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4 Filipino Films Made it to Busan International Film Festival 2020

“Cleaners” by Glenn Barit and “Death of Nintendo” by Raya Martin are two of the official selections on Busan International Film Festival 2020 under the A Window on Asian Cinema Category. While the two short films, “How to Die Young in Manila” by Petersen Vargas and “Kids on Fire” by Kyle Nieva are competing under the Wide Angle Asian Short Film Competition.

Last QCinema International Film festival, “Cleaners” grabbed the prizes B­­est Film, Best Screenplay and Audience Choice Award for the festival’s Asian  Next Wave Competition. It is also an official nominee for Gawad Urian 2020’s several award categories.

Cleaners Trailer

“Cleaners’” story will make you reminisce your high school days. Schoolmates take on the journey of self-discovery in a catholic school in Tuguegarao City set in 2008.   The film was interestingly done by printing and photocopying each of the film’s frames, thus the black and white outcome. Then, coloring it using highlighters.  A total of 34,560 sheets of paper were used.

“Cleaners” is Barit’s first full length feature. His short films are, “Bundok Chubibo (2014),” “Aliens Ata (2017),” and “Nangungupahan (2018).”

“Death of Nintendo” directed by Raya Martin and written and produced by Filipino-American Valerie Castillo Martinez, is a story of the colorful pop-culture world of four 13-year old friends, back in the 1990s when video games were still a novelty.

Death by Nintendo Trailer

Raya Martin, who is named by Cinema Scope’s 50 most important filmmakers under 50, is not new to BIFF. His feature, Smaller and Smaller Circles, based on the best-selling Filipino crime novel by F.H. Batacan, premiered at the 2017 Busan International Film Festival. Raya Martin’s other films have screened in Cannes, Toronto, Locarno, and New York.

The short film, “How to Die Young in Manila” by Petersen Vargas’ top-billed casts are Elijah Canlas and Kokoy de Santos, together with actors Miguel Almendras (“Hello, Stranger”) and Kych Minemoto (“Kalel, 15”) as well as wushu athlete Shu Calleja. It takes us to the boys’ journey in Metro Manila. Elijah posted in 2019 some of the shots taken along the dark streets of our capital.

While “Kids on Fire” by Kyle Nieva is a short film about a prepubescent boy who discovers the power of his sexuality during a religious camp, as he realizes his special role in the prophesied return of the Son of God. The actors list consist of Mystica, Alexis Prins Negrite and  Ces Aldaba.

Kids onKids on Fire Screenshot
Kids on Fire Screenshot

Busan International Film Festival 2020 will run on October 21 to 30. 192 films from 68 countries will be screened at the Busan Cinema Center and other selected venues.

BIFF, considered the biggest film festival in Asia, is forced to downsize its event due to the ongoing pandemic. Our Filipino contenders and other participants can participate on their online programs.

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