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Cine de Oro wows audiences in intimate festival

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)--The third edition of the Cine de Oro Film Festival (CDOFF) hosted a myriad of films, from playful imagery to rich cinematic nuances, at the Karumata in Barangay Macasandig, here, December 16-17.

This year’s Cine de Oro brings back visual storytellers who have been on hiatus from the film scene for the most part of this pandemic.

In a recent Talakayan sa PIA episode, Joe Bacus, CDOFF festival director, said, "Cine de Oro was founded by us, a group of filmmakers, around six years ago. Then, four years ago, we started with film screenings, workshops. The time came when we needed a bigger platform, and that was in 2019."

The first Cine de Oro Film Festival came to fruition, December 15, 2019, when it opened with Bacus’ internationally-acclaimed full length film "Markado: The Moon Devourer" at the Limketkai Cinemas.

Festival Director Joe Bacus introduced the third edition of the Cine de Oro Film Festival in a special episode of the Talakayan sa PIA, December 14, 2022. (PIA-10)

On the day, Cagayan de Oro felt a jolt in the earth, which Bacus noted as a sign that the "Oro" affirmed the festival’s launch.

In local lore, the "Oro" is a giant fish that resides in a cave beneath the St. Augustine Cathedral in the city; when it moved, the people would feel an earthquake.

Then the pandemic came and sent the world spiraling into virtual reality. This paved the way for CDOFF to launch the online screenings of the films harvested for the year 2020.

Although the feel of watching movies in cinemas was certainly missed, the second edition was a success, as filmmakers refused to back down from the effects of COVID-19.

Reeling from the economic decline, CDOFF organizers felt it was time to give it a break in 2021, as the difficulty in holding mass gatherings was still not allowed, filmmakers had to go through a lot of strict health protocols just to be able to produce a film, and securing funding was a little too burdensome.

This year, the country slowly opened up its doors to economic activities that created opportunities for filmmakers to get those shelved screenplays into the light and onto the screens—physically.

Bacus said, "Tungod sa pandemic, naanad ta nga naa ra ta sa balay magtan-aw og pelikula, but in film festivals, muadto ka didto uban imong friends and maka-meet pud ka og new friends. Maka-interact pud ka sa mga filmmakers kay after each film naa may Q and A."

(Because of the pandemic, we got used to watching movies at home, but at film festivals, you go there with your friends and possibly meet new ones. You can also interact with the filmmakers as, after each film, there is a question and answer portion)

Screenings of the third edition of the Cine de Oro Film Festival exhibition and main competition films were intimate at the Karumata, situated at Barangay Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro City, December 16–17, 2022. (XU Film Society)

The Festival

CDOFF 2022 featured 10 competition short films in the narrative category and 10 in the newly created experimental category.

The festival opened, December 16, at the Karumata with Binisaya filmmaker Keith Deligero’s "Kordero sa Dios," with screenings of the exhibition and main competition films following long into the midnight screening of films from Bagane Fiola’s Ngilngig Film Festival at midnight and beyond.

In the narrative category, CDOFF featured "Daybreak" by Angelo Dabay (Cagayan de Oro City), "Naboc" by Rodel JR. Artiaga (Davao de Oro), "A Sabbath on the Longest Day of the Year" by Edmund Telmo (Ozamiz City), "I Get So Sad Sometimes" by Trishtan Perez (Pagadian), "Maudi nga Arapaap" by Daniel Magayon (Antipolo, Rizal), "Golden Bells" by  Kurt Soberano (Bacolod);

"Tong Adlaw nga Nag-snow sa Pinas" by Joshua Caesar Medroso (Davao), "Infolitan sa Balay ni Ben and John" by Angelo Gillo (Manila), "Trash Mesia" by Andy Alvarez and Stanley Alcala (Dumaguete), and "Ang Mga Handum Nga Nasulat sa Balas" by Richard Jeroui Salvadico and Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay (Iloilo).

Meanwhile, the experimental category featured "Its Raining Frogs Outside" by Maria Estela Paiso, "One by One MMXXI" by Timmy Harn, "Nasa Diyos ang Gawa Nasa Tao ang Awa" by Johner Zulueta, "Ikot" by LeanderTamayo,  "Jakol, or Claire de Lulu in ‘D’ Major" by Doydoy Megriño;

"An Tawag Ha Ika-Pito nga Inop" by Chickenligaya, "Mga Kadini sa Kaugmaon" by Karina Jabido & Sheivar Olegario, "Roadtrip to Happiness" by Claudia Fernando, "Silo" by Ashley Manugaas, and "Living Dead To Hell and Back" by Condrad dela Cruz.

This year’s festival jury is composed of filmmaker and writer Teng Mangansakan, actor and producer Alwyn Uytingco, and veteran artist Jojo Sescon for the narrative category; filmmaker and writer/director Dodo Dayao, Davaoeño filmmaker Bagane Fiola, and the godfather of Filipino experimental cinema, Roxlee, for the experimental category. This set of jurors chose among the respective categories of short films to be the recipient of Cine de Oro’s Golden Giant Fish Trophy.

Cine de Oro gave the Lifetime Achievement Award to Reuben Rabe Canoy and Lorenzeo M. Dela Serna on December 17 for their lasting contributions to the history of Cagayan de Oro cinema as film producers, screenwriters, authors, and the former mayor of Cagayan de Oro, Reuben Rabe Canoy, and film director, screenwriter, radio, and print director, Lorenzo M. Dela Serna.

The Cine de Oro Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Reuben Canoy and accepted by his daughter Rhona Canoy; the same award for Lorenzo M. de la Serna was accepted by Robert de la Serna, Lorenzo's son. (XU Film Society)

The Golden Giant Fish Trophy

Cine de Oro presented a special mention award to Dodoy Megrino's "Jakol, or Claire de Lulu in ‘D’ Major" for expanding on its deceptively thin premise with an almost joyous, quite cinematic playfulness, according to the jury.

CDOFF awarded the Grand Jury Prize to Timmy Harn's "One by One MMXXI."

CDOFF describes the film as a blast of psychedelic imagery that never abandons the emotional turmoil, articulating, achieving poignancy with its surreal visual riot. Cine de Oro presented its Golden Giant Fish Award to Maria Estela Paiso's "It's Raining Frogs Outside" in the Experimental category.

Meanwhile, in the Narrative category, CDOFF presented a Special Mention to Kurt Soberano’s "Golden Bells" for a strong understanding of the various elements of film, such as cinematography, acting, sound, editing, and production design, and how to effectively incorporate them into the language of cinema.

Edmund Telmo of Ozamiz City took home the Grand Jury Prize for "A Sabbath on the Longest Day of the Year," which, according to the jury, inquires into the foundations of faith while reinforcing the complexities of man through bleak visual storytelling.

The youthful visual style and intimate framing that captures a crucial issue of alienation and deep longing in the digital age earned Trishtan Perez’s "I Get So Sad Sometimes," the Golden Giant Fish Award.

(Center) Trishtan Perez receives the Cine de Oro Film Festival’s (CDOFF) Golden Giant Fish Award for his film "I Get So Sad Sometimes" during the awarding ceremony. Presenting the award are CDOFF jury member Teng Mangansakan (left) and CDOFF festival director Joe Bacus at the Karumata, Cagayan de Oro City, December 17, 2022. (XU Film Society))

The Gawad Urian-winning short "Ola" by Zamboangueña artist Mijan Jumalon closes out the third edition of the Cine de Oro Film Festival.

The film tells a powerful story about grief and loss. Five years after the death of her daughter, a still-grieving artist is visited by her departed child, who asks her to build a boat. The visit transcends into an exploration of how art and madness can transform and transcend grief and tragedy.

The film was shown on December 17, the 11th anniversary of the Sendong tragedy.

CDOFF festival director Joe Bacus said that during the pandemic, it was movies and music that comforted all of us.

"Karon nga nibalik na ta sa medyo normal, gi-push namo ning Cine de Oro Film Festival bahala og wala’y funding, but we got help from our artist friends, especially kang Michelle and Jake nga gi-offer nila ilang place (for the screenings) para maka-celebrate gyapon ta, welcome to Cine de Oro Film Festival," Bacus said.

(Now that things are slowly returning to normal, we continued with the Cine de Oro Film Festival despite the lack of funding support, but we received assistance from our artist friends, particularly Michelle and Jake, who offered their space (for the screenings) so we could still celebrate. Welcome to the Cine de Oro Film Festival)

Bacus hopes to expand the film festival even further in the coming years, and looks forward to working with partners who could give the festival a boost in terms of logistical and financial support. (SAYU/PIA-10)

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Shaun Alejandrae Uy

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