#ToFarmFilmFestival2017 Reviews: High Tide, Instalado, What Home Feels Like

Started July 12 at SM Megamall, SM Manila, Gateway Cineplex, Robinsons Galleria and Greenbelt 1, the ToFarm Film Festival 2017 aims to uplift the farmers as well as its professional development. It is most worthy and significant since this is the only film festival that showcases the lives, journeys, aspirations, trials and tribulations – failures and successes of the farmers and other stewards of agriculture.

ToFarm Posters

The festival will give them the acknowledgement, honor and the respect due them as caretakers of our resources from the Great Creator.

The vision is to highlight the aspiration of the Filipino farmers and journey to success. And the mission is to stimulate the agriculture environment with the help of film medium in order to promote awareness in the life of Filipino farmers.

Here are our reviews for Tara Illenberger’s High Tide, Jason Paul Laxamana’s Instalado and Joseph Abello’s What Home Feels Like:

ToFarm High Tide 02

Tara Illenberger’s High Tide is a about a struggling family that strives to just get by the days with what they could get from the little earnings of their father’s work and the food they could get from the sea.

But this is more than just a story of a family, this is more than just a story of two kids trying to help their parents with their friend. The film subtly puts situations where in climate change is tackled, and that’s more than just a film about the people whose situations focus the livelihood of the characters.

High Tide starts as something ordinary but it subtly plants its build up for the film’s complication. It’s a small but powerful film that is smartly written and relevant. I may not like the color of the film but the intention and the content is clear and there is more than just a story here, there are also realizations. Realizations of how innocence can push children in their urge to help and how we should also be concerned and vigilant of the changes the nature and how we can do something about it.

Instalado 02

A science fiction film about farming? That’s new. Well, Jason Paul Laxamana’s Instalado clearly brought something new to the Filipino audience and it’s independently produced which makes it even more impressive.

Instalado is slow paced but that’s because it tells a story of a bigger story and not it’s not focused on one character. The best thing about it is it’s interesting, the story, while focused on little characters, leads to something big, something life changing.

McCoy de Leon with his innocent looks is perfect for his role, but the scene stealer here is Francis Magundayao. Even with his age, his scenes and lines are powerful enough to make you give him your full attention.

The film is a proof of Lacsamana’s edge on directing, even with a little budget for a film, the movie doesn’t feel like it was independently produced. Of course, the CGI could use more work but it was still pretty decent.

Instalado feels like a prequel of a bigger movie, an origin story that may not be for everyone. But there’s something in it that makes you want more. The story which elevates the use of science fiction in Filipino filmmaking. It may not be full-on sci-fi but what it presents is enough for its story.

ToFarm What Home Feels Like 01

What Home Feels Like, from the title and the trailer, the film looks to be something that will touch the hearts of its viewers and sure enough, it will.

The film is as personal as it can be. Antonio, played by Bembol Roco perfectly plays the role of an OFW father who goes home and is looking for his place with his own family at his own home.

What Home Feels Like doesn’t need melodramatic scenes to be powerful, as the situations already suggest it. But what I like about the film is that the story is as honest as it can be with all of its characters. From its lead characters (Roco and Adlawan) to its supporting characters, which are the children, they were written realistically. There is no need for sugarcoating or getting overdramatic about their feelings as the silent moments presented are the most heartbreaking scenes. When Bembol sits somewhere quietly or looks somewhere afar, the audience already knows how heavy he is feeling. The connection between the audience and the movie is there effortlessly.

The film is simple, the story can be understood by anyone, visually and emotionally. It speaks of an issue that is universal. How distance, lack of time and lack of communication can make you a stranger to even your blood relative, to someone who loves you dearly. It is a something we do not often speak of, but is clearly present in most of the families.

The pain of Antonio transcends from the screen and most of us are guilty of the same situation, what he or his family is going through. Bembol Roco deserves all the praises for his portrayal and writer and director Joseph Abello is one artist we should look out for.

ToFarm Posters

The ToFarm Film Festival 2017 runs from July 12 – 18 at SM Megamall, SM Manila, Greenbelt 1, Gateway Cineplex and Robinsons Galleria.

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