#CulturePH - Your Guide for 2023 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival (Trailers, Posters, Synopsis) #Cinemalaya2023

It's the time of the year when independent film enthusiasts gather for the biggest independent film festival in the country, the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival. Happening from August 4 to 16 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and CCP Black Box Theater, this year's theme is "ilumiNasyon". Sharing with you official movie posters, synopsis and trailers to help you decide which one you'll watch if not all.

ANG DUYAN NG MAGITING by Dustin Celestino

Written and directed by Dustin Celestino

Starring in alphabetical order:  Dolly De Leon, Bituin Escalante, Agot Isidro, Miggy Jimenez, Jojit Lorenzo, Frances Makil-Ignacio, Paolo O'Hara, Joel Saracho, Dylan Ray Talon 

A collection of interwoven stories about life and violence in the Philippines, following a college professor, a university chancellor, a social worker, a police chief, two students, two mothers, and a lawyer.

The film is an anthology of scenes among the protagonists, antagonists, and victims of war, terrorism, and politics in the country

Director of photography is Kara Moreno, line producer is Christianare Dela Cruz, executive producer is Roscelyn Domingo, producer is Janel Gutierrez


AS IF IT’S TRUE by John Rogers

Written and directed by John Rogers.

Starring Khalil Ramos and Ashley Ortega.

Also starring Adrianna So, John Silverio, Angellie Sanoy, Rachel Coates, and special participation of Marnie Lapus.

Gemma Stone is a social media influencer/ content creator who’s burning out from trying to maintain the interest of her followers.  She meets James, a struggling musician suffering from depression.  They enter into a relationship with the mutual intent to capitalize on the other. 

Gemma uses James for content by presenting him as a perfect aspirational romantic partner, while James leeches off Gemma’s wealth and connections to further his own music career.  But, as time passes, their intentions don't pan out as they expect and a blur forms between real love and exploitation.

Director of photography is Che Espiritu, line producer is Lexter Tarriela, supervising producer is Omar Sortijas, producers are Elmer Catchalian and Ferdinand Lapuz, executive producers are Perci Intalan and Jun Robles Lana. 

BULAWAN NGA USA (Golden Deer) by Kenneth De La Cruz

Written and directed by Kenneth De La Cruz.

Starring Ron Matthews Espinosa and John Niel Paguntalan.

Also starring CJ Pagayon, Filemon Capanang, Babbeth Fuentes Vargas, Tara Rose Molina, GC Castro, Lolita Madrid, Krystoffer Ays Grabato, with Sharon Idione.

A young man goes to the mountain to escape his reality and while there, he is confronted by events that draw a very thin line between mystery and self-discovery.

Director of photography is Mark Tarroza Dizon, executive and creative producer is Kevin Pison Piamonte, producers are Robert Rodriguez and Hope Abilo .

GITLING Jopy Arnaldo

Written and directed by Jopy Arnaldo.

Starring Gabby Padilla and Ken Yamamura, with Emmanuel Dela Cruz.

Jamie just called off her engagement from the one person who was supposed to.  Makoto ran away to the Philippines to escape the wife who cheated on him two years ago.  Their paths cross in Bacolod where they work together and create Ilonggo subtitles for Makoto’s film.  Together, as they go through the filmmaking process, they find solace in a friendship they never knew they needed.

Director of photography is Mycko David, producer and line producer is KC Contrevida.


HULING PALABAS by Ryan Machado

Written and directed by Ryan Machado.
Starring Shun Mark Gomez and Bon Andrew Lentejas.
Also starring Jay Gonzaga, Serene Magiliw, Senanda Gomez, and Cedrick Juan.

In the summer of 2001, a 16-year-old boy searches for his long-lost father in the most unlikely of things — VHS tapes.  His reality becomes mystified when two movielike characters appear in their small hometown.

As per its official page, the film tells the story of Andoy who lives and breathes movies, scouring video rental stores with his best friend, Pido, dreaming of the films he can't afford to watch.

Director of photography is Theo Lozada, supervising producer is Sarah Brakensiek, creative producers are Jalz Zarate, Jerom Canlas, Cris Bringas, produced by Ferdinand Lapuz, executive producer is Ryan Espinosa Machado


ITI MAPUKPUKAW (The Missing) by Carl Joseph Papa

Written and directed by Carl Joseph Papa.

Starring Carlo Aquino, Gio Gahol, and Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee Dolly De Leon.

“What’s lost will be found.”

When an alien comes back to take him, a mouthless young man's life twists and turns as his memories untangle.

This is Cinemalaya’s first full length animated film in competition. 

Director of photography is Jethro Jamon, supervising producer is Reign Anne De Guzman, line producer is Ma. Sarah Perez, produced by Geo Lomuntad and Dan Villegas, executive producers are Dan Villegas, Antoinette Jadaone, and Nessa Valdellon. 


MARIA by Sheryl Rose Andes

A documentary directed by Sheryl Rose Andes.

In the Philippines, where there is shrinking civic and democratic space; and a culture of impunity, three women named Maria are on the journey of seeking truth and fighting for justice.

This is the first documentary film entry in the 19 years of #Cinemalaya (in competition), directed by a woman.

Director of photography is Mai Calapardo and Daniel Ramos, field producer is Tin Velasco, co-producers are Jedd Dumaguina, and Wesley Yap, produced by Bryan Kristoffer Brazil.  


ROOKIE by Samantha Lee 

Directed by Samantha Lee.

Written by Natts Jadaone and Samantha Lee.

Starring Pat Tingjuy, Aya Fernandez, and Agot Isidro.

“Queer joy, out in the open, in broad daylight.” 

A tall, awkward teenager moves to a new town and is forced to join the volleyball team of her new all-girl Catholic high school.  Everything changes when she falls for the volleyball team captain.

Director of photography is Choice Israel, supervising producers are Reign Anne De Guzman and Maria Kristina Cruz, line producer is Ava Yap, creative producer is Benedict Mendoza, executive producers are Bianca Balbuena, Ian Monsod, Rexy Dorado, Kayla Marin Calderon, producers are Dan Villegas, Antoinette Jadaone, Samantha Lee, Kren Yap, Jan Pineda


TETHER by Gian Arre

Written and directed by Gian Arre.
Starring Mikoy Morales and Jorrybell Agoto.

Every touch.  Every breath.  Every cut.

After having a one-night stand, an arrogant playboy and a timid young woman discover that any kind of pleasure or pain they inflict on themselves can be felt simultaneously by the other person.

Director of photography is Yves Publico, produced by Rea Robles and Marlyn Robles in partnership with Voodoo Inc and Flat Planet Workspace. 


WHEN THIS IS ALL OVER by Kevin Mikhail Mayuga 

Written and directed by Kevin Mayuga

Starring Juan Karlos and Jorrybell Agoto

Also starring Ana Abad Santos, Chaye Mogg, Nour Hooshmand, Jico Umali, Renee Dominique, Aaron Maniego, Jonathan Tadioan, Lottie Bie, Zara Loayan, Lotlot Bustamante

“There are no bad trips.”

A disconnected desperate forges a deal with a group of privileged misfits to plan a secret party at the height of a global pandemic for a chance to escape his reality.

Director of photography is Martika Ramirez Escobar, producer is Jan Pineda, line producer is Tin Velasco, supervising producer is Maria Kristina Cruz, executive producers are Ian Monsod, Bianca Balbuena, Monster Jimenez, Rafa Laperal, Arthur De Guia, Vickie De Guia, Robie De Guia, Joanna De Guia, Christine De Guia, Sabrina De Guia, Fiorello Estuar 

Based on the posters, synopsis and trailers shared above, which three (3) films will you watch first or you are interested to watch? 

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