Story and Direction: Ron Morales
Kidnapping is business. Over 500 known cases of kidnapping were reported in the Philippines in recent years. Graceland is a story of just one.
Set in contemporary Metro Manila, Graceland follows Marlon Villar, a family man who works as the chauffeur of Mr. Manuel Changho, a corrupted politician, and his family. Marlon’s preteen daughter, Elvie, and the politician’s daughter, Sophia, are best friends. While driving them to school, Marlon is pulled over and held at gunpoint by a kidnapper disguised as a police officer. The problem is the wrong girl is kidnapped.
Propelled into a downward spiral of cover-ups and deceit, Marlon is forced to aid the kidnapper in order to save his daughter. As the truth unravels, Marlon must choose a life for every lie.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:40:00 10/28/2009
MANILA, Philippines—Five Filipino movies will be screened in Asiatica Film Mediale, the largest event in Italy dedicated to Asian cinema.
The annual festival, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is set Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 in Rome.
The five local films—“Astig,” “Ala Pobre, Ala Suerte, “Dose,” “Manila,” and “Imburnal”—will comprise a special section called “Focus Manila”, dedicated to the Philippines on account of the devastation wrought by “Ondoy” and “Pepeng.” This was announced on the website www.asiaticafilmmediale.it
The “Panoramic” or main section will include movies from the Philippines, China, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Iran, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Italian festival aims to create “a corner of Asia in the heart of Rome,” the site added.
“Astig”, by first-time full-length filmmaker GB Sampedro, brought home a special citation in the recently concluded 14th Pusan International Film Festival from a jury chaired by French filmmaker Jean Jacques Beneix.
For the same movie, Sampedro won Best Director in the 5th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival last July.
Marinel R. Cruz
By Marinel Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:24:00 10/18/2009
Filed Under: Cinema, Awards and Prizes
BUSAN—Filipino filmmaker GB Sampedro’s “Astig” (“Squalor”) received a Special Mention citation at the 14th Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea.
The film competed with 11 others in the New Currents section.
Written by Jerry Gracio, “Astig” was cited for “its boldness in form and narration and for its courage to approach without concession the hard life of young Filipinos confronted to struggle to survive in an unequal society.”
“We are thrilled to have brought honor to our country from the PIFF,” said supervising producer Noel Ferrer on Friday night. “I’m particularly happy that we were able to highlight the best of indie and mainstream cinema and got recognized for it.”
“Astig,” an episodic tale of four young men whose stories parallel and contrast with the landmarks and various images of Manila, won for Sampedro the Best Director award at the 5th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival in July. It has been invited to the Asiatica Filmmediale in Rome, Italy, to be held next month, Ferrer reported.
“Sampedro approaches the sexual commerce as a means to survive. His images are harsh, poignant and set the relationships between money and sex and the exploitation of women. Very inventive, ‘Squalor’ is a politically correct film,” said the PIFF New Currents jury, chaired by French filmmaker Jean Jacques Beneix.
Twenty Filipino films were screened at the PIFF—12 in the Retrospective section, six in exhibition and two in competition. The Philippines is the festival’s “country of honor” this year.
The awards ceremony on Friday night, held at the Pusan IFF Pavilion, began promptly at 6 p.m. (Manila time). It was attended by an estimated 10,000 people.
Best Movie Honor
The Iraqi-Kurdish drama “Kick Off,” by Shawkat Amin Korki, shared the New Currents Award with the South Korean film “I’m In Trouble,” by So Sang-min. The award, given to first-time and second-time film directors, also came with a cash prize of $30,000.
“Kick Off,” a story of a group people living in an illegal multi-ethnic settlement that tries to stage a friendly soccer match under obstacle-strewn conditions, also bagged the festival’s Best Movie honor in a separate award handed by the International Federation of Film Critics.
For the first time this year, the PIFF handed over a Flash Forward Award to debuting director Zaida Bergoth of Finland for the family drama “Last Cowboy Standing.” The award also came with a $20,000 cash prize.
The Sonje Award for Short Films went to Kim Jae-won’s “Somewhere Unreached” (Korea) and Basil Vassili Mironer’s “Rare Fish” (Singapore, Indonesia); the PIFF Mecenat Award for Documentaries to Kwon Woo-jung’s “Earth’s Woman” (Korea) and Saba Dewan’s “The Other Song” (India); the NETPAC Award to Park Chan-ok’s “Paju” (Korea); and the KNN Movie Award to Jiang Wenli’s “Lan” (China).
|Start:||Aug 19, ‘09 6:00p|
|End:||Aug 20, ‘09 6:00p|
|Location:||PETA-PHINMA Theater, PETA Theater Center 5 Eynard Drive, Barangay Kristong Hari, New Manila, Quezon City|
Featuring: ARNOLD REYES as MLQ, together with JOSHUA DEOCAREZA, ANALIN BANTUG, JOEL MOLINA, CHINIE NEPOMUCENO, ERIC DELA CRUZ, STELLA CAÑETE, JUN OFRASIO, JULIENE MENDOZA, RICHARD CUNANAN, JOEL SARACHO, RON ALFONSO, MAYEN BUSTAMANTE-CADD, and MELVIN SUMALINOG.
Written and Directed by George de Jesus III
Set Design by Otto Hernandez
Lights Design by Dong Calingacion
Choreography by Erwin Flores
Executive Producer: Maricel Ticar Santos
Unit Producer: Alvin Trono
PETA-PHINMA Theater, PETA Theater Center
5 Eynard Drive, Barangay Kristong Hari, New Manila, Quezon City
August 19, 2009 @ 6:00 PM
August 20, 2009 @ 2:00 PM & 6:00 PM
Screenplay: Jerry B. Gracio * Direction: GB Sampedro * Executive Producers: Boy Abunda & Boy So
“Astig,” written by multi-awarded writer Jerry B. Gracio, and directed by GB Sampedro, is an episodic tale of four young men whose stories parallel and contrast with the landmarks and various images of Manila.
It tells the story of Ariel of CM Recto (DENNIS TRILLO), a conman who has to leave his girlfriend (GLAIZA DE CASTRO) upon learning that he is in love with her; Boy of Oroquieta (EDGAR ALLAN GUZMAN), an expectant young father who has to sell his body to pay his wife’s hospital bill; Ronald of Escolta (ARNOLD REYES), a Chinese mestizo who is coming to grips with his identity; and Baste of Arranque (SID LUCERO), an overly-protective son of an OFW who has to avenge his sister.
The film tells the stories of the tough guys of Manila and their resolve to survive the dirt and filth of the “Distinguished and Ever Loyal City .” (AR)