The 25th Annual Filipino International Cine Festival is celebrating its silver anniversary with Pilakula/FACINE 25 with award-winning films in competition from October 19-21 at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco. The longest-running festival of films in the United States, the festival has been the premier showcase of new works and Filipino film classics in the United States for the past 25 years. Organized by the Filipino Arts & Cinema International (FACINE), a not-for-profit media arts organization based in San Francisco, the festival aims to advance the interests of cinemas from the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora.
The festival opens with Arnel Barbarona’s “Tu Pug Imatuy (“The Right to Kill”),” a hard-hitting drama on the indigenous Filipino community or “lumad” caught in militarization, on October 19, Friday at 7 p.m. and will close with the Shanghai International Filmfest Best Feature film of 2017, Paolo Villaluna’s “Pauwi Na” (English translation going home but its international title is “Pedicab”),” a return-to-home tale of an impoverished Filipino family, on October 21, Sunday at 7 p.m.
As part of their 25th year, FACINE launched its 1st cineSuri: Critical Essay Writing Competition on Filipino Cinema and Salin-Cine: Isang Pagtutunghay sa Larangan ng Pagsalin sa Pelikulang Pilipino (Translating Film: An Introductory Look at the Art and Practice of Subtitling/Translation in Filipino Film) which constitute FACINE’s three-year celebration of the Centenary of Filipino Cinema, 2017-2019.
This year’s festival highlights include juried competition among 9 feature-length and 39 short films and the launching of two new programs: cineSuri: Critical Essay Writing on Filipino Cinema and SALIN-CINE: Isang Pagtutunghay sa Larangan ng Pagsalin sa Pelikulang Filipino (Translating Film: An Introductory Look at the Art and Practice of Subtitling/Translation in Filipino Film) which constitute FACINE’s three-year celebration of the Centenary of Filipino Cinema, 2017-2019.
FACINE 25’s roster of festival honorees include Gawad Gintong Ani, a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award to multi-media actor and performer, the late Bernardo Bernardo, the Gawad Pilakula, an award for a Filipino film artist in diaspora, to filmmaker H.P. Mendoza, Gawad Lingap Sining to Animahenasyon, the annual animation film festival in the Philippines and the Gawad Sulong, Sine to archivist, critic and film preservationist, Jojo de Vera.
Films and screening schedules
Friday, October 19
“Tu Pug Imatuy” (“Right to Kill”) at 7 p.m. (Opening film)
Manobo with English subtitles, 90 min, 2017
Directed by Arnel Barbarona / Written by Arnel Mardoquio
Cast: Malona Sulatan, Jong Monzon, Jamee Rivera
“Tu Pug Imatuy” follows lumad couple Obunay and Dawin who are uprooted from their traditional way of life after a military encounter.
“Bomba” (“The Bomb)” at 9 p.m.
Tagalog with English subtitles, 95 min, 2017
Directed and written by Ralston Jover / Story by Dennis Evangelista
Cast: Allen Dizon, Angeli Nicole Sanoy
Pipo makes ends meet by taking on the toughest jobs. Life is more difficult because he’s deaf, supporting himself and his teenage lover.
Friday, October 20
“Tale of the Lost Boys” at 2 p.m.
English and in Tagalog and Atayal (indigenous Taiwanese) with English subtitles, 83 min, 2017
Directed by Joselito Altarejos / Written by May de los Santos
Cast: Oliver Aquino, Soda Voyu
A story about an unexpected connection between a Filipino and a Taiwanese aborigine who are both in search of their identities.
“Meet Me in St. Gallen” at 4:30 p.m.
English/Tagalog with English subtitles, 94 min, 2018
Directed and written by Irene Emma Villamor
Cast: Carlo Aquino, Bela Padilla
Celeste (Bela Padilla) assumes the name “Katy Perry” whenever she hangs out at coffee shops, meets Jesse (Carlo Aquino), as in those of the American romantic-comedy drama film” Celeste and Jesse Forever.” Their time spent together ends up on a one-night stand and will reunite sometime, somewhere.
“Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha” (“The Family That Does Not Weep”) at 7 p.m.
Tagalog with English subtitles, 105 min, 2017
Directed and written by Mes de Guzman
Cast: Sharon Cuneta, Nino Muhlach
A lonesome and alcoholic woman attempts to fulfill a local legend about the family that doesn’t weep with the help of her nanny and her nanny’s uncle in the hopes of reuniting her own estranged family.
“Melodrama/Random/Melbourne” at 9:30 p.m.
Directed and produced by Matthew Victor Pastor
Written by Celina Yuen and Matthew Victor Pastor
Cast: Celina Yuen, Kristen Condon, Matt Furlani, Gregory Pakis, etc
A feminist documentarian, a pick up artist and a virgin’s lives collide. Blood will be shed on neon-lit streets of Melbourne.
Sunday, October 21
“2 Cool 2 Be Forgotten” at 2 p.m.
English and in Tagalog, Kapampangan with English subtitles, 95 min, 2016
Directed by Petersen Vargas/Written by Jason Paul Laxamana
Cast: Khalil Ramos, Jameson Blake, Ethan Salvador
A coming-of-age story of a friendless and smart high school sophomore, who lives in post-lahar Pampanga in the late 1990s; His life takes a turn after the two new half-American students, the Snyder brothers, transfer to his school.
“Kita Kita” (“I See You”) at 4:30 p.m.
Japanese with English subtitles, 95 min, 2017
Directed and written by Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Empoy Marquez
A blind woman falls in love with a man who uses kindness and humor to make a connection with her.
“Pauwi Na” (“Pedicab”) at 7 p.m. (Closing film)
Tagalog with English subtitles, 124 min, 2016
Directed by Paolo Villaluna/Written by Ellen Ramos
Cast: Cherry Pie Picache, Bembol Roco, Chai Fonacier
The film follows an ailing man, a thief, a dog, a blind pregnant woman and Jesus Christ while the family goes through a tragi-comic journey of self-discovery as they decide to pedal their way from Manila to Bicol.