LVHF: Video Home Festival: Films on the Quarantine Experience

Entrepreneur and producer Dr. Carl Balita is actively campaigning for the public to stay home during the start of the quarantine until today not just to contain the virus but to also to help the health and service professionals who are the frontrunners in the field. Among the many strategies he launched was the “Video Home Festival(VHF)”, a short filmmaking competition anchored on the theme “lockdown.” The challenge of the competition is to create films based on the theme while observing quarantine guidelines using immediate technology, space, and casts available for the filmmakers.

“I knew that the filmmakers were oozing with creativity in the new normal and were itching to express their craft even with all the limitations of a quarantine experience,” says Dr. Carl.  “We were surprised when after more than a month from our launch, entries came in from professionals, film students, and enthusiasts.”

Dr. Carl expounded the festival to raise funds for the industry workers through the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund). Being a film producer himself and within the circle of show business, heis aware of the current plight of the industry players.  Mowelfund Board Member Boots Anson-Rodrigo and President RezCortez welcome the idea and are exploring new partnership opportunities with Dr. Carl and his company, Dr. Carl Balita Review Center (CBRC) on how to bring the collaboration to a more productive level.  Festival Director Jek David notes that some of the entries have international caliber, highlighting the quarantine experience of the filmmakers.

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Cinemalaya 2020 Reviews

Pabasa Kan Pasyon

Before the advent of sound, films were devoid of dialogs and diegesis as modern history painstakingly moved along. Intertitles were inserted long before they were followed as conventions. At most, every aspect of modern day inventions would become a learning journey toward the development of world cinema. In fact, in the earlier years, films from the post-invention had been far more superior than their more technologically equipped successors (Arnheim, 1932). They could be true in essence because of their inherent qualities and characteristics to fill what wasn’t there yet. There simply was more time and less impact of ascendancy to allow creating more spaces for expansive projects.

British filmmaker and actor, Charles Chaplin caught on earlier with the power of the language of film. Story becomes king and execution is everything. And in the more profound method of analyzing films, structural-linguistic theory is by its essence a more substantial philosophy to deliberate and consider. And by understanding the very foundation of film history and its nuclear core, there may be a conceivable inference to achieving a sort of objectivity in studying every element that a film presents as a whole.  Quite possibly, even if one or two components is missing, its effectiveness rests mostly on whether its desired effects reach it audience. A film may be subjectively incomplete, but it will always be inimitably a creation of its own.  

When one chooses to do away with conventions, a film remains a product of its reckoning when it strongly infuses creative visions and informed commentaries about life and the society and the entire human experience, regardless of what is perceived missing, or what elements are not supplied. When one decides to confront realities and their concealed meanings, the film is transformed into an interactive platform where the filmmaker and the audience carve out a better way to ponder on recreating ideas and retooling the mediums, henceforward, effectively orchestrating a well-rounded discourse in the process.

Films have now reached its highpoint – from magnetic and digital sounds, to visual and digital effects, to actually experiencing them wherever it is accessible and convenient. Even the age of modern pandemic cannot simply stifle their sustained growth – and films have become, more than ever, a powerful tool to live through documenting a much well-lived experience.

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CANNES 2019: Piolo Pascual is an activist, murdered Salvadorian priest paid tribute to in Lav Diaz’ Ang Hupa

Contemporary Master filmmaker Lav Diaz returns to the most prestigious film festival in the world, the Cannes, with his latest film ANG HUPA (The Halt) to represent the best of Philippine Cinema. Diaz’s new oeuvre could be the most profoundly resonating among his list of historico-political films.

This, according to source, even has a futuristic touch to it, aiming to fight for real freedom and a better Philippines. One character is said to be Diaz’s tribute to an El Salvadorian Archbishop who was murdered while celebrating the mass in 1980. Father Romero will be played by Diaz’ regular thespian Noel Miralles. There is a 15-minute scene that features Miralles doing a zen meditation. His real-life counterpart is said to be very vocal about his stand against poverty, social injustice, assassinations, and torture.

Mainstream actor Piolo Pascual who topbills the film will be playing the role of a political activist. Other actors in the casts are Joel Lamangan, Pinky Amador, Shaina Magdayao, Mara Lopez, Hazel Orencio, Ian Lomongo, Joel Saracho, Bart Guingona, Susan Africa, Ashton Llarenas, Earl Ignacio, Adrienne Vergara, and iconic musician Ely Buendia.

Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 14 to May 25 at the Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France. Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu will serve as jury president. American film director Jim Jarmusch’s ensemble zombie comedy film The Dead Don’t Die will serve as the opening film of the festival. Cannes 2019 pays tribute to femme auteur Agnes Varda.

Jaclyn Jose becomes first Filipino to win best actress honor at prestigious Cannes Film Festival

Jaclyn Jose becomes the first Filipino and the third Asian ( or the first Southeast Asian) to win a Best Actress award at the most prestigious film festival in the world. The awardee for best performance was chosen among the 40 possible leading female actors, which saw tough competitions among early critics favorites such as Ruth Negga (Loving), Kristen Stewart (Personal Shopper), two time Best Cannes Best Actress winner Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Charlize Theron (The Last Face), and Sonia Braga (Aquarius).

Jose has been cited for her heartbreaking portrayal of a poor matriarch who had to be bailed out of  jail after being caught peddling illegal drugs in her small convenient store in Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’Rosa. This is Mendoza’s fourth competition entry to the said international film festival annually held South of France.

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The QCinema International Film Festival ended its most commendable run last week but the films that we had seen are still very much talked about in coffee shops. We can only hope that next year’s edition would be as audacious and relevant as Diokno’s Kapatiran, or as fresh and unrelenting as Cruz’s Sleepless.  Here’s what we heard these coffee lovers say about each competition film from #QCinema. It appeared that not one saw Cesar Hernando’s Gayuma. And we don’t think they ever played Patintero, or ever came out of the house to play. Millenials!


Perhaps based on a news report in 2012 when a rebel group was alleged to have ransacked a relief center in Davao during the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo, Iisa, a film written by Arnel Mardoquio narrates the melodrama of a motley crew of rebels bound by both personal and sociopolitical struggles. What seem to be problematic in its presentation are the many suffocating concerns of its politics, including whether a mother, guided by years of Marxist principles, would end up throwing everything out of the window by misappropriating revolutionary funds for personal use. No matter how critical her dilemma is, one may have to question the found reality employed by the filmmakers, among other things.

Rating: 2/5

Continue reading “FILM REVIEWS: QCINEMA 2015”

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