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13th Cinemalaya Opening Night Speech: RIPPLE IN THE POND by Laurice Guillen

Ladies and gentlemen, friends of Cinemalaya,
 
It is August once again, the peak of the Southwest Monsoon and unpredictable weather. Traditionally, international film distributors don’t release their blockbusters on this month.  It’s off-season too for Philippine travel. 
 
But for us who look forward to Cinemalaya, this is OUR season -- for that matter, this is the best thing about this season, and we are here come rain or shine.  We come to watch the premiere of the finalists announced this time last year. To those who were here then, and to the new friends of Cinemalaya now, welcome to the 13th edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival!  It feels good to be here with you all!
 
As this season approached, people have asked me what they can expect of the Cinemalaya films this year.  To which I answered, I don’t know.  Frankly, I don’t expect.  I have learned not to.  This is not out of reluctance to endorse the films.  It is simply that every year is a slightly different harvest, that neither the filmmaker nor the organizers fully recognize until they experience the films in the company of others.  We believe there is an audience for every story.
 
For the organizers of Cinemalaya, each previous year’s output has brought us to look at the bigger picture; and part of our own growth has seen us steering towards an open climate in which the diversity of stories and talents become the greatest asset of films of every type.
 
What is the Cinemalaya film? Or at the very least, what do we expect from a Cinemalaya film?
 
The larger part of the competition process has been to select films that promise even in the littlest way a new perspective to the human condition, a unique voice still unheard, a space for people still unseen. 
 
We expect films that will tell their stories from a place of truth, so that the work reflects life itself; films that tell their stories with artistic integrity, so that they reveal the filmmakers’ true spirit.
 
We look at how they put their idea into film and see it through till it’s finished, producing the best with the available resources and under their present circumstance.We look at how they handle their subject with freedom, while keeping their own humanity intact.  We look at their creative choices, the risks they take, the irreverence with which they deal with traditional concepts in order to break the frontiers of form. We have to constantly search ways in which film language can keep abreast with the changes in the environment and in society which impact on our own life. 
 
I guess you could say that this is what we should expectto see when we watch the finished films at the festival. Our shared viewing experience will be the richer for it; and our conversations and discussions over coffee will be all the more stimulating, relevant, productive and enlightening.
 
To the Cinemalaya filmmakers, congratulations!  May your little film create a ripple in the pond in this festival, and may your spirit carry it across our country and to other shores!
 
LAURICE GUILLEN
August 4, 2017

CinemalayaCultural Center of the PhilippinesEcolink Inverstments, Inc.FDCP