Cinemalaya Sails to New Direction, Creates Film Lab

The winds of change have caught the sails of the Cinemalaya’s balanghai and take the film festival into a new direction.

Amid the social realities brought by the global health situation where existing protocols make it impossible for the 2020 and 2021 batch to complete their films on time, Cinemalaya re-thinks its direction and strategy to remain significant while continuing to fulfill its mission of discovering, encouraging, supporting, training and recognizing gifted Filipino independent filmmakers.

While Cinemalaya advocates artistic freedom and creative expression, it pushes filmmakers to break the mold, upskill their filmmaking processes and techniques, and experiment with new ways of storytelling.

For its 2023 edition, Cinemalaya introduces a new direction and further expands its cinematic boundaries through the Cinemalaya Film Lab, a three-month-long film-laboratory mentorship program happening on September to November 2021, conducted entirely online. This program is meant only for those who will make it as semifinalists to the festival.

The film lab adheres to the education values of the Cinemalaya Institute, bringing together resource persons from different aspects of filmmaking — from scriptwriting, directing, cinematography, performance, editing, production design, sound, music, production management to promotion strategies.

Cinemalaya also hopes to expand the Main Competition to include feature-length documentaries while encouraging filmmakers to focus on subject matters that capture the heart of the Filipinos.

Cinemalaya likewise encourage submissions that combine different genres (“multi-genres”) and even “multimedia” (live action with animation or purely animation).

At the same time, it intends to prioritize film concepts that are workable or manageable to produce.

To join the 2023 edition, interested participants must submit the following requirements:

  • duly accomplished 2023 Entry Form
  • the concept paper of the film project
  • a two-page storyline
  • resume of the proponent/s, two recent photos of the proponent/s, and
  • sample of a short film directed by the proponent/s (5 to 20-minute long in mp4 format)

The concept paper should contain the premise of the film the proponent wants to make, including the genre, the tagline, the key characters and their descriptions. The concept paper should provide the Selection Committee a clear idea of the movie you want to make.

From the submissions, the Selection Committee will select 30 proponents who will pitch their concept to the same Selection Committee. After deliberations, the committee will narrow it down to 20 semifinalists who will participate in the film lab.

From the 20 lab participants, the committee will choose the 10 finalists who will compete in the 2023 edition of Cinemalaya. The finalists will receive a seed production grant of P1million each, to be released in tranches.

A requirement for future Cinemalaya semifinalists, the film lab is likewise open to all the finalists of the festival from 2020 and 2021. Participation from this group is voluntary.

The lab participants will have to finish the various modules in Conceptualization, Screenwriting, and Polishing, The Directorial Vision, The Film as Seen: Camera and Design, The Rhythm of the Film, The Film as Heard: Music and Sound Mix and The Film as Product.

The Film Lab includes a Producers’ Market session which aims to provide opportunities for filmmakers to pitch their works to major mainstream, independent and varied platform producers, assist in finding financial backing for the project, help provide alternatives for the distribution of the film post-festival and help design the marketing strategy for the local and international sale of the film in various markets and platforms.

By the end of the film lab, the participants must submit a final script and production book.

Entries may be submitted online thru, or submit six (6) copies in a long brown envelope properly labeled with the proponent’s name, the title of the film, and contact details. The sheet containing the concept paper must not bear the name of the proponent.

Deadline for submission of concept papers will be at 6pm of June 11, 2021 (Friday). Send your entries to the Film, Broadcast and Media Arts Division of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.

For more information and details, contact the CCP Film, Broadcast, and New Media Division at 8832-1125 local 1704 and 1705 or email To get the latest updates, follow the CCP and Cinemalaya Facebook and social media accounts or visit and