Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bikolano film An Kubo sa Kawayanan wins big at World Premieres Filmfest

L-R: Ang Kubo sa Kawayanan go up the stage to receive their Best Picture win. Roger Garcia and Hannah Lee, festival jurors, Alemberg Ang, producer; Oscar Nunez, production manager; Fean Quizon, line producer; Alvin Yapan, director; Best Actress Mercedes Cabral, RK Bagatsing, actor; and Best Cinematorgrapher Ronald Rebutica.

An Kubo Sa Kawayanan, a Bikolano film about a dressmaker who lives alone in a hut beside a river, won four awards at the World Premieres Film Festival Philippines now ongoing until July 7 at selected SM Cinemas. The film is among the eight films featured in the Filipino New Cinema section where it won Best Picture, Best Actress (for Mercedes Cabral), Best Cinematography (for Ronald Rebutica) and Best Editing (for Benjamin Tolentino).

An Kubo sa Kawayanan (The House By the Bamboo Grove) is the seventh collaboration between writer-director Alvin Yapan and producer Alemberg Ang whose previous credits include The Rapture of Fe (Best Digital Film, 33rd Cairo International Film Festival),  Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (Best Film, 35th Gawad Urian), Debosyon and Mga Anino ng Kahapon (Special Jury Prize, New Wave section of the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival).

Their newest project stars Mercedes Cabral, RK Bagatsing and Marc Felix. It is about Michelle (Mercedes) who lives in her own special world. Everyone is trying to convince her to abandon her house by the bamboo grove: her boyfriend (Marc) who wants to work abroad, a neighbor trying to make ends meet as a teacher, and a filmmaker (RK) who is working on a documentary about Michelle’s skill as a calado embroiderer.

The film is shot entirely on location in scenic Barangay Salvacion, Baao, Camarines Sur which used to have a vibrant calado embroidery industry. Baao now has only one lady who does the traditional style of embroidery and her plight provides the background of the story.

Director Alvin expounds on his latest work, declaring, “It is an intimate tale of how Michelle’s house, along with things around her: a river stone, a June beetle, and a can of sardines would help her preserve the ecology of joy and peace she nurtures by the bamboo grove. In her world, everything is interconnected and even the smallest of things has a story to tell.” He describes An Kubo sa Kawayanan as “an unconventional love story” and a “meditation on the virtue of staying at a time of migration, of permanence in a land of cultural erosion.”

The film premiered last June 25 to a full house at the SM Cinema in North Edsa. Viewers were mesmerized by the lovely setting, the great performances and the exceptional story.  Soon, those watched An Kubo… were sharing their experience with friends and talking about it on social media.

Dr. Leo Garcia, former dean of the Ateneo de Manila University expressed right after the premiere, “It begs the audience to keep still and listen to the things around them and…  and if they listen long enough these things will ‘speak’ to them.”

Director and actor Dennis Marasigan praised the film when he said, “what it (the film) has really done is to take a literary premise and turn it into something very palpable and meta real. It may even turn out to be a life-chaning, even cathartic experience.”

Singer-turned-filmmaker Jeffrey Hidalgo concluded, “An Kubo sa Kawayanan was amazing! My fave film so far of the Alvin Yapan-Alemberg Ang director-producer tandem. Don’t miss it!”

The dialogue An Kubo sa Kawayanan is in Bikol and Tagalog, with English subtitles. Catch it at the following dates and SM cinemas: July 5, Sunday, 11 am at SM South Mall Cinema 5; July 6, Monday, 7 pm at SM North Edsa Cinema 2, and July 7, Tuesday, 7 pm at SM Megamall Cinema 6.

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