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6 Filipino Indie Films to Get Excited About This 2017

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Everyone's pretty bummed by the four movies set to show at the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival. Just when we thought we’d crawled out of the woodwork with last year’s stellar screening, that new “40% commercial appeal” selection criteria rained on our parade. And if the recent announcement is anything to go by, we might as well say farewell to the so-called “renaissance” age of MMFF.

For those who are a little confused with MMFF’s selection process this year, it’s essentially been divided into two: the first selection that was announced in July only screened scripts and the second selection to be announced in November will screen actual full-length films. If afilm didn't make the cut just based on the script, they still have a shot at getting the full-length film screened again during the second round.

Here are the films we're hoping to see this December. But in case they don’t make it, we still might get a good look at them in the other film festivals scheduled this year. Here’s hoping.

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Buy Bust by Erik Matti

Co-authored by Matti’s wife Michiko Yamamoto, Buy Bust is an action-crime drama starring Anne Curtis and Fil-Am mixed martial artist Brandon Vera. Described by the director as a “zombie apocalypse without monsters,” Buy Bust features Filipino fighting styles.

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Ang Larawan by Loy Arcenas

The musical film adaptation of National Artist Nick Joaquin’s A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino follows the Marisigan sisters' struggles set in pre-World War II Intramuros. Exploring the conflict between the traditional and contemporary identity of the Filipino, the film stars Rachel Alejandro, Paolo Avelino, and Joanna Ampil.

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Smaller and Smaller Circles by Raya Martin

Based on the country’s first crime novel by F.H Batacan, the film adaptation brings to life the Palanca-winning story of two Jesuit priests investigating a series of murders in the slums of Manila. The film features Sid Lucero, Carla Humphries, and Nonie Buencamino in the lead roles.

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Deadma Walking by Julius Alfonso

A Palanca-winning screenplay, the film follows two gay best friends who embark on a hilarity-induced pursuit to fake one of their deaths. Described by screenwriter Eric Cabahug as “a celebration of the creativity, chutzpah, and can-do spirit of the Filipino in the face of trials and adversity,” the black comedy stars Edgar Allan Guzman and Joross Gamboa as the lead actors.

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Ang Sikreto ng Piso by Perry Escaño

Influenced by the one piso smuggling controversy of 2006, the satirical family-friendly comedy revolves around a man willing to make any sacrifice to ensure a better livelihood for his wife and ill son. The confirmed cast includes Paul Sy, Lou Veloso, and Andoy Ranay.

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Citizen Jake by Mike De Leon

Caught in “the world of citizen journalists, social media, and politics,” journalist Jake Herrera crusades against the underground corruption of the political elite—which his family may be a part of. Also starring Luis Alandy, Gabby Eigenmann, Max Collins, and Cherie Gil, Mike De Leon’s comeback film will mark the film debut of Atom Araullo as the titular character.

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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