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NETPAC Award Winners at 3rd Qcinema International Film Festival, Oct 22-31 2015

Monica Wednesday November 4, 2015

Sleepless by Prime Cruz, Philippines 2015
Sleepless by Prime Cruz, Philippines 2015

by Prime Cruz
120mins, Philippines 2015

Best Film (NETPAC)
3rd Qcinema International Film Festival, Oct 22-31 2015
Quezon City, Philippines

Film critics don’t give in to guilty pleasures easily but when a film like Sleepless keeps them awake, that’s almost like a clarion call. Debut filmmaker Prime Cruz infuses Sleepless with real life issues and millenial foreboding. He goes on the charm offensive with his two leads, Glaiza de Castro (a Filipino dead ringer for Sandra Bullock if you close your eyes long enough to hear the laugh) and Dominic Roco (son of iconic 70s New Wave actor, Bembol Roco) and then miraculously, he leaves you hanging. In the new millenium, has anyone wondered why call centres have sprung up in an age when nobody sleeps? Did sleeplessness come first or did the call centres? Whatever it is, there is more nighttime activity than ever before, from dining, shopping to skateboarding and to old-fashioned sex. Scriptwriter Jenilee Chuaunsu has our two protagonists trying to forget themselves in their call centre job only to realise that it’s their loneliness that keeps them awake; she from an affair with a married guy and he with a young son from an ex-lover in a foreign country. It starts with sharing cup noodles at a 7-11 all-nighter, to nervous wishful thinking (via animated cartoons) till a liberating midnight skateboard run. The closeness and connection seem inevitable but then, this is the new millenium remember?!! Attachments are passe. Life is an onward motion that lulls you from one dream to the next. The problem is not even about being sleepless. It’s about wondering whether you are fully awake. The way out as always is the way in.

The Crescent Rising by Sheron Dayoc, Philippines 2015
The Crescent Rising by Sheron Dayoc, Philippines 2015

The Crescent Rising (Anak Mindanao)
by Sheron Dayoc
90mins, Philippines 2015

Best Documentary (NETPAC)
3rd Qcinema International Film Festival, Oct 22-31 2015
Quezon City, Philippines

While the proposed Bangsamoro (Moro Nation) Basic Law is being pondered in the Philippines parliament, Sheron Dayoc’s Crescent Rising documentary offers a timely portrait of the people the proposed legislation will affect. It traces the unrest in the Muslim-dominated Southern Philippines to the Jabidah Massacre of 1968, where Moro soldiers inside the Philippines Army were executed for being unwilling to engage in a plot to invade Sabah. Many Moros had Muslim relatives there. The documentary tries to be open-ended instead of being agit-prop in tone, so it even features an interview with someone who doesn’t believe that the Jabidah Massacre even took place. But the film spreads its net wide and explains the notion of Muslim jihad in a way not commonly seen in the world’s press. Instead of the media stereotype of religious aggression, the Bangsamoro practise jihad within its spiritual viewpoint of defending the faith. It sees the jihad as a continued resistance against Spanish colonisation (that lasted for over 300 years) when it tried to replace the Islamic culture of the Philippines that was already present since the 14th Century. The Spanish only arrived in the 16th Century. The film also has impressive Moro military camp footage (not normally seen in other films) and it tells candidly the fatigue that the nearly 50-year-old civil war has on its people. This explains the new push for peace amongst the female Moro population but when the Philippines national anthem is played at the end, Dayoc cleverly inserts footage of ordinary suffering and deprived Moro people, the very people that the nation is supposed to represent.

– Philip Cheah

International Women's Day

We are pleased to bring to you, for the second year, our International Women’s Day screening!

Free online screening | 8th March

IWD theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge. A challenged world is an alert world. From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge - Ubolsyn herself completely embraces the theme!

This year we invite you to a special free online screening of ULBOLSYN from director Adilkhan Yerzhanov. Our sincere thanks to the producers, Guillaume de Seille and Olga Khlasheva, for their generosity and their efforts in facilitating the screening.

Ulbolsyn Source Poffdotee

The film tells the story of a girl named Ulbolsyn (Kazakh for ‘let there be a son’) whose little sister Azhar is kidnapped by the regional mayor’s brother Urgen for marital purposes and taken away to his village. Ulbolsyn wants her sister to be free and to enter her into a foreign university so that she can pursue a future career. As soon as she learns about the incident, Ulbolsyn decides to fight for her sister and face down the patriarchal world of the people living in the Karatas village.

The film is the recipient of the NETPAC Award in Tallinn Black Nights and TRT award in CineLink Sarajevo WIP 2020

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