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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Cebu festival attracts 500 international films

ON its fourth year, the Cebu International Documentary Film Festival (CIDFF) opened its doors to narratives and animation films, turning the new category into the first Cebu International Film Festival (CIFF).

“It’s still pure,” award-winning filmmaker Raymond Red described the CIFF. “It’s still about exchanging films, culture and exposing the people here since it’s a different cinema the audiences are not used to seeing.”

Red, the first Filipino winner in the Cannes Film Festival, was a festival jury member in the narrative category.

April Dequito, one of the board members of the film festival, shared that entries in the film fest were not made for mere entertainment; most were done to build a cinematic culture.

“You don’t look only at the story but how the film is done. The star is not only the actress but also the maker,” said Dequito.

Janice Villarosa, the festival’s artistic director and a juror in last year’s run, believes that the CIDFF and CIFF have longevity and potential. She urged Cebuanos to support the festival because it’s good for the economy. It also highlights Cebu in the world map as a venue where great films are screened.

Villarosa, though, admitted that there is a lot of work to be done in changing the Filipinos’ perspective on films. She said Filipinos should embrace independent films and be enlightened on how good these films are and not just focus on the popularity of actors in commercial movies.

The CIDFF partnered with CBM Film Services, which showcased its topnotch film equipment with a bargain price during the Cebu Film Market Expo last Aug.16 and 17 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Graham Flecher, a finalist in the narrative category for his film Blood and Carpet, was impressed with Cebu’s potential in the film market. “The facilities are here, the locations are here and the people have good work ethic. You can get really high production value in this country,” he said.

Over 500 film entries were submitted for pre-selection by the board members of CIDFF and CIFF. There were only over a hundred last year. The festival started with just 80 entries in 2012, which increased to 170 in 2013.

The hand-picked films were shown in different venues in Cebu.

The festival flew in creative and film masters from all over the world to compose the festival jury: digital animator and filmmaker Ramon del Prado, national award-winning documentary filmmaker Aarti Shrivastava, Red, producer and director Ramon Tort, architect Omar Maxwell Espina and director and editor Bryan Storkel.
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