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Europe-based film lab in town to help develop local filmmakers, producers

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Europe-based film lab in town to help develop local filmmakers, producers
By Monsi A. Serrano

While there are many award-winning Filipino film directors and producers, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has brought the First Cut Project Development and Editing Lab to the Philippines.

In line with its vision to push the Filipino film industry to the international scene, FDCP is the first to open the film lab to the country last April 11 in its desire to produce world-class films for the global market. The film lab is running at the Alliance Française de Manille, Makati City until April 18, 2019.

Through the film lab, acclaimed international mentors and experts will assist and support Filipino filmmakers and producers in the improvement of their projects in their different stages of development.

Lab for Filipino Feature and Documentary Projects

The First Cut Lab, a Europe-based film lab, was first launched at Trieste’s When East Meets West in 2015. Now on its fifth year, it has supported films from countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Slovenia, and Ukraine, and many of these have made their premiere in A-list film festivals.

For its Manila leg, in partnership with FDCP, First Cut will be holding intensive consultations and workshop sessions for eight (8) feature film projects in development, two (2) feature film projects in the editing stage, and six (6) work-in-progress documentary feature projects.

The Lab for feature film projects will be led by First Cut Lab director, former TorinoFilmLab artistic director, and film festival programmer Matthieu Darras from France. Other mentors include screenwriter, script consultant, and film editor Matthieu Taponier from USA/France, script consultant Mmabatho Kau from South Africa, producer and distributor consultant Izabel Igel from Poland, and producer consultant Giovanni Pompili from Italy. For the documentary projects, film editor, trainer, director, and festival programmer Benjamin Mirguet and fiction and documentary editor Maya Maffioli will conduct workshop sessions for the directors, producers, and editors of the work-in-progress projects. Charlotte Defflasieux Viguer of Centre National du Cinema et de l’image animee (CNC) from France will also grace the Lab.

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Mary Liza Diño did not hide her excitement during the launch of the first film lab.

“We’re so excited to give our Filipino filmmakers the incredible opportunity to work with world-class mentors to elevate their stories and projects,” FDCP Chief said.

“This concept of intense development of film projects is something that we want to instil in more of our filmmakers. Development is a crucial part of the filmmaking process, and it has to be incorporated not just as an option but an integral element that all projects must undergo. Going through film labs not only improves your work overall, but helps in guiding you as to where you want to take your film — it helps you identify who your target market is, and from there, you allow your project to take shape according to your vision and the audience you cater to. The First Cut Lab and their experienced mentors will certainly help you achieve the best version of your film,” she added.

International Film Conference

To maximize the assistance from international mentors coming to Manila, the FDCP’s hosting of the film lab introduce international film production and co-production to more Filipino filmmakers, professionals, and film enthusiasts.

Joining the First Cut mentors are local award-winning directors and producers Pepe Diokno, Pedring Lopez, Armi Cacanindin, and Carlo Manatad who will share their experiences on international co-productions and securing funding for projects during panel discussions.

Moreover, film screenings will be held featuring films which were developed and produced through international labs and co-productions.

Feature Projects in Development Stage

Dancing the Tide
Director: Xeph Suarez
Producers: Roderick Cabrido and Omar Sortijas
Logline: ASTRI, a 16-year old Sama Badjao transwoman, is forced to leave her long-time boyfriend, TAMBULAH, to marry a woman betrothed to her even before she was born.

Everybody Leaves
Director: Phyllis Grande
Producer: Alemberg Ang
Logline: Set in present Japan, a Japanese-Filipina exchange student spends her last months searching for her father while cleaning the houses of people who died lonely deaths.

Fan Girl
Director: Antoinette Jadaone
Producers: Dan Villegas and Bianca Balbuena
Production Companies: Epicmedia and Project 8 cor. San Joaquin Projects
Logline: An obsessed teenage fan finds herself inside a mansion with her celebrity idol she thought she knew and learns exactly why they say never meet your heroes.

Purple Sun
Director: Carlo Catu
Producer: April Batican and Bianca Balbuena
Logline: Purple Sun is a love story between two Filipino men and a Japanese woman set in the majestic landscape and unique culture of Japan. It is a film about the cross-cultural understanding between Filipinos and Japanese in regards to love, sex, and their way of living.

Karaoke News
Director: John Paul Su
Producer: Manet Dayrit
Logline: When a staged karaoke lounge hostage operation goes awry, an investigative journalist must use creative means to unravel and expose the truth.

Director: E. Del Mundo
Producer: Pamela Reyes
Logline: A troubled teen, Samboy, recruits his best friend to be part of a militia that will massacre 58 people.

Babae at Baril (The Girl and the Gun)
Director: Rae Red
Producer: lana Bernardez
Logline: A local department store saleslady has had enough of being an underdog when she finds a gun right on her doorstep one night. Her life drastically changes as she discovers how much power owning a gun can give you.

The Perilous Odyssey to Mount Gulsuk
Director: Jordan dela Cruz
Producers: Alemberg Ang, Arleeen Cuevas, John Badalu, and Siege Ledesma
Production Companies: VY/AC Productions and Cinematografica
Logline: When the life of his pregnant girlfriend is threatened by a mysterious illness, Joseph, a reluctant teenage father-to-be, embarks on a quest to save his beloved. His surreal odyssey begins in the Philippines, transitions to the soul-devouring labor camps of Arabia, and ends at the peak of mythical Mount Gulsuk.

Feature Projects in Post-Production

Hayop Ka! (You Son of a Bitch!)
Director: Avid Liongoren
Producers: Joyce Bernal, Piolo Pascual, Erickson Raymundo, and E. Del Mundo
Production Company: Rocketsheep Studio
Logline: Nimfa the pretty pussycat is a perfume sales kitty at a department store. Her boyfriend, Roger the macho mongrel, is a janitor. Nimfa meets Inigo the bourgeoisie business dog and chemistry ignites! Will Nimfa and Roger’s love keep them together, or will Inigo’s high society charms tear them apart?

John Denver Trending
Director: Arden Rod Condez
Producers: Sheron Dayoc and Sonny Calvento
Production Companies: What If Films Philippines and Southern Lantern Pictures (With Support from Outpost Visual Frontier and Tinker Bulb Productions)
Logline: A 14-year-old farmboy’s life is upended when a video of him brutally attacking a classmate went viral.

Work-in-Progress Documentary Projects

Elehiya sa Paglimot (An Elegy to Forgetting)
Director: Kristoffer Brugada
Producers: Charena Escala (Hiraya Pictures) and Kristoffer Brugada (Brigade Productions)
Logline: Taken from a very personal perspective, a filmmaker gives a first-hand look at how his family dealt with his father’s worsening Alzheimer’s disease and eventual death, leading him to realizations about memory, familial relationships, and his own mortality.

Holy Craft
Director: Joseph Mangat
Producer: Alemberg Ang
Editor: Illsi Malsi
Logline: Holy Craft is a feature-length documentary film examining the peculiarities of religion, labor, capital, and gender all intersecting at a Catholic figurines factory in the Philippines.

Spring By the Sea
Director: Aleia Garcia
Producer: Jan Carlo Natividad
Logline: Alternating Philippines and Saudi Arabia as her home, the filmmaker uses personal home videos and present footage to tell the story of her family.

SineSaysay Feature Projects
My Father the Executioner
Director: Cha Escala
Editor: Francis Solajes
Logline: A son contemplates on the life of his dying father who’s one of the founders of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and later took a pivotal role in the 1980s purges within the movement.

Director: Jayson Bernard Santos
Editor: Emmanuel Payumo
Logline: Looter is a genre-bending documentary that melds the story of Naomi Flores and the women of the Philippine underground and espionage in World War 2. Straddling the line between different modes, the film employs creative techniques that are interspersed with archival footage, interviews, and unnerving dramatized sequences.

Daan Patungong Tawaya
Director: Kevin Piamonte
Co-Director: JR Macahilas
Logline: Isang kakaibang paglalakbay sa ating kasaysayan na bubuwag at muling bubuo ng tunay na kahulugan ng pagiging Pilipino.

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