MANILA, PHILIPPINES, AUGUST 3, 2021 — As the Piazza Grande reopens in Locarno, 15 Filipino filmmakers are flying in to represent the country for this year’s Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland from August 4 to 14.
One of the longest-running festivals in the world that is known as a hub for auteur cinema welcomes the Philippine delegation composed of 18 filmmakers, with 15 onsite and three participating in the online event. Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño introduced the Locarno delegates in the send-off press conference hosted by the Agency last July 29, Thursday.
“For the past three years, the Locarno Film Festival created a focus section, a special spotlight on Southeast Asian countries and one of the Southeast Asian countries featured in this focus is the Philippines. We’ve been working with the Locarno Film Festival for the last three years to make sure that our Filipino filmmakers will create a presence, will be visible in the many events and activities within Locarno, and the films that are featured in the festival will also be showcased,” said Diño in her opening remarks.
Present at the conference was director Carlo Francisco Manatad of the competing film “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon (Whether the Weather is Fine),” who shared his expectations for their participation in Locarno. “More than the selection itself, it’s actually getting to know the people, ‘yung mismong culture from films that you’ve watched. I think right now, kung ano ‘yung mapapanood ko, kung sino ‘yung mga makikilala ko doon, every time naman learning experience, excited ako doon and sobrang thankful ako for Locarno for giving me this platform again to show my feature,” he said.
Actress Rans Rifol expressed her enthusiasm for the event, “Super happy and excited ako since it’s really my first time. This is my debut film talaga, ito ‘yung pinakamalaking role na nakuha ko sa buong buhay ko and to be part of this prestigious event, sobrang kinakabahan, pero sobrang excited ako.”
Head of Locarno Open Doors Miss Sophie Bourbon made an appearance at the press conference to speak on her confidence in the Philippine delegation, “I think if the Philippines is so strongly represented in the context of our festival this year, this is not just by chance. It does reflect the amazing work and the diversity of cinema that you have been developing for years now and we’re really honored to be able to give you additional windows and platforms to present either your projects or your films in different stages, either you’re a director or a producer.”
Participating in the Open Doors Screenings is director Alyx Ayn Arumpac with her film “Aswang,” conveying her anticipation for the festival, “I think it’s mostly personal for me in a sense that I also really look forward to going back to the cinema. I’ve only seen ‘Aswang’ in the cinema a few times because of course nag-pandemic nga. This culture, this festival, meeting colleagues, it’s very important for us, it’s a very good moment for us, for everyone. That’s mostly what I look forward to and expect.”
Line producer Pat Sumagui and producer Armi Rae Cacanindin of “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon” together with “Next Picture” director Cris Bringas, film project “Sam” producer Pamela Reyes, project “RA 8491 or “How We Recall Memories of Transit” producer Stelle Laguda, and producers Patti Lapus with project “Goliath”, Micah Tadena for the project “Inherit,” and “Filipiñana” director Rafael Manuel are among the delegates who attended the press conference.
A PH filmmakers luncheon will be hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Switzerland on August 10 for the Philippine delegates. The Agency, meanwhile, will host Philippine Cinema Night. The 74th Locarno Film Festival will run in a hybrid format.
Concorso Cineasti del Presente (Filmmakers of the Present Competition)
Competing for the Pardo d’oro Cineasti del presente in the emerging directors’ section, Concorso Cineasti del Presente is “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon” by director Manatad. Starring Daniel Padilla, Rifol, and Charo Santos-Concio, the film participated in the 2019 FDCP Project Market and was awarded a fund worth PHP 2.5 million through the Agency’s FilmPhilippines International Co-production Fund (ICOF) in 2021.
Director Manatad, actress Rifol, executive producers Cacanindin, Josabeth Alonso, and Quark Henares, line producer Sumagui, writer Giancarlo Abrahan, and editor Ferrer will be attending the onsite event for the film’s screenings from August 8 to 11.
● Sunday, August 8 – 19:00 – Teatro Kursaal (Press screening)
● Monday, August 9 – 18:00 – PalaCinema Sala 1 (with Q&A)
● Tuesday, August 10 – 17:00 – La Sala
● Wednesday, August 11 – 13:30 – PalaCinema Sala 2 and PalaCinema Leopard Club
From 2019 to 2021, Locarno has chosen to spotlight films and projects from Mongolia and countries in Southeast Asia, namely, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The Open Doors program consists of the Open Doors Hub, Open Doors Lab, and Open Doors Screenings that will be held from August 6 to 10 followed by the Awards Ceremony and Closing dinner on August 10.
Director E Del Mundo and producer Reyes with their project “Sam” were selected to participate in the Open Doors Hub, a co-production platform for selected project teams in the search for international collaborations.
Producer Laguda will participate in the Open Doors Lab, a producer-centric six-day training program. Locarno mentor since 2016, producer, writer and co-founder and CEO of Epicmedia Productions, Inc. Bianca Balbuena-Liew will be returning as a mentor for the Open Doors Lab.
Participating in the onsite event for the Open Doors Screenings, the non-competitive section for selected films, are director Arumpac with her film “Aswang,” Sonny Calvento’s “Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss,” and Bringas’ “Next Picture.”
“Aswang” Screening Schedule
● Sunday, August 8, 2:00 PM · L’altra Sala
● Monday, August 9, 9:00 PM · PalaCinema 2
● August 4-14, 2021
“Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss” Screening Schedule
● Thursday, August 5, 2 PM – L’altra Sala
● Friday, August 6, 6:45 PM – PalaCinema2
● Friday, August 6, 6:45 PM – PalaCinema3 Leopard Club
● August 4-14, 2021
“Next Picture” Screening Schedule
● Tuesday, August 10, 2PM – L’Altra Sala
● Wednesday, August 11, 9PM – Sala 2 Palacinema
● August 4-14, 2021
Producers Sarah Brakensiek and her project “LETTER TO NANCY,” Lapus with “Goliath,” and Tadena with “Inherit” are among the online delegates of the Match Me! Program, a platform for young producers to network their company’s profile and projects to potential co-producers. The FDCP is a Match Me! Partner.
Director Manuel, who won the 2020 Berlinale Shorts Silver Bear Jury Prize for “Filipiñana,” will take part in the Locarno Filmmakers Academy, an intensive program for young directors with the opportunity to meet with internationally-renowned professionals in the industry.
Producers Marvin Lyndon Carmelo Matias of Chimera Visions, Gale Osorio of Binisaya Movement Inc., Ma. Anna Asuncion-Dagñalan of Eyepoppers Multimedia Services, Anne Prado-Magadia of Atom & Anne Mediaworks Corp., Real Randolph Joseph Florido of Firestarters Studios, and Alex Poblete of Los Ostros will receive a Locarno Pro Online Badge to have access to Locarno Pro, a platform that aims to elevate the career of industry professionals on auteur cinema from its conception to its release.
For more information on the Philippine participation in the 74th Locarno Film Festival, visit https://www.locarnofestival.ch/LFF/locarno-74.html.