PITONG KABANG PALAY by Maricel Cariaga
A traditional story of a Filipino family struggling with their everyday lives. The Dela Cruz family who lives in a hut beside the farm they’re taking care of, only has 7 sacks of rice left before harvesting time arrives again, hence the title Pitong Kabang Palay. They struggle as they budget their food supply and money while also experiencing difficulties such as daily expenses and emergencies.
Maricel Cariaga’s Pitong Kabang Palay gets to be entertaining and charming because of its child stars. The story and focus is uneven and the film ended not hinting that it’s directed that way. But the film boasts some interesting and sincere moments from the child characters. It’s a heartfelt gesture from a child to worry about his family and newcomer Algonso Ynigo Delen and Micko Laurente. Sue Prado and Arnold Reyes also shines in their role as the parents. Pitong Kabang Palay manages to present a decent story of a family that is very Filipino even though it does have some weird choices that automatically adds to its problems.
PAUWI NA by Paolo Villaluna and Ellen Ramos
Pauwi Na, inspired by a news article back in September 2003, follows an ailing man, a thief, a dog, a blind pregnant woman and Jesus Christ while they go through a tragi-comic journey of self-discovery as they decide to pedal their way from Manila to Bicol.
It’s ridiculous, really, but Paolo Villaluna and Ellen Ramos’ Pauwi Na is satisfyingly odd. It embraces its characters and story that it delivers a depressing, heartbreaking, confusing and fun, all at the same time. And it gives some of the most genuine comedic scenes in recent memory. All of it was because of a very effective cast composed of Cherry Pie Picache, Bembol Rocco, Meryll Soriano, Jerald Napoles, Chai Fonancier and even Shamaine Buencamino’s short appearance. It may not have any connection with farming or anything that the ToFarm Film Festival is about, but the film is a genuine treat.
FREE RANGE by Dennis Marasigan
Free Range is the story of Chito, son to the owners of a lodge in Coron, Palawan, who was encouraged to go into growing organic chickens because of shortage in eggs in their town. He’s juggling his job in the lodge business of his family, the new business he entered and his family which is based in Manila.
Dennis Marsigan’s Free Range is pleasantly made but doesn’t get to fully present its potential. It is the only film of the six entries of ToFarm Film Festival that gets the essence of the said film festival. While telling its story, the film also inserts information about Palawan, or at least some of it. And that’s the thing, there are a lot of stories but they were only covered for a small amount of time and attention. But everything is harmless and at times fun, you get to see the beauty of Coron, Palawan while being informed about some of it.
TOFARM Film Festival runs from July 13 to 19, 2016 at SM Megamall and SM North Edsa. And EXTENDED for one more week at SM Megamall Cinema.
Provincial screenings are slated on August 24 to 30 at SM Angeles Pampanga and SM Cabanatuan; September 14 to 20 at SM Cebu; and October 12 to 18 in SM Davao.
Supporting this film festival is LandBank of the Philippines.
For more information, visit www.tofarm.org or the festival’s Facebook site, TOFARM Film Festival Philippines.