, its main thrust has been " to provide logistical, technical, and financial support to enable filmmakers, actors, writers, producers, editors, and other media practitioners to hone their craft." The production grant provided by QCinema for each of the eight selected finalists is distinguished from other festival grants in that the filmmakers have full ownership of their films.

This year’s festival also features a documentary film competition, international film programs, special film exhibitions, and filmmaking for a.  QCFest has already been started since October 22 and will come to a close with the awards ceremony on October 30, and last screening schedules are slated on October 31.

Here are the eight films competing this year:


“Water Lemon”, co-written with Lilit Reyes, is set in a coastal Quezon town where the mundane lives of a grieving widow, her socially-handicapped son and a helpless grandfather interconnect to create bumps in their flatline lives. Lorca’s previous film, “Mauban”, competed in last year’s Circle Competition.


Pepe Diokno, whose debut film “Engkwentro” won the Lion of the Future Award in the 2009 Venice Film Festival, megs his third feature with “Kapatiran”. Focusing on a elite law school fraternity, it follows a week in the lives of a neophyte, a master, and a lawyer alumnus, and crosses the lines of money, power and connections within Manila’s society. “Kapatiran” is line-produced by Bianca Balbuena, with Lilit Reyes as co-writer.


“Iisa” by Chuck Gutierrez is a thriller about a never-ending war, a town ravaged by a devastating storm and the woman caught in between. Gutierrez, a multi-awarded film editor/producer and is the co-founder of Voyage Studios, together with Babyruth Gutierrez. This marks Gutierrez’ first feature as director, with last year’s QCinema grantee, Arnel Mardoquio, as co-writer.


Another debuting filmmaker is Mihk Vergara with “Patintero: Ang Alamat ni Meng Patalo” together with director Dan Villegas as line producer. This first feature is about a young neighbourhood underdog or a “patalo” who assembles an unlikely team of losers to join her in the ultimate battle for the streets: patintero. Vergara previously worked as director of the TV series, “Rakista” as well as music videos.


Award winning production designer and graphic artist, Cesar Hernando also makes his first full-length feature after his past collaborations with directors Raymond Red, Mike de Leon and Lav Diaz. 

A dark tale of fatal obsession and erotic passion, “Gayuma” centers on a young student artist mesmerized by a beautiful and mysterious figure drawing model in his art school.


Two former freelance writers from Star Cinema, Prime Cruz and Jen Chuaunsu, collaborate for their first feature, “Sleepless”. An offbeat rom-com about two insomniacs, it charts how they start to bond while the rest of the world sleeps. Drawn together by their nocturnal loneliness, they talk about love, zombies and everything in between.


Jet Leyco’s “Matangtubig” tells the story of how a violent crime disrupts a quaint rural town in Batangas. A girl’s dead body is discovered and puts the whole town on trial while the former’s companion remains missing. The ensuing media spectacle slowly exposes the town’s secrets. As they celebrate its yearly festival by the lake, an unknowing sleeping evil unravels and haunts the townsfolk. A freelance documentary producer for ABS-CBN, Leyco has two previous films to his directorial credit, including“Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na” (2013).


Completing the eight finalists is “Apocalypse Child,” a partnership between director Mario Cornejo and producer Monster Jimenez, who have collaborated on movies since their first film, “Big Time” at the 2005 Cinemalaya Film Festival. The film is set in the surfing town of Baler where Ford is wasting his youth away. Named after Francis Ford Coppola, his mother continuously hopes that the Hollywood director would someday acknowledge her son. As another surfing season is ending, he is forced to confront his past, including the myths about his life.

It is already Monday today, and if you are still planning to catch up but considerably on a tight budget and you only have a little work leave-day to spare, you can't possibly see them all. Here is the best we could come up to a tailor-fit schedule. Yes, they are selling festival passes, but they have a "one theater mall only" policy. Each ticket is priced 150.00. The only difference it would make is the freebies (t-shirt and sling bag) they give along with the P1, 500 pass.

Don't forget to see Oscar-bound film Tangerine, written, directed, and shot by Sean Baker using an iPhone. It is currently pressed as a "transgender revenge story" which features awards-worthy performances of real-life transgender actresses, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor. There's also the Berlin International Film Festival favorite, Victoria, which was directed by German filmmaker Sebastian Schipper using the now outlandishly trendy one-take continuous filming in the same breath of ambition as last year's Oscar winner, Birdman (Dir. Alejandro Iñarritu). 

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