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These 8 Filipino Films Are Going to Be Screened at the Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival is in full swing in France until March 27, 2023, and Filipinos are already making waves at the event. Eight Filipino films are being shown in various screenings and many of our countrymen are representing the Philippines in different events.

Here are the films screening at the festival:

TOPAKK (directed by Richard Somes)

Topakk movie

Photo / Topakk

Topakk stars Arjo Atayde, Julia Montes, Sid Lucero, Enchong Dee, Kokoy De Santos, and more. Atayde portrays a security guard discharged from the military who is asked to protect a young woman, played by Montes. Topakk will screen at the Fantastic Pavilion Galas at Marché du Film, the meeting place for professionals of the global film industry.

Her Locket (directed by J.E. Tiglao)

Her Locket follows the story of a mother with dementia, as her memories return after discovering an old locket. It will also be screened at the Marché du Film Market Screening.

RIA (directed by Arvin Belarmino)

RIA follows the titular character, a musician living in an artist’s space owned by a cancer patient. She must help her family solve their financial challenges by accepting side gigs from her friend, who is an adult video actress. The film is selected for La Fabrique Cinéma, an initiative to support emerging filmmakers who are working on their first or second feature-length films.

Tens Across the Border (directed by Chan Sze-Wei)

Tens Across the Border

Photo / Tens Across the Border

Here’s how the film is described: “We witness four trailblazers of the underground ballroom scenes in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore, as they journey to hold on to their ballroom and birth families, connect with ballroom’s source in New York City, and grow a flourishing queer community across Southeast Asia.” It is part of Cannes Docs – Marché du Film.

Asog (directed by Sean Devlin)

Asog

Photo / Asog

“Jaya is a non-binary Filipino comedian who survived Super Typhoon Haiyan but lost their TV career when the storm destroyed the studio where they hosted their local talk show. Asog follows Jaya on a road trip to a drag pageant and along the way, they encounter Filipinos enduring the impacts of climate change, including residents of Sicogon Island whose land was stolen in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.” Asog is included in the Cannes Docs-In-Progress.

Grace (directed by Ato Bautista)

Grace is a crime thriller about a college student seeking revenge on the people involved in his girlfriend’s death. It is part of the Marché du Film.

I Am Ninoy (directed by Vince Tañada)

I Am Ninoy is a musical film that tells the life and tragic death of Philippines’ former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Simeon Aquino Jr. It is part of the Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes Market Screenings.

The Art of Detaching One’s Memory (directed by Jan Carlo Natividad)

The Art of Detaching Ones Memory

Photo / The Art of Detaching One’s Memory

Here’s how the film is described: “Haunted by the identity of his ancestry, a young Filipino filmmaker who came from a generation of shamans reconnects with the forgotten practices of his family roots and attempts to reconcile with the spiritual realm.” The documentary is part of the Focus WiP (Work in Progress) program.

Besides these films, four Filipino producers are part of Spotlight Asia, described as a “newly launched program that aims to strengthen connections and co-production initiatives between Asia and Europe.” Two Filipino delegates will also join the Cannes Producers Network, where producers from around the world can showcase their projects to potential investors. Additionally, the Film Development Council of the Philippines selected 17 companies to represent the country in the Marché du Film.

Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan is one of the six directors to be part of Cinéfondation Résidence – Festival de Cannes, which has personalized programs that support filmmakers as they write their debut or second feature-length film.

Isabel Sandoval, a filmmaker and actress, is a member of the jury for the Queer Palm. This is an award given to films exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival in recognition of their contribution to LGBTQIA+ cinema.

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