It’s that time of the year: Cannes is once again rolling out the red carpet. And with that, the Philippines also returns to the prestigious French film festival, packed with thought-provoking films to grace the Cannes Marché du Film.
To be led by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the Philippine delegation will come in the form of six Filipino feature-length films and 17 production companies at the Marché du Film, three projects at Festival de Cannes, four Filipino producers for Spotlight Asia, and a Filipina juror in the independently sponsored Queer Palm award.
Richard Somes’ “Topakk,” Ato Bautista’s “Grace,” Vince Tañada’s “I Am Ninoy,” and J.E. Tiglao’s second feature-length film “Her Locket” are the selected films for the Marché du Film with exclusive screenings from May 16 to May 27.
Meanwhile, Sean Devlin’s “Atog” and Chan Sze-Wei’s “Tens Across the Borders” (co-produced by the Philippines, Singapore, Germany, and United Kingdom) are the chosen documentaries for the Cannes Docs – Marché du Film. Both films tackle queer and drag stories.
The action-drama film “Topakk” (“trigger” in English) tells the story of an ex-military-now-security guard, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder from serving the army, who becomes entangled in another war after saving a woman hunted by a corrupt police death squad working for a drug cartel.
In “Her Locket,” a mother named Jewel who suffers from dementia suddenly finds an old locket, prompting her old memories to return.
The crime-themed film “Grace” follows a college student who seeks revenge on the persons involved in the murder of his girlfriend, despite their powerful positions in the government. Among its cast are E.A. Rocha, Angeli Bayani, Ronnie Lazaro, Art Acuña, Kiko Matos, Cholo Barretto, Shaun Salvador, Mark Neumann, and Vance Larena.
Last in the Filipino films to premiere in Marché du Film is “I Am Ninoy,” a musical drama portraying the life and death of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Simeon Aquino Jr. starring Juan Karlos Labajo.
Here are the other Filipino projects and representatives that will participate at the Cannes Film Festival:
- “Ria” film by Arvin Belarmino – La Fabrique Cinéma 2023
- “The Art of Detaching One’s Memory” short film by Jan Carlo Natividad – Cinéma de Demain Focus WiP 2023 program
- Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan – one of the six directors selected to be part of Cinéfondation Résidence
- Isabel Sandoval – a jury member for the Queer Palm, an award given to films exhibited at Cannes Film Festival in recognition of their contribution to LGBTQIA+ cinema
- Benedict Mique – Participant in Cannes Producers Network and Spotlight Asia
- Lino Cayetano – Participant in Cannes Producers Network and Spotlight Asia
- Wilfredo Manalang – Participant in Spotlight Asia
- Kyla Danelle Romero – Participant in Spotlight Asia
Among the names and titles awarded in previous Cannes festivals is Jaclyn Jose, who scored the best actress award for the film “Ma’Rosa,” making her the first Filipino recipient of the prize. In 2022, the movie “Triangle of Sadness” garnered the highest Cannes award, the Palme d’Or, which also ushered international recognition for homegrown actress Dolly de Leon for her remarkable portrayal in the film as an Overseas Filipino Worker.
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Movie posters from “Asog” Facebook page and FDCP’s post