MMFF 2013 guide: 5 indie films in New Wave

By Miguel Dumaual,

Posted at Dec 18 2013 03:05 AM | Updated as of Dec 22 2013 09:08 AM

MANILA -- The annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will once again turn the spotlight on independent filmmakers via its New Wave section, which will feature 5 full-length offerings that explore that worlds of teachers, assassins, and even schizophrenics.

These, along with five animation shorts and three student-made short films, will be screened on December 19 until December 24 at cinemas at Glorietta 4 in Makati City and SM Megamall in Mandaluyong.

The premiere of the eight films in the main competition, which include potential blockbusters "Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy" and "My Little Bossings," will follow on Christmas Day.

With the opening of MMFF-New Wave set on Thursday, here's a look at the five independent films competing in the section. Moviegoers can check the line-up of the shorts here.

Stay tuned for's separate guide on the main competition.

Island Dreams
Diercted by Aloy Adlawan; written by Aloy Adlawan, Gino M. Santos
Produced by Kenneth Au, Fredalaine S. Au (Kenau Pictures Production)
Starring Louise delos Reyes, Alexis Petitprez
Also starring Irma Adlawan, Chanel Latorre, Natasha Villaroman, Hector Macaso, Junar Vidal, Ronaldo Baxafra

This 88-minute film centers on Julie (delos Reyes), a young woman who dreams of becoming a singer to escape poverty. But first she takes a detour as a tour guide at a resort island, where she meets an American (Petitprez) looking for a one-night stand. Zach enlists the help of Julie in finding the fabled True Love's Peak, a secluded place on the island believed to grant true love to anyone who visits it.

Saka Saka
Directed by Toto Natividad; written by Manuel R. Buising
Produced by Charo Santos-Concio, Malou N. Santos, Richard G. Reynante (Cinebro)
Starring Ejay Falcon, Joseph Marco
Also starring Baron Geisler, Toby Alejar, Perla Bautista, Kathleen Hermosa, Mon Confiado

This 97-minute film focuses on brothers Alex (Falcon) and Abner (Marco) as they grow up in the world of "saka saka," or the politics-driven field of private assassins. At first allies, the brothers become at odds when their duty and principles clash. The film is said to explore the "extent of what a person may do to protect his family from oppression and corruption."

Ang Maestra
Directed and written by Joven Tan
Produced by Pixelworks Enterprise, Scenema Concept International
Starring Perla Bautista, Biboy Ramirez
Also starring Dennis Padilla, Jenine Desiderio, Dexter Doria

This movie traces the life of Antonia dela Vega (Bautista), who dedicated her younger years to her passion of teaching. Now senile, the old woman lives under the care of her grandson Raphael (Ramirez). "Ang Maestra" promises to capture the "glorious past of Antonia as a caring, dedicated and passionate school teacher," and how she is now dealing with old age.

Directed and written by Armando Lao
Produced by Brillante Mendoza (Center Stage Productions)
Starring Willy Layug
Also starring Raquel Villavicencio, Bor Ocampo, Mark Joseph Griswold, Hazael Thea Lelay, Mary Graze Martinez, Petite Dobles, Rhea Angela Lim, Zelinda Sotto

Based on the life of the lead actor, this 106-minute film traces the humble beginnings of a famed sculptor, Waldo (Layug), whose tragic past motivated him to excel in his field. As a child, Waldo suffered from being abandoned by his father for another family, and later on being orphaned when his mother died. The movie follows Waldo as he overcomes several challenges, including being a bread winner to his three sisters, starting a family of his own, and roadblocks in his career.

Mga Anino ng Kahapon
Directed and written by Alvin Yapan
Produced by Alemberg Ang (Vim Yapan Alem Chua Productions)
Starring Agot Isidro, TJ Trinidad
Also starring Carlo Cruz, Carl Alexander Acosta, Upeng Galang Fernandez, Jay Gonzaga, Ku Aquino, Sheng Belmonte

In this 97-minute film, mainstream actress Isidro takes on the role of a schizophrenia patient, Irene, who is tormented by her memories of martial law -- a time when she experienced military surveillance as a young girl due to her mother's ties with rebels. With Irene's condition getting worse, her husband Ed (Trinidad) is forced to leave his job abroad to look after her. Like never before in their relationship, the couple encounters great challenges.