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‘Feels like a Golden Age’ JUN ROBLES LANA, ‘Barber’s Tales’


T ALWAYS FEELS GREAT TO win,” says filmmaker Jun Robles Lana, whose “Barber’s Tales” won audience award, third place, at the Udine (Italy) Far East Film Festival. He also won best director for a foreign film at the Third Madrid IFF for “Barber’s,” and best script for “Bwakaw” at the Pyongyang International Film Fest in North Korea.

Lana says the past few years have been “like a Golden Age” in local cinema, on account of the numerous independentlyproduced films that reaped international acclaim. “It’s a testament to our filmmakers’ immense talent and daring. They refuse to conform to, and be limited by, the status quo.” All that needs to be done now, he notes, is cultivate a bigger audience for these “outside-the-system” productions. “Philippine cinema is certainly not dead … making films is my life!” Oliver M. Pulumbarit

‘But will the passion last?’ JASON PAUL LAXAMANA, ‘Magkakabaung (The Coffin Maker)’


WAS ECSTATIC BECAUSE first one I watched was a Korean film, and even audience turnout.”

I wasn’t expecting it,” admits filmmaker Jason Paul Laxamana.

His “Magkakabaung (The Coffin Maker)” won the Netpac prize for Best Asian Film in the 3rd Hanoi International Film Festival. “I watched the other films and found them very good, with very high production values,” Laxamana recounts. “The

‘Way Back Home,’ which was shot in South Korea, in the Caribbean and in France. And there our film was, shot in a week with a budget of less than P2 million and a tiny crew!” Laxamana says the development of local indie films in recent years is easily discernible: “There’s been growth in all aspects—creative and technical content, number of films produced,

However, he says, “A dark side of my mind wonders how long this will last. Passion is what drives filmmakers and producers. How fervent will this passion be, years from now?” His hope, at this point, is that our indie flicks will be appreciated by more viewers. “Outside film festivals, they still find it hard to get an audience,” he says. “Independent films

should one day attract big audiences outside festivals and special screenings, which will guarantee ROI (return on investment) and, hence, sustainability.” Oliver M. Pulumbarit

‘Films have never failed me’ SIEGE LEDESMA, ‘Shift’


HE FILM “SHIFT,” ABOUT an unlikely relationship between a female call center agent and her gay male team leader, was a very personal project for writer-director Siege Ledesma. The movie, she says, is her “comforting hug” for everyone who tackled similar issues.

“Shift” won the grand prix (best picture) award at the Osaka Asian Film Festival in Japan last March. “I wrote ‘Shift’ primarily for Filipino audiences, specifically my generation,” she says. “My ‘hug’ has now reached a lot more lost and lonely souls.” She adds, “The gaze and voice of cinema have been predominantly male. I’m glad that, here in the Philippines, more women and members of the LGBT community are creating films and getting heard.” Ledesma is a bit fearful of the future:

“South Korean producer Oh Jung-wan said that prior to 2007, his country was churning out acclaimed films, most of which bombed at the box office ... so they’re back to producing mediocre, studio-controlled commercial movies.” However, she persists in filmmaking because, she says, “Unlike humans, it has never failed me. There have been a lot of times in my life when my only companions were Wong Kar-wai, Richard Linklater or Olivier Smolders.” Allan Policarpio

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PDI celebrates 29th anniversary  

The Philippine Daily Inquirer marks its 29th anniversary today with simple rites at its offices in Makati City.

PDI celebrates 29th anniversary  

The Philippine Daily Inquirer marks its 29th anniversary today with simple rites at its offices in Makati City.