Meet the filmmakers featured in the 2016 Cinema One Originals festival

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On Nov. 14 to 22, the works of 11 filmmakers will be screened at the Cinema One Originals film festival. Producing both narrative features and documentaries, these writers and directors, during the film festival's press conference, shared for whom and for what their films are made. Illustration by MIKAELLA JOAQUIN

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — This year’s Cinema One Originals film festival, to be held on Nov. 14 to 22, aims to challenge viewers’ perspectives with its slew of films both by alumni from the competition and a new breed of directors. With its vision of opening the audience to new forms of cinema and new narrative styles, the festival’s current lineup involves edgier ways of storytelling and more experimental modes of expression.

With the tagline “Anong tingin mo?,” the festival hopes to encapsulate the multi-layered diversity of Cinema One’s films by recognizing a film’s capacity to contain many different meanings, breeding a variety of interpretations for the viewer. The competition dares the audience to acknowledge and accept different ways of looking at the same thing.

On its 12th edition, Cinema One puts the spotlight on seven filmmakers for the narrative feature category: alumni Keith Deligero ("Lily"), Borgy Torre ("Tisay"), and Malay Javier ("Every Room is a Planet") and debutantes Jose Abdel Langit ("Malinak Ya Labi"), Petersen Vargas ("2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten"), Samantha Lee ("Baka Bukas"), and Jules Katanyag ("Si Magdalola at ang mga Gago").

For the first time in its run, the competition has opened itself to documentaries. The documentary category features films by Teng Mangansakan ("Forbidden Memory"), Paolo Picones and Gym Lumbera ("Piding"), and John Torres ("People Power Bombshell: The Diary of Vietnam Rose").

At the Cinema One Originals press conference, CNN Philippines Life caught up with some of the writers and filmmakers to talk about their films and who (or what) they made them for.

Petersen Vargas. Photo by ALYANA CABRAL

The film is “2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten.” It’s about Felix, he’s a friendless high school achiever, and then suddenly he meets these two Filipino-American brothers. Essentially it’s about friendship. Who I made it for? I guess anyone who’s had a friend in life. It’s a very universal story. I guess what makes it more specific is that it’s set in Pampanga in the milieu of post-lahar — of Mt. Pinatubo erupting in the 90s. That’s what makes it unique, but if you really watch it, it’s really about friendship. — PETERSEN VARGAS, director of "2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten" (Narrative Feature Category)

Samantha Lee. Photo by ALYANA CABRAL

“Baka Bukas” is the story of what happens when you fall in love with your best friend. I conceptualized the film because I wanted to see a representation of the LGBT community that went beyond the portrayals that are shown in mainstream media. The characters in this film are fully flawed functional human beings. They are more than just an accessory to the plot, they are the plot. — SAMANTHA LEE, writer and director of "Baka Bukas" (Narrative Feature Category)

Keith Deligero, with his child. Photo by ALYANA CABRAL

Ang film ko ay para siyang horror. Kwento siya tungkol sa horror urban legend, so basically parang horror na hindi. Para sa 'kin 'yung film na ‘to, fourth ko na film siya, parang culmination siya ng interests ko in filmmaking — isang era ng aking career. Hindi ko alam ano 'yung next after nito pero sana hindi ko na uulitin 'yung mga ginawa ko dito. — KEITH DELIGERO, director of "Lily" (Narrative Feature Category)

Jules Katanyag. Photo by ALYANA CABRAL

Yung film ko “Si Magdalola at ang mga Gago,” it’s my first, my first dive into the process of filmmaking coming from a T.V. background — from 10 years of working as a creative for the T.V. industry. I made it for that. Commentary sa storytelling ng T.V. and going through the process of making a film. The film is slightly pulpy, it’s a little bit absurd, ‘cause T.V. storytelling is a little bit absurd. It’s both a rebellion and a celebration of that narrative form. — JULES KATANYAG, writer and director of "Si Magdalola at ang mga Gago" (Narrative Feature Category)

Malay Javier. Photo by ALYANA CABRAL

Tungkol siya sa babae na nasa mental institution na nagka-claim na 'yung asawa niya ay in-abduct ng aliens. Parang siyang sci-fi pa rin, pero hindi sci-fi. Actually, kalaban ako ng audience palagi. Ginawa ko siya para sa mga kaibigan ko at para sakin. Baka hindi pala kalaban, ano lang siguro, hindi ako pinapanood. Wala naman akong issue doon. Hindi ko masabi na meron akong audience, pero pwede ko sabihin na may ilan-ilan na nanonood ng pelikula ko, na na-enjoy naman nila so baka para sa kanila nga ‘to. — MALAY JAVIER, writer and director of "Every Room is a Planet" (Narrative Feature Category)

Jose Abdel Langit. Photo by ALYANA CABRAL

My film revolves around a Pangasinan ritual and practice which we call bagat. Bagat is a sacrifice, a blood sacrifice. In Pangasinan, we believe that the sprinkling of the blood of an animal would strengthen or prolong the life of an infrastructure, be that a house or a bridge. That’s basically where the story of “Malinak Ya Labi” revolves around. Well, my inspiration for doing this film was my mom. She just passed away last March, I was supposed to do this in 2010. My mom and I were preparing on how to go about with the film — how to accommodate the people of the staff. Unfortunately, she got sick and passed away. While doing this film, I had nothing in mind, it’s always been my mom. There’s one particular scene in the film where I showed — kasi nung nagkasakit 'yung mother ko araw-araw nakikita ko kung paano siya pinapaliguan, nililinisan. I tried to include that in the film. — JOSE ABDEL LANGIT, writer and director of "Malinak Ya Labi" (Narrative Feature Category)

John Torres. Photo by ALYANA CABRAL

I made it for this actress who was really very popular in the 80s, Liz Alindogan, who at that time was the biggest up-and-coming sexy star who wanted to make it big. She made this film, she produced it, she wanted to be the star (referring to “The Diary of Vietnam Rose”). Unfortunately, the director and the crew had a lot of difficulties so they never finished the film. It’s a shame because it was directed by a really great popular maverick director, Cesar Castillo, whom I really admire. We salvaged around 20 rolls of 35mm film, and we’re making use of those footage, and we’re using those to tell the story of the making of the film. The film they were trying to make was named "The Diary of Vietnam Rose," and the documentary is about the making of this film. — JOHN TORRES, director of "People Power Bombshell: The Diary of Vietnam Rose" (Documentary Feature Category)

(Left) Paolo Picones and (right) Gym Lumbera, directors of "Piding." Photo by ALYANA CABRAL

D.S. Chun. Photo by ALYANA CABRAL

The film is a documentary about how feelings progress as you learn to feel again. I made it for all the people that are so overloaded with story and fiction that they were looking for something that’s different. — D.S. CHUN, writer and guest director of "Piding" (Documentary Feature Category)


(Editor’s note: Not in the photos are filmmakers Teng Mangansakan, director of “Forbidden Memory,” a documentary shedding light on a 1974 mass murder, and Borgy Torre, writer and director of “Tisay,” which revolves around a bookie and an athlete in the world of semi-pro basketball, and will be competing in the festival’s narrative feature category.)