Cinemalaya 2022 welcomes back 11 full-length features

Competition director Jose Javier Reyes (seventh from left) with finalists in the short film category: (from left) Ma. Estela Paiso, Zig Dulay, Alemberg Ang, Xeph Suarez, Gabriela Serrano, Nena Jane Achacoso, Dexter Paul de Jesus, Raz de la Torre, Claudia Fernando and Maria Kydylee Torato.

Come 2023, the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival will be featuring a category for documentary films, Chris Millado, its festival director, announced on Wednesday.

In fact, this year’s edition of the Cinemalaya will screen two documentaries as closing films, “to signal that the festival will open a new category next year,” Millado said during a media gathering on Wednesday at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), which is the venue of the most celebrated annual local indie fete.

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The 2022 Cinemalaya, which carries the theme “Breaking Through the Noise,” will run from Aug. 5 to 14

Karl Malakunas’ “Delikado,” a hard-hitting film on the illegal logging activities in Palawan, will be screened back-to-back Stefanos Tai’s “We Don’t Dance for Nothing,” which is a nontraditional film about overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong who find themselves in the tumult of the pro-democracy rallies that happened there before the pandemic.

The festival’s opening film will be Martina Ramirez Escobar’s psychological comedy-drama film “Leonor Will Never Die.” It stars Sheila Francisco as a retired screenwriter, who, after falling into a coma, finds herself the action hero of her unfinished screenplay. The film, which premiered at the World Dramatic Cinema Competition section of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in January, has been making the rounds of festivals abroad ever since.

Cultural guardians

“Cinemalaya began in 2005, a time when the film industry was experiencing some kind of a doldrum. Eighteen years later, we find ourselves in a more intense and deadly situation after coming in and out of lockdowns. What’s good is that we’re all back here. We see ourselves not only as survivors, but as cultural guardians,” Millado began.