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12 Films to Watch at the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino
by Angelique Borja

Here’s the list of films:

1. 100 Tula Para Kay Stella

Director: Jason Paul Laxamana

Starring: Bella Padilla and JC Santos

Synopsis: Throughout his four years in college, Fidel, a stuttering student, tries to finish 100 poems dedicated to Stella, an aspiring but frustrated rock star, to win her heart.

2. Ang Mananagal Sa Unit 23B

Director: Prime Cruz

Starring: Ryza Cenon and Martin del Rosario

Synopsis: Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B is about a lonely woman with dark secrets who falls for a broken-hearted guy amidst mysterious murders in Cubao.

3. AWOL

Director: Enzo Williams

Starring: Gerald Anderson and Bembol Roco

Photo from Gerald Anderson's Instagram account.

Synopsis: AWOL is a military action film about an army sniper. It was made in partnership and collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

4. Bar Boys

Director: Kip Oebanda

Starring: Carlo Aquino, Rocco Nacino, Enzo Pineda and Kean Cipriano

Synopsis: The movie is about the misadventures of three young men who try their luck in the college of law. As their friendship, families, relationships and convictions are brought to breaking point, they must keep their heads and emotions together as they prepare for the big day.

5. Birdshot

Director: Mikhail Red

Starring: Mary Joy Apostol, Ku Aquion, John Arcilla

Synopsis: Birdshot is a mystery-thriller film that tells a story of a young Filipina farm girl who wanders into the boundaries of a Philippine reservation forest. Deep within the reservation, she mistakenly shoots and kills a critically endangered and protected Philippine Eagle. As the local authorities begin a manhunt to track down the poacher of a national bird, their investigation leads them to an even more horrific discovery.

6. Hamog

Director: Ralston Jover

Starring: Zaijan Jaranilla, Teri Malvar, Sam Quintana

Synopsis: The movie is a unique blend of special and magic realism takes a look at the lives of four street children whose world is about to be turned upside down and inside out. Life begins where innocence ends.

7. Paglipay

Director: Zig Madamba Dulay

Starring: Garry Cabalic, Joan Dela Cruz and Anna Luna

Synopsis: The film focuses on Atan, an Aeta from Baytan village in Zambales, who makes a living from traditional farming system kaingin and hunting on the foothills of Mt. Pinatubo. It follows Atan’s fulfillment of his arranged marriage with a fellow Aeta, Ani. He has to accomplish a number of responsibilities which includes the offering of bandi or bride price to Ani’s parents. Atan needs to cross the mountain river going to Banwa, the town where he could earn the necessary amount for the bride price. In order to find a job, he needs to adapt himself with the modern way of life in town, including change in appearance, manner of clothing, religious practice, and language.

8. Patay Na Si Hesus

Director: Victor Villanueva

Starring: Jaclyn Jose, Chai Fonacier, Melde Montañez, and Vincent Viado

Synopsis: When Iyay, a single mother, learns that her estranged husband has died, she drags the entire family on a road trip from Cebu to Dumaguete to attend the funeral. With her children as her passengers, Iyay drives her tiny multicab on a journey that yields unexpected stopovers, detours, and revelations.

9. Pauwi Na

Director: Paolo Villaluna

Starring: Bembol Roco, Cherry Pie Picache, and Meryll Soriano

Synopsis: Pauwi Na follows an ailing man, a thief, a dog, a blind pregnant woman and Jesus Christ while they go through a tragi-comic journey of self-discovery as they decide to pedal their way from Manila to Bicol. Inspired by a news article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (“Family pedals way back home to Leyte,” Sept. 7, 2003), the film follows Mang Pepe and his family as they travel from Quezon City to Bicol on a pedicab “sikad-sikad”.

10. Salvage

Director: Sherad Sanchez

Starring: Jessy Mendiola, JC De Vera, Joel Saracho, Karl Medina, Barbie Capacio

Synopsis: Melay is a TV news producer on location with her crew in Cagayan de Oro to do a story on murders rumored to be related to aswang. They get lost along the way, and end up in the clutches of a truly monstrous threat. This is a found footage film, but there is much more at play than it might first seem.

11. Star Na Si Van Damme Stallone

Director: Randolph Longjas

Starring: Candy Pangilinan, Sarah Brakensiek, Ebong Joson, Acey Aguilar, Mara Marasigan, Isaac Aguirre, Paolo Pingol, Jadford Dilanco

Synopsis: Based on real-life characters and events, this tale is about Nadia, a single mom who goes through the trials and tribulations of raising VanVan, a child with Down Syndrome. As a mother, one is expected to give one hundred percent to her child⎯ but when one is raising a special child, one hundred percent is never enough, you still have to give so much more. When VanVan told Nadia he wanted to become an actor, Nadia knew she had to make ends meet- and dreams come true.

12. Triptiko

Director: Miguel Franco Michelena

Starring: Albie Casiño, Jerald Napoles, Joseph Marco, Art Acuña, Kylie Padilla, Kean Cipriano, Cris Michelena, Max Eigenmann, Karl Medina, Jay Gonzaga, Pinky Amador

Synopsis: A guy who “just got lucky” is struck by a string of unlucky circumstances; a male model’s life falls apart because of evil boils appearing on his body; a folk singer’s romantic ideals are put to the test as his beloved slowly changes into something he does not understand. These three funny, sometimes absurd, sometimes terrifying, and ultimately compelling stories make up “Triptiko.”

Don't miss this week-long celebration of critically acclaimed Filipino films! For more details, check out Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino's Facebook page.

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