Filipino film festival in Europe goes virtual this year

Published October 19, 2020, 7:33 PM

by John Legaspi

Movies by Peque Gallaga, Chito Roño, and Maryo de los Reyes are among those to be screened in Europe and on the web

Still from Sonata

Films have been dependable friends throughout our time in quarantine. They helped us be transported into many places just to keep cabin fever at bay. Lucky for us, the Philippines is gifted with master filmmakers, with reels that aren’t afraid to dig more of the realities of life, good or bad.

With the European Philippine International Film Festival (EPIFF), Filipino film directors are getting the recognition they deserve. Founded by renowned filmmakers, Ruben Soriquez and Maurizio Baldini, and in partnership with the Philippine Italian Association (PIA), the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ICCPI) under the auspices of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the first Philippine cinema festival in Europe will take place from Oct. 24 to 25. 

After its successful first two editions, the festival continues to promote Filipino films to allow both Italians and other Europeans to have a better understanding of the complexity of Philippine society. The EPIFF will be showcasing five films during the two-day festival through the new indie and classic movie streaming platform at iWatchMore

Sonata (2013) by Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes 

This film is about a woman, played by Cherie Gil, whose whole life revolved around her art but goes on a self-destructive behavior once she loses it. Chino Jalandoni plays the role of a young boy who will help Cherie’s character to get out of the deep funk she’s in and slowly fall in love with her art once more. 

Badil by Chito S. Roño 

Also known as Dynamite Fishing, this film takes place in a small village in the Philippines on the eve of an election. It stars Jhong Hilario whose role was to make sure that his father’s responsibility to the incumbent Mayor del Mundo will be fulfilled after his father falls ill on the eve of the election. The film revolves around how politics is heavily marred with corruption during this era and how far people are willing to go to get what they want.

Bamboo Flowers (2013) by Maryo Delos Reyes 

Irma Adlawan, Ruru Madrid, Orlando Sol, and Mylene Dizon stars in this film where each of their characters is having a difficult time getting through life. It revolves around people who are facing their own challenges, trying to overcome obstacles in life. But overall, it features how resilient they are despite it all, just like the bamboo plant. 

The Crescent Rising (2015) by Sheron Dayoc 

This award-winning documentary focuses on Mindanao’s forgotten people, viewed through the different lenses of three characters who are unfortunately caught in a crossfire of unwavering faith and ambiguous histories. The themes of war and justice are highlighted in the film as it showcases what war can do to people, families, and communities. 

Land from God (2018) by Kevin Piamonte

This short film tackles the numerous struggles that the Ati tribe goes through in their continuous quest to preserve their culture in the rapid modernization and commercialization of the famous tourist spot, Boracay. 


Aside from the five competing films, the 2020 EPIFF will also be showcasing two films for everyone to enjoy by the festival’s very own founders.

Ruben’s 2019 film named The Spiders’ Man is one of the non-competing films in this years’ EPIFF. The film centers its story on two half-brothers, one of which is affected by autism and schizophrenia, after thieves snuck into their home. When the burglars failed to find any money, things got out of hand.

Maurizio’s 2016 film called Dalisay is the second non-competing film in the festival. It stars Sue Prado whose character went through an unfortunate accident where she lost both her parents. As she grows closer to a woman called Nida, she gets to know what higher love is and how the rhythm of nature affects each of our souls. 

The EPIFF is organized by the Island Stream Cultural Association of Florence, Italy, in partnership with various organizations in the Philippines.

Learn more about the festival by visiting its website.