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Sep 12, 2013
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Visit an SM mall within this week and you will notice something very jarring: no foreign movie is showing. Has the mall chain banned Hollywood movies?

The short of it is yes…but only for this week. From September 11 to 17, SM Cinemas in over 45 malls nationwide will not be showing any imported flick to make space for the 2013 Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival: All Masters Edition.


The second of its kind, the annual film fest is organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) to put the spotlight back on homegrown works of cinematic art. It’s the council’s way of saying “Hey guys, let’s support our own for the meantime.” With the recent success of Erik Matti’s action thriller OTJ, this film cycle should only contribute to the growing momentum of quality local films. Having SM back the project up is tremendous as well because they control more than a third of the cinemas in the nation, which as of 2010 was already at 647 cinemas. Quite the turnaround for a company that once banned R-18 movies.

SM’s commitment to the project also reduced the price of admission to P100 for the duration of the festival in more than 300 SM theaters nationwide—a big incentive for Filipino viewers to go out and watch. 

If the cheaper ticket price isn't enough, here are a few more reasons why this one is worth checking out:

1) Recently restored classics such as Lino Brocka's Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag, Manuel Conde's Genghis Khan, and the last film of Celso Ad Castillo, Bahay ng Lagim, will also be screened along with the documentary The Gospel According to Celso Kid. It's the best time to catch up on Philippine film history!

2) The proceeds of the film screenings will go to the building of a National Film Archives in Tagaytay to ensure that future generations get to watch the classics.

3) It's also trying to foster a new generation of filmmakers with a short film competition.  One of the films in the its New Breed category is Salvi by Illongo directorr, TM Malones, which is a movie set in a post-apocalyptic Philippines stricken by an unknown disease. 

Of course, the clincher are the nine films directed by veteran directors considered to be masters of the craft, as determined by their body of work. Each one was tasked to make a film that showcases their home provinces or as Briccio Santos, FDCP chairman, puts it: “to bring focus to the faces, voices, and stories” of the regions.

From Peque Gallaga to Chito Rono, jump to the next page for our guide to the directors and the films of the festival!

NEXT: Otso, Tinik, and yes, Ang Tag-Araw ni Ellen, este, Twinkle


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