Remember that diverse Metro Manila Film Festival lineup we had last year? I personally wasn’t able to watch every single one of them (because I was stuck in Baguio City and they were showing like… just three of the eight official entries, even splitting one cinema for two films) but I thought it was a pretty solid lineup. There was an animated film (Saving Sally), a documentary (Sunday Beauty Queen), a feel-good rom-com (Vince and Kath and James), comedy and drama (Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2, Die Beautiful), and even a thriller (Seklusyon).
It doesn’t look like we’re going to see a repeat of that lineup this year, though, but you know what? That’s fine. Because this August, we get an entire week of what looks like some of the best new (and new-ish?) releases via Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino! Check out the 12 films that made it to this year’s list!
100 Tula Para Kay Stella
Throughout his four years in college, Fidel, a stuttering student, tries to finish 100 poems dedicated to Stella, an aspiring but frustrated rock star, to win her heart.
DIRECTOR | Jason Paul Laxamana
STARRING | JC Santos, Bela Padilla
Ang Manananggal sa 23B
Jewel is a mysterious woman who lives alone in the city. She has a secret which has led her to settle into a lonely existence. That is, until she meets Nico, a broken-hearted, down-and-out guy who also feels unlovable like she does. Jewel is torn between wanting to love him and wanting to save him from herself. Will he accept her if he knew the truth about her? Can she ever find love, or is she destined to be alone forever?
DIRECTOR | Prime Cruz
STARRING | Ryza Cenon, Martin del Rosario, Vangie Labalan
AWOL is an action-thriller about an expert Army sniper who, armed with his tactical knowledge and deadly skills, goes on a quest to protect his family from the man who masterminded the attempt on his life and his loved ones.
DIRECTOR | Enzo Williams
STARRING | Gerald Anderson, Dianne Medina, Bernard Palanca, Richard Quan, Raymond Bagatsing, Jeric Raval
A movie about a group of friends who enter law school and get more than what they bargained for.
DIRECTOR | Kip Oebanda
STARRING | Carlo Aquino, Kean Cipriano, Enzo Pineda and Rocco Nacino
A mystery-drama film that tells the story of a young Filipina farm girl who wanders into the boundaries of a Philippine reservation forest. Deep within the reservation she mistakenly shoots and kills a critically endangered and protected Philippine Eagle. As the local authorities begin a manhunt to track down the poacher of a national bird, their investigation leads them to an even more horrific discovery.
DIRECTOR | Mikhail Red
STARRING | John Arcilla, Ku Aquino, Arnold Reyes, Mary Joy Apostol
Ralston Jover’s unique blend of special and magic realism takes a look at the lives of four street children whose world is about to be turned upside down and inside out. Life begins where innocence ends.
DIRECTOR | Ralston Jover
STARRING | Zaijan Jaranilla, Teri Malvar, Sam Quintania, Bor Lentejas
DIRECTOR | Zig Madamba Dulay
STARRING | Garry Cabalic, Anna Luna
Patay na si Hesus
The death of a woman’s estranged husband brought her and her family into a road that changes their lives forever.
DIRECTOR | Victor Villanueva
STARRING | Jaclyn Jose, Melde Montanez, Chai Fonacier
Mang Pepe and his family travel from QUEZON City to Bicol on pedicabs (“sikad-sikad”). Mang Pepe and his wife, Remedios, their daughter Pina, their son JP with his pregnant blind wife Isabel, and their dog Kikay, live together in a shanty at a Quezon City slum. To survive daily, Mang Pepe drives his pedicab and carry various loads to the market while Aling Remedios washes laundry for her neighbors. JP and Pina both try to earn a living and Isabel, in her blindness, sees and converses with Jesus Christ. Realizing their futile life in the city, Mang Pepe convinces the family to go back to their hometown in Bicol. Without enough transport money, they decide to use pedicans so they could “pedal” their way back to the province. A series of unfortunate events occur that will either test their determination or distract them from their journey home. PAUWI NA is a tragic-comic portrait of a dysfunctional family and the disquieting blind faith they invoke as they dream of going home.
DIRECTOR | Paolo Villaluna
STARRING | Bembol Roco, Cherry Pie Picache, Meryll Soriano, Jerald Napoles
DIRECTOR | Sherad Sanchez
STARRING | Jessy Mendiola, JC de Vera
Star na si Van Damme Stallone
The life story of a kid diagnosed with Down syndrome. He dreams of being an artista; his family has to make ends (and dreams) meet.
DIRECTOR | Randolph Longjas
STARRING | Candy Pangilinan, Paolo Pingol, Acey Aguilar
A model’s career is “ruined” by boils and a folk singer’s love is challenged, with the film making a case for “life is weird.”
DIRECTOR | Miguel Franco Michelena
STARRING | Kylie Padilla, Kean Cipriano, Albie Casino and Joseph Marco
Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino runs from August 16-22, 2017 in cinemas nationwide. Make sure to catch them all before the festival ends!