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March 13, 2012

Big Showing of Pinoy Films at the Berlinale International Film Festival

Four Filipino films were fielded in four competitions of the 62nd Berlinale Film Festival. According to the Philippine Embassy in Germany, Filipino films were all well received by international audiences. This was held last Feb 9 to 19, 2012.

Some details of the exhibited Pinoy films....

Main Competition Programme: 


This fiction film retraces real life events about a hostage drama in southern Philippines.  Mr. Brillante Mendoza directed this film which is among the first five films selected as official entries in the Main Competition this year.  

For almost the past three decades, the Philippines has not had a film entry in the Main Competition section. The first and only time it did was in 1983 with the film  ‘Himala’ by award-winning director Ishmael Bernal.  Director Mendoza’s Captive hopes to once more gain Berlinale audiences’ attention to the excellence of filmmaking in the Philippines.  Mr. Mendoza is the first and only Filipino so far to have won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival for his film  ‘Kinatay’  (2009).   Captive  is among the first five entries publicly announced for the Competition last January. Around 22 films so far from all over the world are competing this year. 
Forum Section:

“Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank”

An independent film about how to make (or not to make?) independent films.  Indie films, as they are more popularly known, are making it big in the Philippines.   This film, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, directed by Marlon N. Rivera, is a hilarious take on the Filipino indie film industry, its ups and downs, and the seemingly endless challenges that indie filmmakers face. 

This film garnered the Best Director, Best Actress (Ms. Eugene Domingo) and Best Film awards at the 7th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival in Manila in 2011.  It is Marlon Rivera’s directorial debut, and it is competing in this year’s Berlinale Forum section. 
Generation Kplus Section:

For the young generation section, the film “Nono,” is the Philippines’ entry this year.  Directed by Rommel Tolentino, the film is about a young child with a speech disability due to facial deformity, and his desire to join the oratorical contest during his school’s National Language Week celebration.  Nono has already won the Special Jury Prize in the

2009 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival in Manila, while Director Tolentino is the first Filipino filmmaker who has won the very prestigious Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France in 2009.   

According to the Berlinale’s website, the Generation section is “home to works that are thematically and aesthetically linked to the experiences of children and young people, despite being originally intended for another target audience. Such films are often suitable for young people and can therefore be also marketed towards them.” 

Short Film Section: 

“Pusong Wazak!”  

This year, 27 films from 22 countries will be competing for the Golden Bear and Silver Bear Jury Prize, the DAAD Short Film Award and a short film nomination for the European Film Prize. Pusong Wazak! is the classic love story between a gangster and a prostitute. “Khavn de la Cruz deconstructs this often recounted tale of love…and explores in fleeting images the likelihood of dying too early from the violence so omnipresent in the Philippines today,” says the Berlinale Short Film press release.  Khavn de la Cruz sat as a member of the International Short Film Jury of the Berlinale in 2008.  He is not only a filmmaker, but also a multi-awarded writer and composer, and is the festival director of .MOV, the first digital film festival in the Philippines.

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