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Salamindanaw Asian film festival bares winners

A still from Indonesian film Ziarah by BW Purba Negara, which won the Best Asian Feature at the recently-concluded Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival in General Santos City.


Coordinator, Film Criticism Workshop – Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival 2016

Contributing Writer/Editor – New Durian Cinema


 An Indonesian film was announced the winner for best Asian feature film in the recently concluded Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival in General Santos, southern Philippines.

BW Purba Negara’s Ziarah won best Asian feature film besting eight other entries. 

 The jury, composed of stage and film actress Fe Virtudazo-Hyde and Filipino filmmaker Raya Martin, cited the film for “a powerful story about storytelling, a humble yet immensely affecting approach to the stories that embody us through life, and its prism that echoes from its death. It is a film about the search for closure of an old woman, by piecing portraits that tell a love story, its history, and the power of storytelling in reincarnating the essence of a life.”

 A Jury Special Mention was awarded to The Dog by Lam Can-zhao of China “for a film that takes us into a glimpse of lives in modern society through an unlikely perspective, carried through assured yet subtle shifts in the language of showing.”

 Boneca de Atauro: Searching for Lost Love by David Palazon won best Asian short film. The film from Timor Leste bested eight other entries “for its unique and playful storytelling brimming with magical optimism that gives a different kind of cinematic expression yet at the same time brings to the fore its political importance in a country at the threshold of a new future.”

 Meanwhile, Igme at Gani by Jhayle Ann Meer won best Filipino short film. The best Philippine short was unanimously selected “for its simple yet sophisticated storytelling that refuses to succumb to nihilism, offering a refreshing look at a national issue. It has a very Filipino sensibility yet also speaks a universal language, something that even transcends Philippines’ Southeast Asian counterparts.” 

 Mindanao cinematographer McRobert Nacario, actor and documentary filmmaker Perry Dizon, and BW Purba Negara served in the short films jury. 

 The festival also hosted the Film Criticism Workshop in partnership with Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival with the support of The Japan Foundation Asia Center. Noted international film critic Chris Fujiwara was mentor of the four-day workshop which was participated in by aspiring film critics from Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan.

 Aside from the workshop, young Mindanao filmmakers participated in the Mindanao Screen Lab to learn the craft of filmmaking and story pitching. The mentors included Filipino directors Sherad Anthony Sanchez, Eduardo Dayao and Raymond Red, and Japanese documentary filmmaker Sakai Ko. The five-day workshop was supported by the Forum Civil Peace Service/forumZFD and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

 Founded in 2013, Salamindanaw is the only international film festival in southern Philippines which is garnering a reputation as an important platform of emergent talents in Southeast Asian cinema.

 The Festival ran from November 7 to 13 with 80 films in competition and exhibition sections.


Finding Your Audience with Filmmaker Lem Lorca

Lemuel Lorca knew he wanted to become a filmmaker as early as a middle-schooler. After graduating in college in 2001, Lorca somehow drifted to finding his path, following the voice that would make his dream a reality. He was resigned to the fact that having no industry connections it was impossible to even get in.  Four more years of pining away and launching failed attempts at securing at least of a real occupation that his parents would be proud, Lorca was ready to give up and move on and that cinematic dream was about to be forgotten completely. When finally that one chance came knocking at his door, he regained his composure and defied the odds.


Looking back,  Lorca started by writing in a magazine show, which he himself eventually directed. When he was finally given the opportunity to direct a feature film, Lorca thought it was going to be his first and last. The film was BOLA, a gay-themed film that like others at the time took advantage of the boom in the niche industry of local LGBT films. Surprisingly, it was well-received and perhaps the last hit of the subgenre to date. Lorca said doing Bola was just testing the waters, but even on his first attempt he already knew that telling honest stories is king. For this pride of Mauban, Quezon; LGBT stories, are human stories just like others that are worth telling. Lorca expressed his sincerity in not putting a label on films he make, “I just have to be conscious and sensitive with every story I tell.” Like his main character, the one that dreams of becoming a professional basketball player but couldn’t even make himself to college,  Lorca said all dreams should be respected – may it be good or bad, joyful or sad – that’s the only way he can make films out of these stories with honesty and integrity.


True to form, Lorca’s films from Bola and the next four that followed are story films bridled by simplicity yet with unmitigated social consciousness. In MAUBAN: RESIKO, Lorca takes a hit on traditional feasts that are subtly targeted by abuse and corruption.  Even as hushing persists that he immensely benefitted from only directing films written by literary scholars,   Lorca’s adeptness in translating good scripts to film is unquestionably visible. Having been trained at the Mowelfund Film Institute, Lorca’s cinematic skills are honed further by his lack of pretense to create beyond what is real and logical in excuse of artistic excesses. Lorca attested that his humble upbringing in a small unassuming southern town made his goals and visions unalloyed – simple stories are more beautifully told when executed as purely. He is very much existentially aware of the complexities of human emotions, and as relating to the Filipino experience, we just have to be sentient  enough to recognize that in every sadness or happiness – there is always an “in-between” that makes us more accepting of silly but nuanced things that are often presented as mixed variations of everything. Such postulation brings about his unifying vision as a filmmaker to a potent core. This is why NED’S PROJECT and WATER LEMON, both situated in his provincial home, are amazingly bittersweet yet there’s hope in every earned laughter. This is the main reason we believe these two films, albeit very intimate to a fault, are cinematic gems that Lorca contributed to the treasures of world cinema. Everything Lorca said he is, and the stories collected near and far – are basically everything seen and heard when one gets acquainted with him. If you go to his hometown and look around, even in the middle of the night, you will see all the characters in their places and the stories that connect them as reminiscent and carefully recorded as in his filmic mind. Perhaps, the only way a filmmaker as a storyteller becomes authentic is when one archives every nuance and every detail of their narrative from actually living it. Lorca said that when directing from a script, unless he immerses himself to become every character he creates, he can never see them being captured as truthfully on screen.


His latest film, ECHORSIS, now being shown in cinemas nationwide was created out of drinking sessions while preparing to film his Cinemalaya entry, INTOY SYOKOY NG KALYE MARINO in 2012. Each time he remembers the “gay devil possessing a human body” he cracks in hilarity. When it was written by award-winning writer Jerry Gracio, Lorca responded positively about the profundity of the story that it had masterfully become. More than being uproariously funny, he said what attracted him the most is its overall insight that is quite deficient in most comedies being churned out today in local cinemas. Lorca added that one can only expect a deeper understanding of what life, love, sacrifices, and happiness could be most meaningfully  about in his film.

Echorsis, in fact, struggled with distribution before finally hitting an exhibition deal. Almost neck-deep in production and personal expenses, Lorca intimated that more than professional success, he also wishes to earn enough to gather more stability and continue what he loves doing best. And every time he goes home to his beloved town, there is that humbling exhaustion that would arrest him for months before finally moving on to the next, which attests to the unwavering dedication and hard work he put to his craft. Still early in his career, he is slowly establishing an honorable reputation as a filmmaker; Lorca said  that his motivation, more than reaping awards is receiving the reactions of audiences first-hand when he watches his films with them. For him, true success as a filmmaker is only experienced when he gathers as many people to see the films they painstakingly produced.


Click this link to check out where you can watch ECHORSIS  

Bisexual Television Finally Gets True Visibility

Vulture recently crowns Darryl Whitefeather (adorably portrayed by Pete Gardner) as television’s Most Darling Bisexual. Indeed he is – and to quite extent, Crazy Ex Girlfriend’s portrayal of bisexuality is positively well-informed. Plus, IT FINALLY FUCKING MENTIONS THE B-WORD!


In CW’s Crazy Ex Girlfriend, recently divorced and socially awkward boss Darryl Whitefeather is challenged to realize that he is “bothsexual.” His bisexuality is a road to discovery, not mere a passage of experiment.


Although homosexual visibility in media has been portrayed and evolved through the years for the better, there is still a specter that haunts the portrayal of bisexuality that though not entirely diminishing, but nevertheless pushing its existence to a dead mine. Less-antagonistic, but even still so discriminatory, bisexual erasure is most usually being trapped into the uneven employ of “sexual fluidity” in both dramatic and comedic media representations. Such a case triggers to pile up and fails to recognize its well-rounded inclusion. Portraying bisexuality without ever the self-affirmation of the “b-word” is cutting classic bi-erasure.

It is actually a challenge to identify who among the few TV characters through the years explicitly portrayed bisexuality, thus it becomes more difficult  to pinpoint the first self-identified, albeit fictional, person of bisexual nature. Often, bisexuality is explored to heighten a character’s sexuality (Jung. Vulture. 2016), and in the case of the supposedly first ever mainstream television outing in LA Law (He’s A Crowd, 1991), it was admitted to have been not more profound than bolstering the ratings (which in turn backfired after major sponsors pulled out with what could be the depiction of  TV’s first same-sex romantic kiss), and as such, the storyline was dropped and not given a follow-up.

In 1994, the exact same biphobic corporate reaction happened to Roseanne’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, except the “character/storyline experiment” garnered much positive response from the audience.

In 1997, Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s The Wish, Willow  is portrayed in alternate reality as an aggressive bisexual vampire, but it would only be in 2001’s The Body that Willow become “full-pledged” bisexual and thereby shown sharing her onscreen same sex kiss belatedly. It would be on this media mileage that Allyson Hannigan’s Willow Rosenberg get an explicit affirmation of her true sexuality, and therefore becoming TV’s first major bisexual character.

In fact, Netflix’s prison dramedy Orange Is The New Black has been embittered by the erroneous sexual labeling of its main character (as “former lesbian”) which effectively exposes the dead end reality that most of us is still confused about the nuclear orientation of bisexuality. It only becomes more regressive when such depiction, may it be sexually explicit, fails to even mention the real possibilities of the character’s well-intentioned SOGIE.  The diminishing line between a character exploration and personal evolution seems to have always portrayed bisexuality as a fleeting passage to homosexuality – which is deemed completely wrong and terrible. Inaccurately portraying bisexuality becomes rather exploitative.

Yes, in most cases, speaking in behalf – bisexuality could be a personal experiment – but being bisexual is not mere a choice between the two after such “period of testing the waters” has been resulted upon. It’s an open wide reconciliation that sexuality is indeed a spectrum.  It indeed has more colors than black, white, and pink.

And all these portrayals, including the most recent – such as Orphan Black, Transparent, House of Cards, How To Get Away With Murder, American Horror Story, True Blood, etc – only push boundaries but ultimately fails to recognize bisexuality as an exclusive portion of their characterization. This blot in reality as portrayed makes bisexuality more obscure and invisible as it has always been.

An Open Letter to an Idiot

Dear Manny Pacquiao,

Peace and well being!

I get that you’re  an idiot. You have ambitions beyond professional boxing and basketball, that’s commendable. But you are an ill-advised idiot.

“Same-sex marriage” or any type of union that aspires to achieving legal and social protection is not up for anyone else to initiate a sloganeering campaign, like “No to’s…” Maybe, that’s not something you actively campaign for…yourself. But you absolutely have no right to come between a pair who demand that such universal right be recognized regardless of birth given or identified gender. You are an idiot.

Don’t use a book or a belief, personal or organizational, or any moral measure to discriminate against others. Not everyone shares the same religious beliefs. Personally, I would feel very violated as I don’t subscribe to any religion, as much as I don’t believe in supernatural or mythical deities. But here’s one thing, I respect people who do, and I take it upon myself not to offend anyone who are religious, or anyone seeking comfort and refuge by subscribing to theistic positions. Am I an idiot too if I demand the same fairness and respect from you?

The current laws in the Philippines do not even allow contractually binding civil unions, fact. But such currency, and arguably old-fashioned status quo does not reflect the changing attitude towards the nuclear definition of equality, and I strongly believe it violates people of their inherent rights, which in turn makes them more susceptible to every form of discrimination imaginable. It is in my opinion that there is an immediacy to open the topic for discussion, and to challenge the current norms. But since you are an idiot, Mr. Pacquiao, you woudn’t understand.

Please, you don’t tell me what I should think, and say, and desire. I make my own living and still respect the limitation of protection afforded to me under a 30 year old Constitution. I don’t want to be insulted by an idiot.


Pop Culture Diva

#AlDub Phenomenon: The Macarena Effect

This may have come too late to even pose as an analysis of sort, but what could possibly be said more about the supercouple phenomenon that is AlDub other than trying to jump on to the wagon and to dissect one dig much deeper to the resounding success created by this soap opera parody that is not much more than an airtime filler and too diminutive to qualify as a scripted drama. It’s somewhat a borderline trivial TV segment that became mercurially more popular than the mother program, which in itself an enduring pop culture phenomenon, that embracing it as the biggest chunk of a smorgasbord of entertainment buffet becomes an obligation to giving in to what baits the mass market fixation.

It is not a mystery at all why Aldub and the Kalyeserye portion became a hit given the penchant of the Filipinos to obsessing over romantic-comedy melodramas, singing along to pop music nostalgia, rooting for the underdogs, and self-deprecating guilty pleasures like they are equivalent to a religious offering. Other than occasioning pink-tickled dreaminess through the innocuous employ of split-screen ala Rock Hudson and Doris Day in Pillow Talk and performing a duet ala Sheryl Cruz and Romnick Sarmenta, albeit lip-synching – what has been really phenomenal about this duo that sparked global interests  (if Twitter trends are to be the gauging proof, or the countless multimedia endorsement deals, and a financially successful movie tie-in)? What solid and tangible trades in this pop culture hegemony are really at play in the grand barter of things?

At least in the time of Guy and Pip (Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III), their producers were really keen on making them a real-life couple, which in fact happened very briefly. Their films, TV appearances, music records, and public outings had been exceedingly regarded with real talents in full display. All considering, the limited reach of the trimedia at that time, the Guy and Pip supercoupling efforts had translated to the same amount of eco-cultural profits that AlDub has been enjoying at present, well, almost. Even for quite extent “loveteams” had become a sure-hit formula in the business of filmmaking in the Philippines with the creation of She-Nicko (Cruz and Sarmenta), Janno-Mane (Janno Gibbs and Manilyn Reynes), and right up to the controversial Claudine-Rico (Barretto and the deceased Rico Yan). Maybe because the internet has the super power to collate public opinions in real-time. In this time and age, info-TV now seemingly comes in second, and while they are on their toes, they would even collect information from whatever topic is much-discussed in the social media. The future is now. Less-roving. No more time-consuming going after the physical-world of sources.

Meanwhile, in the competing film and TV Network, there is the welcoming existence and unquestionably just as successful pairing of JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) and the much precedent KathNiel (Kahtryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla). Judging by the strings of successful film and TV projects of these two pairs, they are at least to remain more than what is actually projected by the critics for AlDub. Is the AlDub Phenomenon not more than a Macarena Effect? Is it just a public hysteria that may soon fizzle after a year or so? One thing is for sure though, AlDub will be forever etched in the shrine of pop culture memories. Just like the mentioned silly but extremely addictive dance craze in the 1990s.

Alden Richards is an underrated actor.  We first noticed his range in Yam Laranas’ The Road (2011). On top of that, he is an accomplished singer and dancer. And without a doubt, Richards has the movie star appeal that only needs to be pushed further given the heft of his talents.  On the other hand, Maine Mendoza is seemingly a bombastic kind of comedienne who can easily be mounted with more original materials – in which she could easily bank on her instant superstardom. She’s cute but she does not possess the inherent movie queen appeal, and yet this superficial quality is nevertheless an important element in the visual business. The solid fact remains that even plain-faced Judy Ann Santos was able to hurdle successfully by the immensity of her talent and mass appeal . Whether the AlDub or the KalyeSerye portion becomes not more than what little time and material it can stretch so far, Richards and Mendoza can now maximize their fames with really good servings of talents as believed they can offer on a much bigger and enduring table.

(Photo Credits to AlDub The Most Updated Page)


We Survived The Plague: 34 Years of ‘Gay Cancer’ in Cinema

Groping In the Dark

Between 1984 and 1985, not much had been known about the “gay cancer” – such poverty of information even trumped the verity that the disease had already affected individuals in other countries regardless of sexual orientations. When it was first widely published in 1981, instead of directly confronting it as a pandemic, the Reagan government, the media, and the medical community downplayed it to the core. Exasperated, Larry Kramer, a social provocateur and accomplished author in his own right, independently published editorials both forewarning the government and the gay community of the downbeat effects of uninformed attitude towards the disease. He co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis while on the side engaging confrontational dialogues to start immediate medical research and funding. Failing short of his effort, the next logical step was to turn to the industry where he is identified – the theater.

While Kramer was going around everywhere, Leland Moss’ The AIDS Show became the first theatrical and media art piece about HIV/AIDS. Although it did not manage to get a proper off-Broadway run, it was able to score a PBS documentary in 1986.

Perhaps, the first fully dramatic media representation of HIV/AIDS was through the 1985 play As Is by William Hoffman, with a narrative that would later on be echoed by Jonathan Larson’s RENT (1995), arguably the most popular play on the subject.

Following closely (and finally), was the seminal and autobiographical play The Normal Heart by Kramer. It premiered in April 1985, off-Broadway, with actor Brad Davis originating the role of Ned Weeks. A few months later, Joel Grey would replace Davisafter he himself was diagnosed of HIV – a fact that he had concealed until 1991 in the last effort to continue working to support his family. Davis managed to finish a book and made public announcement about his condition. However, the cause of his death was intentional (and assisted) drug overdose. Davis received wide acclaims playing similarly tortured gay characters in Midnight Express (Parker, 1978, UK) and Querelle (Fassbinder, 1982, Germany/France). He would later on admit to being bisexual, notwithstanding the fact that he had been happily married. His only child was a birth-assigned male and now a transgender woman named Alexandra. His wife Susan continues to this day help combat the disease.

Pioneering Years

MAKING LOVE, Harry Hamlin, 1982, TM and Copyright (c)20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

The first Hollywood film to positively depict homosexuality was the 1982 film Making Love (dir. Arthur Hiller). While groundbreaking in its efforts, the film was criticized for being a sanitized gay romance directed towards the majority of its heterosexual audience, and thereby ultimately failing to mention AIDS. However, it would be exonerated in recent years, as the production noted that it started a year before the first known media report about the pandemic came out. Regardless of media buzz towards the film, it failed to recoup its 14 million budget. Both main actors attributed their lack of subsequent acting jobs to their role in the film. When extremely popular Hollywoodactor Rock Hudson died of (and outed by) AIDS in 1985, there were still no films dealing with the disease. Gay visibility was still seen as a marketing poison, much less the lethal infection identified with it, Hollywood continued to skip the pages.


This kind of hypocrisy infuriated Arthur Bressan Jr, a filmmaker previously attached to making gay pornographic videos and Pride documentaries. Bressan wrote Buddies in 5 days and shot it in 9 in time for its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February. When it had a US premiere in July and a limited release in September, it finally became the first film to deal with AIDS. Its main actor, Geoff Edholm, who played the dying patient, would be diagnosed of the same affliction after a year. Edholm, an accomplished theater actor, decided upon himself that the disease would not limit his art and therefore founded the PWA Theater Workshop, which featured non-professional PLWA actors in various theatrical performances on a rather humorous take on their own experiences. Elsom died in 1989. However, the film, which was only bankrolled by the same video company that produced Bressan’s novelty pieces, failed to attract mileage. Bressan would pass on of the same complications two years after the film’s release.

For years, the NBC-produced television movie “An Early Frost” had been considered “pioneering” on the subject. Even the virility of Vito Russo’s research failed to acknowledge that fact in his book and eventual documentary, “The Celluloid Closet.” It took Larry Flynt’s Film Threat magazine to unearth the truth about the matter, which would be further significantly mentioned in the offshoot and revised version of “The Lavender Screen.”

The Golden Years


William Charles Patrick Sherwood was a Julliard music dropout. He (probably) wrote 9 screenplays with only one actually produced. The film would be Steve Buscemi’s star-making vehicle. It turned out to be  Sherwood’s first and last, as he would also die of AIDS complications. The film was Parting Glances, which has been considered by some a masterpiece, gay, AIDS, or otherwise. Buscemi believes the film displays his best performance ever. He always makes it possible to attend retrospective screenings regardless of his schedules and whereabouts.

In 1990, Norman Rene’s “Longtime Companion” became the first widely-releasedHollywood film about HIV/AIDS. The film chronicles the lives of a group of friends inNew York before, during, and after the pandemic. The Beach Reunion scene is often regarded one of the most heart-rending moments in recent cinema. Rene would also succumb to AIDS years later. In 1994, Tom Hanks would win his first leading Oscar for portraying a lawyer fighting AIDS discrimination where he is the subject of the case. Before Hanks though, and way before Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Bruce Davison delivered an Oscar-nominated performance for Longtime Companion, the first ever. It is also of note that the first film to win an Academy Award is the documentary “Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt” (Epstein, 1989) – a moving portraits of people who are memorialized in the AIDS Quilt.

Academy Awards: Why do we STILL care?

For the pop culture obsessed, the Oscars is the worthy equivalent of a world cup or the Super Bowl, all things considered. For the diva worshipers, the Academy Awards was born the day dedicated voters wrote in Bette Davis’ name even if she had not been listed as one of the Best Actress nominees in 1935, prompting the AMPAS of the day to give in to this beautiful display of idiosyncrasy. Why an octogenarian awards show that celebrates the day when the film industry pats its own back is relevant is not one for mystery? Even so, what is actually more puzzling is the lack of recognition for Karen Black for Family Plot. The amount of time we actually spend to give the Oscars a damn is directly proportional to the number of hate, tirades, vitriol, and backstabbing we exhaust our energies with by all means entertainment. It’s all for show, and to all the amusement it sparks our plugs, a self-congratulatory gathering of self-important people is something to write home about.

In 1992, a would-be B-grade filmmaker and a lifelong frustrated actor by the name of Josh Becker wrote the cover story for then fledgling indie film bible, the Film Threat. It’s a special Oscars issue that gave Entertainment Weekly the shivers. In more points than one, Becker carefully analyzed the meaning behind the categories with the help of an undisclosed AMPAS official for references. Becker opined that for a film to win, it ought to be the most thematically important. It has to be at least commercially viable for re-release because everything is all about the money that the Oscar victory could generate in posterity. For Oscar winner Frank Capra, it’s the most important, yet the least inexpensive PR tool Hollywood has created for itself.

However, the point in all this that you will hopefully care enough to read is not the meaning that have all been, uncovered since 1992 but more of the effort to understand why the Oscars still matter to pundits and the observers of the human spectacle; and why studios and players are still actively coveting to have one. We have already pointed out one and probably the most important factor why the Academy Awards remain to be relevant and watched out for through the years. We have insinuated many times the smell of corruption and the destructive effects of bad political choices. But what we have never taken into account is why at the bottom of every one’s oceans, the Oscars continues to exude legacy and aspiration. The answer, simply put, the movies — however unreal — are important. Whatever it takes to create one that is better than before deserves our full and undivided attention. Once a filmmaker continues to dream, he takes us away with him.

So dream, if you must, to get one, Tom Cruise. Relinquish all your attractive qualities and hit the bottle, or be gay-for-pay (Sandford, Film Threat, 1992); survive the holocaust, or come home from the war disturbed and stare at TV for hours; chew the scenery playing a real-life person (Saia, The Leftist Review, 2011); if you are a foreigner — take some American sensibilities and recreate the story from Colorado to expose your own country’s longstanding battle against corruption and opiates of religion. Whatever images of human condition that can be translated on screen for as long as it speaks with universality and baits a golden statuette, please do. Revere the Oscars. Tell your publicists to go the extra mile and pay everyone off to generate buzz.

At the end of the day, we all want to see a good movie. Save “the best” for the Olympics because as gauge and barometers go, the arts can’t be measured by the awards they receive. As George Roy Hill once said, let time be the final judge of merit regardless what contemporary awards say. William Friedkin and The Exorcist proved that to be true. But not for the Oscar victory actually bestowed upon Hill and The Sting.

Whether you are an Oscarologist or a cardiologist who wishes not to be booked on Oscar week, the excitement is as hypertensive as the guy next to you who thinks every comment box on the internet is an invitation to be relevant with opinions as varied as “meh” and “duh.” Like the Oscars, we all have survived and nearly gotten destroyed, careers or otherwise, with the choices we make and the pop culture we declared to embrace. We booed and shooed and Harvey Weinstein continued to manipulate the awards game. Whatever role comes next for Jennifer Lawrence, she will emerge a victor for as long as she chooses to portray strong female characters that reject stereotypes. Because the Oscars told her she could have it. For as long as Julianne Moore, Glenn Close, and Amy Adams have dreams, whether they admit or not, they will strive harder even way past their goals and achievements. For as long as artists of color and foreign extraction are relegated to the sidelights, and worse, snubbed and ignored — the Oscars will be a socio-political platform encompassing cultural hemispheres and diversities, blunders and BS included.

Last year’s edition was held February 22nd and as far as progress, however uneven, went, two comedy films (Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel) both got recognized after 16 years. Forget for a while that this was the whitest Oscar ever. And quit debating for one minute that Civil Rights Movement culminated and ended with 12 Years A Slave. Josh Becker, in his Oscar article that I usually plagiarize give attributes to, he admitted that his personal interest in the Academy Awards actually stemmed from liking to win one. The idea of showing up behaved and polished for the event is self-congratulatory already. Because like the case for everyone else, struggling to matter is only secondary to struggling to survive — and to get recognized for that is a beautiful thing. It’s as forever as “Academy Award Nominee (or Winner) Steve Carell” and not even as blatantly corrosive as James Nielson can take that away.

(cross-published on MEDIUM)

SAG AWARDS 2016: Actors voting for diversity


Leonardo DiCaprio wins his first SAG award for Outstanding Male Actor. The last 11 winners in this category went on to win an Academy Award. Either he will destroy that feat or win his first and complete the dozen.

It’s also a night of diversity and #OscarsSoWhite can kiss Viola Davis’ Actor’s ass:



Here’s the COMPLETE WINNERS, thanks to Awards Circuit:

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES – Viola Davis in “How to Get Away with Murder”

Khavn Dela Cruz’s SIMULACRUM TREMENDUM is now one of the longest films in history

Clocking at 780 minutes or roughly 13 hours, Khavn Dela Cruz’s Simulacrum Tremendum (2016, Philippines) is now the 14th longest film in the history of experimental motion picture, or 17th overall (whether experimental or narrative feature). The film is a collection of 22 years worth  of camera recordings using various formats. Upping the ante on today’s International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) premiere, Dela Cruz, a classically trained pianist, will be playing nonstop for the entire exhibition.

Khavn’s Simulacrum Tremendum is at least 2 hours and 13 minutes longer than Lav Diaz’s longest running feature (Evolution of A Filipino Family, 2004).


” Thirteen hours is quite something, and in this case certainly not only for the viewer. Filmmaker-poet-composer Khavn will accompany the film on the piano for its entire duration. A very special show that will easily make theGuinness Book of Records as the longest musical film accompaniment ever.

The filmmaker is fairly young, otherwise you could say this extremely long film is Khavn’s life’s work. Because it is so long and the maker is Filipino, you might think he is following in the footsteps of Lav Diaz, but this is very different, more experimental, documentary-surrealistic cinema. A collection of images like Jonas Mekas also makes, although Manila is not New York.
Khavn started shooting this diary 22 years ago, and in the course of time he has made recordings with all sorts of cameras, from analogue video8 via mini-DV to iPhone. He does not present the recordings in chronological order, however.
Khavn is also a prize-winning poet: 36 poems have been incorporated in this flowing river of film, with at times wildly splashing words and rhythms. The soundtrack mainly consists of piano music played by the filmmaker himself. This thirteen-hour cinematographic and musical event marks programmer Gertjan Zuilhof’s farewell to the festival.” – IFFR



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