Short but sweet: Synopses of selected Cinemalaya 2020 entries

Published July 23, 2020, 9:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin Entertainment

The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival this year runs from Aug. 7 to 16 but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the movies will be screened on Vimeo.

Out of 244 entries submitted, 10 short films were selected and will vie for the Best Film award.

Scene from ‘Ang Gasgas na Plaka ni Lolo Bert’

In “Ang Gasgas na Plaka ni Lolo Bert” by Janina Gacosta and Cheska Marfori, an old vinyl record alters a closeted gay man’s life.

‘Ang Pagpakalma sa Unos’

Memories catch up as a girl visits a ravaged port city in “Ang Pagpakalma sa Unos” by Joanna Vasquez.

‘Excuse Me Miss, Miss, Miss’

“Excuse Me Miss, Miss, Miss” by Sonny Calvento tells the story about a department store sales lady who unearths the ultimate secret to regularization.


“Fatigued” by James Robin Mayo is about an employee who overslept and must wake-up from a nightmare.

‘Living Things’

“Living Things” by Martika Ramirez Escobar is about a woman who discovers that her decade-long lover has turned into a cardboard standee.

‘Pabasa Kan Pasyon’

Pabasa kan Pasyon” by Hubert Tibi follows a Bicolano family that turns to religion to make both ends meet.

‘Qing Lalam Ning Aldo’

In “Quing Lalam Ning Aldo” by Reeden Fajardo, a transgender sampaguita farmer decides to renovate their neglected kitchen as soon as she hears that her son is going home.

‘The Slums’

“The Slums” by Jan Andrei Cobey follows a documentary team who progressively intervenes and trespasses into the lives of a poor family living in the slums as they try to cope with the loss of their TV.


In “Tokwifi” by Carla Pulido Ocampo, a 1950s mestiza star, trapped inside a television that fell from the sky, dreams up a romantic romp with a Bontok Igorot man who does not know how to kiss.


“Utwas” by Richard Salvadico and Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay narrates how a young boy discovers the ocean as he tries to learn how to dive and fish.

Aside from the main competition, the Cinemalaya will have a specially-curated Short Films in Exhibition, featuring 20 short films.

These are “Ang Meron Sa Wala” (Beyond Nothing) by Arby and Christine Larano; “Ang Nawalang Haligi” (Pillar) by Sarah Mya Regacho; “Dama De Noche” by Lawrence Sibug; “Grand Gestures” by Cody Abad; “Gulis” (Lines) by Kyle Jumayne Francisco; “Habak” by Paolo Matibag and Mia Salisbury; “Himagsik ng Hiwaga” (Revolt of the Mystic) by Geoffrey Solidum; “Igib” by Joey Paras; “Jepoy” by Avid Liongoren; “Kung Saan Patag Ang Bundok” (Where The Horizon Meets The Mountain) by Dolliete Echon; “OctoGod” by Shievar Olegario; “Paon” by Seb Valdez; “Pinakanakapagpapabagabag-Damdamin” (Most Disturbing Feeling) by Jermaine Tulbo; “Si Gloria at Si Juan” by Gilliano Salvador; “Sumasaiyo” (Yours truly,) by Jermaine Tulbo; “Tarang” (Life’s Pedal) by Arvin Alindogan Belarmino; and “The Rooftop” by Avirup Biswas.

Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video will continue its run this year. Visions of Asia, one of the major components of the film festival, will screen award-winning indie films from Asia.

Cinemalaya will pay tribute to individuals who have made great contributions to the Philippine film industry – director Peque Gallaga and actress Anita Linda.

Screenwriter Ricky Lee, in partnership with Cinemalaya, will conduct a scriptwriting masterclass. There will also be a virtual reunion of his writing workshop alumni.

Cinemalaya components such as the Cinemalaya Retrospectives, featuring past Cinemalaya films, and Cinemalaya Campus, among others are on.

For more updates, visit the CCP and Cinemalaya websites.