Coming soon: ‘Sineng Pambansa’ filmfest


A week-long festival of Filipino films is being presented June 17 to 23 at the Producers Club on 354 West 44th Street. The 2011 Sineng Pambansa is organized in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the New York Film Festival.

Slated for screening are the following films. Click here for a complete film schedule:

“Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria” / Eleuteria’s Dream
Directed by Remton Siega Zuasola
Written by Maria Victoria Beltran and Remton Siega Zuasola
Starring Donna Gimeno, Gregg Tecson, Lucia Juezan, Emelda Mabusay

In this comedy-drama, Terya, a simple island girl, is about to leave her home to marry a foreigner. Her journey ignites a series of events and introduces certain characters that affect her eventual decision to stay or go. The story takes place in the scenic Olango Island in the midst of the Baliw-Baliw Festival that holds parallel to Terya’s state of mind, as she walks the path towards her destiny.

“Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio” / The Trial of Andres Bonifacio
Directed by Mario O’ Hara
Written by Mario O’Hara
Starring Alfred Vargas, Miles Canapi, Danielle Castano, Lance Raymundo

“Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio” is the untold story of the trial of Andres Bonifacio under the Revolutionary Government of President Emilio Aguinaldo. Two leaders, Andres Bonifacio, Supremo of the Katipuneros, and Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the Revolutionary Government, made their way to fight for freedom for the Filipinos against the dominant rule, fought for a cause, and for a reason to be one nation. Yet only one should rule. This was the start of Philippine politics.

“Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe” / The Rapture of Fe
Directed by Alvin Yapan
Written by Alvin Yapan
Starring Irma Adlawan, TJ Trinidad, Mercedes Cabral, Nonie Buencamino

Each morning, baskets of black fruits mysteriously appear by the front yard of Fe. Thinking that it was a reconciliatory gesture from her abusive husband Dante, Fe tells him about it. This only confirms Dante’s suspicions that she might be entertaining an adulterous relationship. Fearing her husband’s jealousy, Fe grows even more scared as the fruits keep coming, a step closer to her front door. She keeps everything to herself until she turns to a former suitor, Arturo. When Fe urges Arturo to elope, she finds out that the young man has far more binding commitments with his family. Caught between an abusive husband and an impotent lover, Fe has to decide.

“Bakal Boys” / The Children Metal Divers
Directed by Ralston Jover
Produced by Bessie Badilla and Albert Almendralejo
Written by Ralston Jover and Henry Burgos
Starring Gina Pareno, Jess Evardone, Meljon Guinto, Vincent Olano, Edgardo Olano Jr.

A realistic docudrama, “Bakal Boys” tells the heartrending story of children who scavenge for metal scraps from old sunken ships in the murky waters of Manila Bay, often risking their lives in the process. Known locally as bakal boys, they sell their harvest to the owner of a junkshop who exploits them by bidding the lowest price. The burdensome plight brings the boys together, as depicted by the camaraderie of 9-year-old Utoy and 12-year-old Bungal. When one of them goes suddenly missing, the other swims through the dark waters, determinedly and bravely, as an act of supreme sacrifice and true friendship.

“Bayaning Third World” / Third World Hero
Directed by Mike De Leon
Written by Clodualdo ‘Doy’ Del Mundo Jr. and Mike De Leon
Starring Joel Torre, Ricky Davao, Cherry Pie Picache, Rio Locsin, Daria Ramirez, Lara Fabregas, Cris Villanueva, Joonee Gamboa

A complex film within a film that attempts to explore the myth of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal, director Mike De Leon’s study in manufactured mythology attempts to explore the life of Rizal while simultaneously investigating his influence on modern Philippine society. De Leon begins to study the historical accounts of Rizal’s life while attempting to contact the family and friends that were closest to him. Confounded by the controversial letter of retraction that Rizal signed in his later days, the filmmakers attempt to uncover the motivation of the legend in renouncing all he stood for and opting for and embracing the society that he so vehemently denounced.

Directed by Chito S. Rono
Produced by Digna H. Santiago
Executive Produced by Nestor Jardin, Rolando S. Atienza
Written by Jerry Gracio
Starring Frencheska Farr, Sid Lucero, Dulce, Jhong Hilario, Bayang Barrios, Gigi Escalante, Bodjie Pascua, Julia Clarete, Mahdi Yazdian, and Chris Millado

A full-feature original musical that’s partly based on the true story of a crown prince of an Arab nation who can fluently speak both Tagalog and Ilokano, EMIR tells the story of Amelia (Frencheska Farr), the daughter of poor farmers who travels to Yememeni, a fictional oil-rich Arab nation on the verge of being invaded by its neighbors. She is employed in the household of a sheik and assigned to be the nanny of the sheik’s only son.

“Halaw” / Ways of the Sea
Directed by Sheron R. Dayoc
Produced by Sheron Dayoc and Lilit Reyes
Written by Sheron Dayoc
Starring John Arcilla, Maria Isabel Lopez

This powerful film exposes the human trafficking operation and journey through the seas of Southern Philippines to neighboring Malaysia. Based on research and interviews, the dramatic narrative provides a kaleidoscope of characters hoping for a better life in Sabah, despite the difficulty and dubiousness of the process, and the uncertainty of a true job in Malaysia. It also represents a microcosm of the multi-cultural groupings of Mindanao whose diversity is bound by a common goal, an opportunity to earn a living, as they take that illegal small boat ride from their homeland to that foreign “Promised Land.”

Directed by Jim Libiran
Written by Jim Libiran, Alfredo Lazarate
Starring China Cojuangco, Mohammed Ibrahim, Joseph Anthony Cerdena, Peter Amores

Fr. Jose, an aging missionary priest, hires Brother Pedro, a young seminarian, to start an unthinkable project in Tondo—to put together and develop a sports team for a forthcoming football tournament. They recruit the most unlikely group of young men—Ismail, the local basketball star, Ramil, a skilled pickpocket, Totoy, a gang leader, David, a pedicab driver, Ian, a rapper wannabe, and Ompong and Konyat, the drug-sniffing brothers who live off the Tondo garbage dump. And so begins this uplifting coming-of-age story—based on real life events—about poor young kids who learn to dream and dare to fight for a common goal.

“Two Funerals”
Directed by Gil Portes
Written by Gil Portes and Enrique Ramos
Starring Tessie Tomas, Robert Arevalo, Xian Lim

“Two Funerals” is part black comedy part roadtrip movie about a grieving mother’s journey to recover her daughter’s body, after a funeral mix-up caused it to be accidentally switched with a stranger’s corpse. The journey from Tuguegarao, Cagayan in the north to Matnog, Sorsogon in the south is actually a journey to the heart of the country during Holy Week in the heat of the election season.

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