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I Am Original: The Must-Watch Films Of The 14th Cinema One Originals


Original. The word, and all its permutations, has been a significant part of the festival name for the last 13 years. Originality has always been the one thing Cinema One Originals has championed and pushed for.

I Am Original is the tagline of the 14th Cinema One Originals. It is both a declaration, by the filmmakers and the performers, and a promise, that this year’s films will not be merely awesome but rather flawsome, a word coined to exemplify this year’s festival. Originality is never about perfection. Perfection is boring. Originality is about freshness of voice, an unwavering sense of self and the uniqueness of being human, flawed but awesome.


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In the spirit of celebrating and upholding Filipino originality, Cinema One Originals will be supporting another kind of local product outside of cinema through its partnership with Karton PH. The wide and diverse range of unique and handmade Karton PH products, from gourmet food items and beverages to wellness and beauty products to special fashion and home accessories, will be on sale during the festival.


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Competition films

One of this year’s Cinema One Originals filmmakers is making his third film for the festival. Two are returning to the festival a second time. Two are stalwarts of the independent scene, one making his long-awaited second film, the other making his ninth. Another is making his second feature after a much-acclaimed debut. Three are making their first features.


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Crime seems to be a common thread in most of this year’s films but from very different vantage points and perspectives. A Short History of a Few Bad Things by Keith Deligero (Cinema One Originals 2016 Best Director for Lily) may be the most straightforward, a noir procedural that has sociopolitical underpinnings. What Home Feels Like director Joseph Abello fancifully describes his second film Double Twisting Double Back, set in the world of gymnastics, as a sports crime film. In Hospicio, Bobby Bonifacio’s belated return to filmmaking, is a sort of sequel to his Numbalikdiwa, that begins with a botched crime and ends in the hospice of the title, which turns out to be haunted.


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Carl Papa (Director of Cinema One Originals 2015 Best Picture Manang Biring) returns with another animated feature, Paglisan, about a couple struggling to keep their marriage alive in the wake of one of them suffering from early onset dementia. In Rod Singh’s Mamu and a Mother Too, a middle-aged transgender finds herself becoming surrogate mother to her transgender niece. And in John Lapus’ Pang MMK, a young man visits his estranged father’s funeral with unexpected results.








And on the further, stranger end of the spectrum is Whammy Alcazaren’s (director of the 2013 Cinema One Originals film Islands) almost indescribable Never Tear Us Apart, which somehow manages to make sense of combining Third World espionage with old country folklore. Even weirder is Rayn Brizuela’s Asuang, which comes on like an odd superhero inversion. And in Charliebebs Gohetia’s Bagyong Bheverlyn, a heartbroken woman hears that a supertyphoon with the same name is fast approaching and realizes it’s a typhoon made of her own feelings and the only way to stop it from wreaking havoc on the country is to find happiness.