By: Kyle Enrique Diestro, Alme Diana Colin Estosos, Althea Ibutnande and Kyara Michelle Vlahov
CineKasimanwa is now on its fifth year and with it comes new additions to the festival such as the student competitive section and the “GID” film section.
The student competitive section, which is divided into two parts, gives students the opportunity to enter their films in the festival to be publicly showcased and to compete with entries by fellow students.
“May ara nga intercollegiate, which is the official nga nag-attend workshops, kag may ara nga open student category para mag submit ka-films,” said Elvert Bañares, Festival Director and Programmer of CineKasimanwa.
“GID” aims to show films that are experimental and ones that aren’t found in mainstream cinema. “We are introducing mga films nga unclassifiable, mga extreme, anything that we think cannot be shown in here,” explained Bañares.
Despite these new additions, the focus of the festival is still on films made by Western Visayan filmmakers. As with previous years, the centerpieces of the festival are the films produced under the Western Visayan Film Grant Program of the Department of Tourism which is supported by the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts.
“So, what we are looking for are good stories about our region with good characters and of course shot in beautiful locations,” said Bañares who is also a co-producer of the centerpiece film.
These films of various genres are made by Western Visayan filmmakers and are shot on location in different parts of the region.
The selection includes full-length films which are “Dalitan” by Remundo Salao; “Manggagarab” by Kyle Fermindoza, a horror-action film; “Iloy” by Gary Tabanera, a drama film; “Higante Kag Ang Mga Misteryo Sang Kuweba” by Ramjun Valasote and “Dane Arsulo”, a fantasy-adventure film.
The short films are “Saliwat” by Jay Palmares, which talks about a millennial romance; “Ugsad” by Kenneth Borlan which tackles magical realism; “Luha Sang Bulalakaw” by Kenneth De la Cruz, a film that deals with drama and romance; and finally, “Empyreus: Mga Ganhaan Sang Pagtilaw” by Dennis Hubag, a mystical-psycho-drama.
The festival has received more than 800 entries this year but not all films are going to be shown.
Despite this, Bañares is of the opinion that, “You cannot base the quality of a festival based on the submission, you base it on the program.”
Each film screened in the festival is curated by Bañares.
“I believe in guiding audiences, I believe in curation,” he said, explaining that films should be arranged according to thought to help the audiences better understand the film.
The films are chosen based on a number of factors with the priority being given to Western Visayan-made films. “I also believe that my role is not just a critique, my role is also to help our filmmakers,” explained Bañares.
The essence of the festival, Bañares explained, is the culture and stories of Western Visayas put on screen. “The secret word is ‘our’,” he said.
In regards to the future of the festival, Bañares said, “Ang future dapat sang CineKasimanwa should revolve around how we can tell more stories nga Ilonggo, what we have here locally.”