April 15, 2024

The Montañosa Film Festival (MFF) kicked off this year with the announcement of finalists for its fourth season. 

The launch, which bannered the theme, “Building bridges beyond boundaries, unveiled the schedule of activities from March 10 to 24.

The 24 finalists who underwent mentoring by experts in the film industry for almost one year, were also been named.

The finalists are distributed in three categories: documentary, narrative, and mobile.

Event Director and lead organizer Raymond Sakiwat said the finalists were selected based on their willingness and commitment demonstrated during the pitching process.

Finalists in the documentary category are “Ino”by Ranniel Semana from Isabela, “Sino’t Saan” by AC Molera from Cavite, “My Boy Superman” by Jonathan Jurilla from Negros Occidental, “Dolor” by Josh Lomahan, “Tuhon” by Charley Sta. Maria from Quezon City, “Sketsa na Dagupan” by Charlmagne Christian Ramoso from Pangasinan, “Siete” by Leonard Ian Billones from Iloilo City, and “Zanjera”by Romel Pascua from Ilocos Norte.

Finalists in the narrative category are, “Mahirap ang Makinarya Banal ang Kita” by Florence Anne Taiño from Bulacan, “Time Out” by Jadrien Morales from Parañaque, “Sinanbituwon” by Katherine Nobleza from Baguio City, “Hosanna ”by Kent Cadungog from Quezon City, “Transients” by Kyla Romero from Cavite, and “Wata a Marawi” by Ram Esteban Estael from Agusan del Sur.

Finalists in the mobile category are, “Your Whisper is What I Miss” by Daniel Sanchez from Las Piñas City, “Kahon” by Donetha Merka from Davao, “Lingling-o” by Huey Javier from Baguio City, “Kabunian’s Gong” by Iaego Villanueva from Baguio City, “Time Before Kevin” by Raine Gado from Cavite, “Old World” by Roland Cartagena from Caloocan, Manila, “Sabi ng Nanay Ko, Masama ang Tsismis” by Seth Dela Llana from Zambales, and “Manwingi” by Yviane Cacay from Baguio City.

For the documentary category, the mentors were, Ditsi Carolino, a renowned documentary filmmaker known for her focus on human rights issues, whose films have earned critical acclaim, international awards, and have been broadcast by major networks like the BBC and Al Jazeera; Jet Leyco, a filmmaker, documentarist, and educator, whose works have been showcased in numerous local and international film festivals across Europe, America, Australia, and Asia, and Nico Hernandez, a filmmaker and passionate educator, whose diverse directorial portfolio spans documentaries, TV programs, music videos, commercials, and short films.

For the narrative category, the mentors comprise Harlene Bautista, a former child star turned entrepreneur, film and television actress, and film producer, Jade Castro, a respected film director, screenwriter, and producer, known for his acclaimed work “Endo,” which he both wrote and directed, and Paolo Villaluna, an esteemed filmmaker recognized with Urian awards, whose films have graced major international film festivals such as Montreal and Busan.

In the mobile category, the mentors include Arvin Belarmino, an independent director and filmmaker whose short film “Nakaw” was shortlisted for the Oscar Qualifying Brussels Short Film Festival, Anjanmar Rebeta, a photographer and filmmaker, honored with the “Harvest of Honors” Award for Cinema by the National Commission for Culture and Arts, and Tristan Cua, a pioneering figure in mobile filmmaking in the Philippines, and Mentorship Director Emmanuel “Ibonman” Dela Cruz, a versatile creative personality with extensive experience in the film, television, and theater industries.

The jury for the 2024 MFF includes Pepe Diokno, a renowned director acclaimed for his work “GomBurZa”; Ryan Cayabyab, a distinguished Filipino composer and musician; Joyce Bernal, a highly acclaimed television director and producer; film and TV director Zig Dulay, known for his expertise in screenwriting, editing, and directing; actor Dingdong Dantes, and Kidlat Tahimik, who will present the Kapwa Award.

The jury selection process was overseen by Dela Cruz. They also sought representation from the music industry, an actor, and individuals with experience in both documentary and mainstream filmmaking.

The finalists will be granted seed funding, with P40,000 for the documentary category; P50,000 for the narrative category; and P10,000 for the mobile category.

Awards night is on March 24. – Krizia Mae Pagusan