Friday, November 4, 2011

"ASWANG! Filipino New Blood" program at FAFF 2011


Finally Australia has a film festival dedicated to genre film-making from the most exciting cinematic continent on the planet – Asia.

At a time where many Hollywood genre films are marred by predictability, lack of inspiration and play it ‘safe’ mentality, Asian genre films glow like electric beacons in the murky waters of mediocrity, reminding lovers of cinema that creativity and inspiration are not dead – not even close to it!

So, what is ‘genre’ you may wonder? Well we are looking at films in the classic Hollywood genre tradition – horror, sci-fi, fantasy and action as well as some that are unique to the region. In particular this year there will be a spotlight on contemporary Pinku Eiga (Japans famed erotic genre that has been going strong since the 1960′s).

Over four days in mid-November at Melbourne’s prolific Nova Cinema complex, Melbourne will buzz with some of the finest genre films from the Asia-Pacific region. Films from Japan, South Korea, China. Hong Kong and the Philippines will kick things off for 2011 and as the festival grows, we will reach out to other Asian territories, lighting up Australian screens with more Asian genre greatness.

Some of the worlds finest and most exciting cinematic talent will be showcased at the inaugural Fantastic Asia Film Festival – already confirmed are bold new titles from Korean maestro Na Hong-Jin, Japan’s L’enfant terrible Sion Sono as well as the mind twisting extremities of Japan’s Sushi Typhoon label and the best and bizarre of Yoshihiro Nishimura and Noburo Iguchi.

There will be guests, there will be events, there will be pure unadulterated Asian cinematic madness.

You are going to love the Fantastic Asia Film Festival! Click for the full program .

LinkASWANG! FILIPINO NEW BLOOD” Curated and introduced by Trash Video’s Andrew Leavold

Nova Cinema, 11.30am Sunday 13th November

Two new sensational horrors from the heart of the Filipino darkness!

For many Filipinos, the provinces are a place of innocence and dread, where “civilization” ends and the pre-Christian terrors begin: shape-shifting creatures, vengeful ghosts, and evil spirits or Aswangs, all living in the cracks between the light.

It’s no surprise that the Philippines has had such a wealthy tradition of horror cinema, and Rico Maria Ilarde and Richard Somes are its most dangerous talents. FAFF is proud to introduce to Australian audiences two genre specialists with an unwavering command of the genre’s conventions, but with such inimitable filmmaking styles, and bodies of work that are brutal, uncompromising, independent of spirit, and unshakably Filipino.


“Altar, [Ilarde's] latest masterpiece, is an ultra-compact exploration of pinoy spirituality done in the most concise horror film terms possible” Olaf Moller, Senses Of Cinema

A failed boxer takes a job renovating a house deep in the countryside. There’s no electricity, a chapel upstairs, and what looks like a religious altar in the cellar – but just under its painted exterior is something infinitely more sinister. Director Ilarde plays havoc with Catholic iconography in a taut, pared-back thriller of pagan rituals, defrocked priests, and the phantom of a young girl doomed to witness Altar’s unspeakable horrors.

RUNNING TIME 90 mins / 2007 / Philippines / Horror / Aspect TBA

Director: Rico Maria Ilarde (Z-Man, Dugo Ng Birhen: El Kapitan, Ang Babaeng Putik, Shake Rattle & Roll 2K5 [“Aquarium” segment], Beneath The Cogon, Villa Estrella)

Cast: Zanjoe Marudo, Nor Domingo, Dimples Romana, Dido De La Paz

DIRECTOR BIO: No other Filipino filmmaker has embraced the horror genre with such passion and talent as US-educated Rico Maria Ilarde. His early predilection for sex-and-blood shockers such as Dugo Ng Birhen: El Kapitan (“Blood Of The Virgin: The Captain”, 1999) and Ang Babaeng Putik (“Woman Of Mud, 2000) has evolved into an impressive body of work revealing an innate understanding of tension and trauma. Ilarde is currently in pre-production on his first international production.


“…an achievement, mixing traditional elements of horror and family melodrama, creating a picture that is so bizarre, it will be stuck to your mind months after seeing it.” Francis Cruz, Lessons From The School Of Inattention

Amor returns to her village with a mystery illness; a faith healer claims she is possessed by an evil spirit, and her family inadvertently aid her transformation into a bloodsucking, baby-eating aswang. The blackness of the provinces’ nights, and the sanctity of a Filipino family ripped asunder, provide the heady backdrops for Somes’ feature debut, a grimly realistic take on Filipino folklore that’s as gore-streaked as it is genuinely unsettling.

RUNNING TIME 98 mins / 2008 / Philippines / Horror / Aspect TBA

Director: Richard Somes (Shake Rattle & Roll 2K5 [“Ang Lihim Ng San Joaquin” segment], Ishmael)

Cast: Ronnie Lazaro, Tetchie Agbayani, Joel Torre, Aleera Montalla, Erik Matti

DIRECTOR BIO: Cavite-born Somes learnt his craft as production designer for fantasy and horror specialist Erik Matti (Pa-Siyam, Gagamboy) before graduating to the director’s chair. His critically acclaimed aswang segment for Regal Films’ horror anthology Shake Rattle And Roll 2K5 was followed by three features for Star Cinema’s independent wing, including Pinoy action tribute Ishmael (2010) and possession tale Corazon (currently in post-production).

Pinoy thrillers in Melbourne: Filipino filmmakers make it in Asian horror fest in Australia

by Bayani San Diego Jr, Philippine Daily Inquirer November 3, 2011

Pinoy thrillers are making their mark in Asian horror.

Two Filipino films have been included in the lineup of the Fantastic Asia Film Festival, to be held in Melbourne, Australia, from Nov. 10 to 13.

Film critic and scholar Andrew Leavold handpicked Rico Maria Ilarde’s “Altar” and Richard Somes’ “Yanggaw” to be part of the fest, alongside films from China, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

Leavold, who has been writing extensively about Philippine cinema, considers Ilarde and Somes as “two of the most fascinating talents working in genre films at present.”

He pointed out that the two filmmakers are “two radically different personalities, representing divergent filmmaking styles.”

Rico, said Leavold, “is steeped in pop culture and has that formal film-school-training style.” Somes, on the other hand, “approaches film in a more intuitive fashion.”

Leavold regards “Altar” and “Yanggaw” as “arguably their best films to date… possessing a deep understanding of the genre, while remaining unmistakably Filipino.”

He described “Altar,” which top-bills Zanjoe Marudo and Dimples Romana, as a “slow-burner… allowing the intricately plotted script to build tension. It says so much about the chasm between city and countryside, civilization and the dark unknown.”

He chose “Yanggaw,” which features Ronnie Lazaro and Tetchie Agbayani, because “it’s a jarring modern take on the aswang legend, equating demonic possession with a kind of addiction.”

Leavold has always been drawn to horror flicks. “Dark fantasy is an important cathartic process in working out our inner demons. Experiencing those fears safely and vicariously via horror films is like jumping out of a plane with a parachute.”

He related that the horror festival is a brainchild of Monster Pictures, a distribution and production company based in Melbourne.

“The fest is the first of its kind in Australia,” he noted. “Hopefully, it’ll be the first of many that will showcase the DVD label’s Asian acquisitions.”

The fest aims to introduce Australian audiences to “new films, new industries, even new countries, they may not have had the opportunity to experience” previously.

In a bizarre twist, Leavold discovered Philippine cinema because of a pint-sized Pinoy James Bond.

“When I was younger, I saw Weng Weng in ‘For Your Height Only,’” he recalled. “I instantly fell in love with him. From that moment on, I wanted to know all I could about the cinema and culture from where Weng Weng had sprung.”

He conceded: “Obsession is a strange creature. Now, I get to teach film in the Philippines and consider Manila my second home. All thanks to Weng Weng.”

Leavold hopes to release his book on Filipino genre filmmaking, “Bamboo Gods and Bionic Boys,” next year.

1 comment:

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