Costanilla: Cinemalaya in Cebu Aug. 9-14

BIGGER. It’s nice to know that for the very first time in its 12-year existence, the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival will be bigger this year as it expands its reach here in Cebu. This I learned during a press huddle last week at Marriott Hotel where Cris Millado of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) personally announced the good news. He said this is the first time the festival will be held outside Luzon. Also present in the press huddle were local filmmaker Ron Heri Tan (he is currently studying film directing) and Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director Ricky Ballesteros.

FILMS. So from Aug. 9 to 14, a total of 19 films in both full-length feature and short feature categories will be screened at Ayala Center Cebu. On opening day (Aug. 9), a special program that starts at 5 p.m. will showcase two competition films, namely, Dagsin (Gravity), written and directed by Atom Magadia, and Lando ug Bugoy, written and directed by Vic Acedillo Jr. According to a press kit that I got, Dagsin is a beautiful and touching love story about courageous people that are willing to sacrifice everything just to protect their loved ones against the tragedies of human existence. On the other hand, Lando ug Bugoy has this logline: Disrespected by his teenage son, a 40-year-old high school dropout tries to solve this problem by returning to school which only makes his son hate him even more. Amidst the struggle between them, an unexpected event changes everything. This film was set in Camiguin Island. On opening day, both Magadia and Acedillo will be at Ayala Center Cebu to meet with the moviegoers.

THEME. With the theme “Break the Surface,” this year’s Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, as in the past, intends to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers. To me, this project should be sustained as a yearly competition whoever heads the CCP. After all, the filmmaking industry is apolitical, although some of its productions also dwell on political issues.

PERFECT. It’s a perfect match—the union of two champions as man and wife. I’m referring to eskrima/arnis grand winner Gerald Cañete and singing champion Ronna Jenn Lofranco, now Mrs. Cañete. She was the grand winner in the 2012 Sinulog Idol singing competition so it’s no surprise that their wedding tagline was “Love is the melody that sticks our hearts together.” Melody pertains to Ronna’s affinity for music as a singer, while sticks signify Gerald’s sport—stick fighting.

SINGERS. So during the reception dinner that I emceed, Ronna’s close friends and fellow champions in the World Championship of the Performing Arts in New York were there to wow the guests with their respective numbers. Windey Prado-Avendaño, Danielle May Ozarraga, Vin Guardiana and 2012 Sinulog Idol singing competition second runner-up Mark Vincent Seville performed their respective songs like it was a concert that we were watching. Fr. Jonas Mejares, OSA, who performed the wedding rites, also rendered his own version of You Raise Me Up before dinner started. Shortly before the party ended, the lovely bride herself sang Because You Love Me while crying. Tears of happiness.

TIDBITS. Edu Manzano, Giselle Sanchez, Rez Cortez and several other Manila-based stars that are members of Oasis of Love Manila are coming to town to attend the charismatic community’s 21st founding anniversary on Aug. 7 at SM City Seaside, according to head servant Nonito “Tatay Dodong” Limchua who is also president of Cebu Catholic Television Network ...Friends of a popular vocal coach and an award-winning singer/stage actor are hoping against hope that they will be able to resolve their conflict and eventually kiss and make up ...The Cebu City inter-barangay youth short film competition should continue even if the Commission on Youth and Sports Development will be abolished per plan of the mayor.
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