Prepare yourself for an intense cinematic experience as QCinema International Film Festival returns for its 10th anniversary.
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Probably the biggest celebration of quality cinema in the country organized by a local government unit, QCinema International Film Festival returns to bring us “intensely acclaimed” local and international films. Fueled by intense love and passion for cinema, QCinema has provided a platform for many homegrown filmmakers, whose works have resonated across the world.
Some of them include Dwein Baltazar’s Oda sa Wala and Glenn Barit’s Cleaners, both of which are best picture winners and have once been considered as the world’s top-rated movies. QCinema also brought award-winning titles like Parasite, Shoplifters, and Happening to our shores, offering us a unique window to the world. This year, celebrating its first decade, QCinema promises an intense film experience that you should not miss.
It was in 2013 when the QCinema International Film Festival was born, organized by the Quezon City Film Development Foundation. “Our filmmakers are among our city’s greatest assets and it’s our duty as our city’s leaders to give them every opportunity to hone their talents and skills and provide them venues to showcase their creativity so they can be our partners in nation-building,” shares QC Mayor Joy Belmonte in a speech that’s included in the fest’s vibrant trailer. “Maybe one day the QCIFF will not just be the new kid on the block, but be among the world’s best and most prestigious.”
And yes, after a decade of fulfilling our cinematic desires with great intensity, QCinema has evolved from being a newbie to being the country’s premiere international film festival. For its first 10 years, the festival has received over 2000 entries, supported 105 film grantees, and spent a hundred festival days and counting. It is therefore apt that this year, QCinema celebrates its 10th edition with the theme, In10city: A Decade of Intense Film Experience.
QCINEMA 2022 PROGRAMME
This year, QCinema has prepared intense cinematic experiences for you with a diverse lineup that boasts 58 international and local titles across 10 sections. Opening the fiercely exciting programme is Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or-winning satirical dark comedy, Triangle of Sadness. What makes the film’s premiere in the country even worth the hype is the star-turning performance of our very own Dolly de Leon.
Romanian thriller To The North by Mihai Mincan, on the other hand, first premiered in the Orizzonti section in Venice Film Festival and stars another local veteran talent, Soliman Cruz, in the lead role as a Filipino sailor who discovers a Romanian stowaway in a transatlantic ship. The film is the festival’s closing film this year and promises a gripping storyline that will put you on the edge of your seat.
ASIAN NEXT WAVE
After two years, the QCinema’s main competition section, Asian Next Wave, comes back with offerings from the Southeast and East Asia regions who will vie for the Pylon Award. This year’s acclaimed line-up of titles includes He Shuming’s debut film Ajoomma, a vacation dramedy set in South Korea that is also Singapore’s entry for the Academy Awards’ Best International Film category. The Cannes-winning Japanese sci-fi drama Plan 75 also joins the lineup. Written and directed by Chie Hayakawa, the film features a dystopian Japan where the elderly are encouraged to voluntarily euthanize as a solution to a super-aged society. The film also stars Filipino actress Stefanie Arianne in a lead role as Maria, a Filipino laborer.
Also in the category is Davy Chou’s Return To Seoul, which first premiered in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section earlier this year. Also set in South Korea, it follows the story of a headstrong woman who returns to the country’s capital to look for her parents. The film is also Cambodia’s entry to the Oscars Best International Feature Film race.
Thai filmmaker Sorayos Prapapan also joins the competition with his first feature film Arnold Is A Model Student. Part of this year’s Locarno Film Festival’s official selection, Arnold is a satire that is partly inspired by Thailand’s “Bad Student” movement and foregrounds the authoritarianism present in Thai schools. Makbul Mubarak’s Venice winner Autobiography is also part of the lineup. This is the debut of the first-time Indonesian filmmaker whose film plays with the genre of politics, crime, and thriller.
Finally, two Filipino films complete this year’s QCinema competition lineup: Ana Isabelle Matutina’s abortion drama 12 Weeks, which was also part of this year’s Cinemalaya offering where it copped the best actress trophy for Max Eigenmann; and Loy Arcenas’s third feature film Elehiya, which stars the iconic Cherie Gil as a widow who’s entangled in the memories of her failed marriage and a decaying island. This also marks the late actress’s last on-screen performance.
Last May, QCinema also unveiled its selection for its Filipino shorts section. Six filmmakers have received P350,000 film grants to produce their creations. “Ang daming talentadong mga kabataan,” said Belmonte during QCinema’s kick-off event last August 31 at the Gallery MiraNila in Quezon City. “Our philosophy is that we give opportunities to our talented filmmakers, give them support and create an environment where they can thrive.”
The selected works are Jaime Morados’ Ang Pagliligtas Sa Dalagang Bukid, Whammy Alcazaren’s BOLD EAGLE, Glenn Barit’s Luzonensis mula 7 hanggang 9, Rocky Morilla’s Mga Tigre Ng Infanta, Austin Tan’s Ngatta Nadaki y Nuang (Why did the Carabaos cross the Carayan), and JT Trinidad’s sa ilog na hindi nagtatapos.
DIGITALLY REMASTERED CLASSICS
Earlier this week, QCinema also announced the classic cinematic masterpieces that it will feature for its Digitally Remastered category. This includes Mike de Leon’s 1976 horror film Itim (The Rites of May) starring Charo Santos-Concio, whose restored version first premiered in the 75th Cannes Film Festival.
We’ll also get to see a 4k restoration of what is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, Wong Kar Wai’s In The Mood For Love. Starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, the film is set in 1962 Hong Kong and follows the melancholy love story of two people who live in the same building. The film first premiered in Cannes Film Festival in 2000 to critical acclaim, where Leung won the best actor prize.
Also coming back this year is QCinema’s section that caters to lovers of genre and fantasy films, the Midnight Series (formerly Before Midnight). This year, the festival offers three bone-chilling tales to satisfy your terror-filled fantasies. First off is Lorcan Finnegan’s psychological thriller, Nocebo. Starring Eva Green, Mark Strong, and our very own Chai Fonacier, Nocebo follows a fashion designer (Green) suffering from a mysterious illness who gets unexpected help from a Filipino carer (Fonacier) who practices traditional folk healing. Fresh from its European premiere in Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia in Spain, Nocebo also marks the first co-production effort between the Philippines and Ireland.
Also part of QCinema’s spooky selection is Ana Lily Amirpour’s Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon. A part of the prestigious Venice Film Festival’s official competition lineup last year, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon is about a young woman named Mona Lisa Lee (Jeon Jong-Seo) who escapes from a mental asylum and has psychokinetic powers. She then goes to the city of New Orleans where she tries to make it on her own. The film also stars Kate Hudson, Ed Skrein, and Craig Robinson.
Completing the Midnight Series lineup this year is the award-winning body horror film, Huesera. A feature debut from Mexican genre filmmaker Michelle Garza Cervera, Huesera tackles the fears and anxieties of being a first-time mother. It first premiered in Tribeca Festival where Cervera won the Best New Narrative Director award.
For QCinema’s specially curated section of international titles, the fest brings back acclaimed works from renowned and established auteurs. Most of them are award-winning films that are currently in the running for the Academy Awards’ best international feature film race. These include frontrunners and Cannes winners Close by Lukhas Dhont, Corsage by Marie Kreutzer, EO by Jerzy Skolimowski and Holy Spider by Ali Abbasi which have also been recently announced as nominees of this year’s European Film Awards in different categories.
Crimes of the Future is the newest sci-fi offering from the king of body horror David Cronenberg. It first premiered in Cannes Film Festival 2022 and stars Oscar nominees Viggo Mortensen and Kristen Stewart, and French actress Léa Seydoux. Coming-of-age drama and Locarno Film Festival winner I Have Electric Dreams from Costa Rican director Valentina Maurel is also part of the lineup. Wrapping up the selection is another big title from the prolific Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo called Walk Up which has previously screened at the New York Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.
Another exhibition section that’s coming back to QCinema this year is the New Horizons, which spotlight debut or second features from promising emerging filmmakers. One of them is Alice Diop’s French legal drama Saint Omer which bagged the Grand Jury prize along with the Luigi De Laurentiis Lion of the Future award at this year’s La Biennale.
Sundance winner Utama by Alejandro Loayza Grisi is also part of the lineup. The film follows the story of an old couple trying to survive a drought and is Bolivia’s representative at this year’s Oscars. South Korean detective drama Next Sohee is this year’s closing film at Cannes’ International Critics Week, the first South Korean film to do so. German films Piaffe by Anne Oren and The Ordinaries by Sophie Linnenbaum complete New Horizons’ excitingly diverse offering this year.
Foregrounding the colorful LGBTQ+ experience, the RainbowQC is a special exhibition section which highlights fresh and established queer voices from across the globe. Some powerful titles like Queer Palm winners Stranger By the Lake by Alain Guiraudie, Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of the Lady on Fire, Catherine Corsini’s The Divide, and Joyland by Saim Sadiq headline this year’s selection.
Canadian lesbian drama You Can Live Forever by Mark Slutsky and Sarah Watts, and Samantha Lee’s Billie And Emma, which won the QCinema’s Gender Sensitivity Award in 2018 will also screen in the section. Angry Son, a Japanese film from Kashou Iizuka which follows the complicated life of a gay teenager and his Filipina mother, also joins the RainbowQC selection.
Vahn Leinard Pascual’s Alingasngas ng mga Kuliglig, Gabriela Serrano’s Dikit, Petersen Vargas’ How to Die Young in Manila, Trishtan Perez’s I get so sad sometimes, and Norvin delos Santos’ Isang Daa’t Isang Mariposa are the award-winning short films that tackle queer stories which will also screen as part of the RainbowQC Shorts section.
For its special screenings, QCinema 2022 proudly presents the Philippine premieres of local and international films that have toured around different prestigious film festivals. Love Life by Japanese filmmaker Kōji Fukada is a marriage story that screened in Venice Film Festival as part of the official competition lineup. Moroccan mother-son drama The Damned Don’t Cry by Fyzal Boulifa also premiered at a sidebar event in the La Biennale this year where it won a special award.
Sengedorj Janchivdorj’s Mongolian coming-of-age The Sales Girl earned rave reviews after it premiered under the A Window on Asian Cinema section at the Busan International Film Festival. Finally, our very own Lav Diaz will take part in QCinema this year with the national premiere of When The Waves Are Gone (which premiered out of competition in Venice), a political thriller which stars John Lloyd Cruz, Shamaine Buencamino, and Ronnie Lazaro.
QCinema 2022 also features a new section called Advance Screenings where you get to experience a first-look at upcoming and most anticipated feature films. These include Santiago Mitre’s historical drama Argentina, 1985 and Nikyatu Jusu’s debut horror film Nanny which are both produced and/or distributed by Amazon Studios.
Venice winner Bones and All, a cannibal romance by Luca Guadagnino starring Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell, will also screen in the festival before its wide release on November 23. You’ll also get to see in advance Maria Schrader’s She Said, which chronicles the genesis of the Me Too Movement. Backed by Universal Pictures, it stars Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan and Zoey Kazan.
ASIAN SHORTS SECTION
Finally, QCinema 2022 gives us a window to up-and-coming cinematic talents from Asia with some critically acclaimed works that tackle themes of identity, memories, and survival through the short film format. The Water Murmurs by Story Chen won the short film Palme D’or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It follows the emotional journey of protagonist Nian who, amid natural disasters caused by an asteroid, decides to say goodbye to her childhood friend.
Dancing Colors by M. Reza Fahriyansyah was part of this year’s Locarno Film Festival and follows Dika, who tries to hide his true identity through dance. Stories of survival, on the other hand, are central in Cannes winner Lili Alone by Zou Jing and the Berlinale short Four Nights by Deepak Rauniyar. Two Filipino short films complete the Asian Shorts Section with Timmy Harn’s Papaya and Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan’s The Headhunter’s Daughter, which became the first Filipino film to bag the Sundance Short Film Grand Jury Prize.
QCINEMA 2022 VENUES AND TICKETS
From being screened in one cinema last year, QCinema 2022 will hold theatrical screenings in five venues: Gateway Cineplex, Trinoma, SM North Edsa, Cinema 76, and in Power Plant Mall in Makati. The tickets will be priced at 300 pesos.
Meanwhile, you can also watch the QCShort 2021 and 2022 selection including this year’s RainbowQC Shorts lineup via the online streaming platform, VivaMax. You’ll be able to treat yourself to short film goodness from November 22 – 26 with the online tickets priced at 299 pesos.
The 10th QCinema International Film Festival will run from November 16 to 25, 2022. Head on to QCinema’s Facebook and Instagram pages to get updated about the schedule and some free screenings at the festival that guarantees you intense film experiences.
(This post was updated on November 9, 2022)
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