Filipino Film Festival opens June 11 in New York City

by Kobakila News

Anne CurtisNEW YORK CITY (June 6) — An IndioBravo Film Festival featuring about 10 films showcasing the boldest and most internationally acclaimed works by Filipino filmmakers in recent years will be held in New York City, June 11-14, 2009.  

The festival’s opening night  will take place on Thursday, June 11, 7:15 p.m. at the Museum of Modern Art on 11 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

As the special Independence Day presentation, Baler, a historical, romantic epic set during the last days of the Filipino-Spanish War, will have its North American premiere that evening.  Directed by Mark Meily, it stars Anne Curtis and Jericho Rosales.

In 1898, a band of Spanish soldiers heroically defended Baler (which was not yet the capital municipality of Aurora until 1951) against Filipino forces for 337 long and grueling days. The battle, now referred to as the Siege of Baler, is the setting of a forbidden love between a Mestizo soldier (Jericho Rosales) and a Filipina lass (Anne Curtis) who lived at the end of the 19th century. Baler is a powerfully moving drama that chronicles the bravery and heroism of Filipinos – and ultimately their sense of humanity and compassion – in the midst of a ravaging and bitter war.

Baler won a total of 10 Awards at the 2008 Metro Manila Film Festival including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Anne Curtis), Best Supporting Actor (Phillip Salvador, in a comeback performance) and the Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award.

Jericho RosalesFollowing Baler is the opening night selection, 100, a winner of audience and best film awards at festivals in Pusan, Korea and Vesoul, France. Directed by Chris Martinez, the film stars Mylene Dizon, Eugene Domingo, Tessie Tomas, TJ Trinidad, Ryan Eigenmann, and Simon Ibarra.

100 is a film about a beautiful and young executive woman who makes a power point presentation of her own wake and crams as much living as she can into a wall of Post-It notes. But can she find deeper meaning, and face those she’s left behind, before she peels off the last post it? Raucous, thought provoking and moving, director Chris Martinez drafts a memo for viewers to lead their lives, rather than the other way around.

The festival continues Friday to Sunday, June 12-14, at the Visual Arts Theater in Chelsea, 333 West 23rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues.

On Friday, the festival’s centerpiece film, Foster Child, will be screened.  The film is directed by Brillante Mendoza who won the Best Director Award for his film Kinatay at the Cannes Film Festival held in France last month.  He is also the director of the 2008’s internationally acclaimed art-house hit Serbis.

Also screening on Friday is Lav Diaz’ bold, 8-hour drama Melancholia, winner of the Venice International Film Festival’s 2008 Orrizonti (Horizons) Award for Best Feature.  The special screening will take place at the Millennium Film Workshop on 66 East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Avenues.

On its closing night on Sunday, June 14, IndioBravo will screen Jay, an uproarious satire of reality television and an official entry in the Venice International Film Festival of 2008.

Other features of the festival include Donsol, an elegiac love story set in an idyllic resort town; Carnivore, about a harrowing fraternity initiation; the animated Dayo, about a young boy’s journey to save his abducted grandparents; the romantic comedy and box office smash My Only U, and the genre-busting mockumentary Confessional.  IBFF ’09 also features Ishmael Bernal’s 1983 masterpiece, Himala (Miracle), named in a 2008 CNN viewers’ poll as the best Asian-Pacific film of all time.

The first annual IndioBravo FFilm Festival concludes with an awards ceremony and reception at the Visual Arts Theater at 8 p.m.

Tickets to see the film festival’s screenings are now available for sale online at Tickets are $15. Opening-night screenings on Thursday, June 11 (Baler and 100) are $20 each in advance, $25 at the door and include an after-party at plush lounge Nikki Beach, 151 East 50th Streets between Lexington and Third Avenues featuring Mylene Dizon, star of 100, and other stars of this year’s film lineup.

The festival is a production of IndioBravo Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization in New York City founded in 2008 to promote Philippine film worldwide.  It provides technical, marketing and distribution support to Filipino filmmakers.  It also empowers indigent communities in the Philippines to produce film and video works that prompt discussion about issues like health and human rights.


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