Movies & TV

QCinema International Film Festival Celebrates Ingenuity Withs Its Fascinating 2021 Lineup

It’s going hybrid in 2021 with theatrical screenings and online streaming.
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If you’ve always dreamed of attending international festivals, the QCinema International Film Festival, with its stellar collection of local and international award-winning films, is the event of the year for film buffs. The recent reopening of cinemas came at a perfect time for QCinema in its 9th year. While health and safety protocols in Gateway Cineplex 10 will be strictly followed, you can participate in the fanfare without encountering fellow moviegoers by streaming on KTX.ph. The wide array of movies is slated to be shown from November 26 to December 6, 2021, giving viewers ample time to catch the films they’re eyeing.

In a presscon, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte spoke of the importance of QCinema in the city, how it aims to someday be as monumental as international film festivals, and that reaching its 9th year is already an achievement. Not having QCinema this year was not an option, said Belmonte, as this event is one of Quezon City’s proudest projects and is highly anticipated by film buffs from QC and beyond. 

Despite QCinema still being far from its goal, it is considered to be the country’s #1 film festival. Director Ed Lejano and president of QC Film Foundation Manet Dayrit shared that the films featured in QCinema traveled a long way to get here, and that as far as expectations go, they’re elated to be able to hold this year in hybrid mode. As for next year’s QCinema plans, they aim to do better after this year’s run, which is a trial for the “new normal” way of enjoying film festivals. Even working with a limited budget affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, acquiring these award-winning films is a feat for QCinema and its avid supporters.

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Photo by QCinema.

If you’re opting to participate in this year’s QCinema 10-day event at the Gateway Cineplex, the opening film is Thai independent film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria starring Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton who portrays a Scottish woman noticing strange sounds on a trip to Colombia as she begins to think about their appearance. Memoria was awarded the Jury Prize at the 74th edition of the renowned Cannes Film Festival. It was also the Colombian entry for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards.

Photo by QCinema.
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Meanwhile, Joachim Trier’s dramedy, The Worst Person in the World is also a highly-anticipated film that earned Renate Reinsve the Best Actress award at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. It’s also the Norwegian entry to the 94th Academy Awards and is premiering first in Southeast Asia at the QCinema Festival. The Box by Lorenzo Vigas is also debuting here, the winner of Leoncino d'Oro Agiscuola Award at Venice Film Festival 2021. Vigas is also the first Latin American to win the Venice Film Festival’s highest award with, From Afar.

Photo by QCinema.

The Venice Film Festival 2021 Golden Lion winner, Audrey Diwan’s Happening marks its Asian premiere. It is based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Annie Ernaux. The Screen International category is made rich with films like Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by the Indonesian auteur Edwin, winner of the Golden Leopard at the Locordo Internation Film Festival 2021. If you’ve been following his work for a while, he’s also known for Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly and Postcards From the Zoo.

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Photo by QCinema.

With the help of The Japan Foundation, two films from the Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi are set to join the lineup and also debut in Southeast Asia: Berlinale 2021 Silver Bear Winner Wheel of Fortune And Fantasy, and Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival 2021, Drive My Car. Another highly-anticipated international film is in the Rainbow QC category, the prison drama Great Freedom by Sebastian Meise, winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival 2021, also the Austrian entry to the 94th Academy Awards. The New Horizons section features  Lamb by Valdimar Johannson, a chilling treat for horror films enthusiasts, and also the Cannes Un Certain Regard Prize of Originality winner and Icelandic entry for the 94th Academy Awards.

Photo by QCinema.
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The biopic ONODA: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle by Arthur Harari will revolve around a Japanese soldier who spent 30 years in the Philippine jungle, unaware that he’s been there too long that World War II is over. Completing the set of films is the John Lloyd Cruz starred Lav Diaz film, Historya ni Ha, one of the Filipino films that will be shown at the film festival. It premiered at the 65th BFI London Film Festival in the UK.

Photo by QCinema.

Select Patrick Alcedo films will also be screened at Gateway Cineplex for free like A Will To Dream, and the short films, Am I Being Selfish, and They Call Me Dax.

If you’re more comfortable with staying at home and watching the movies with your entire family, the Qcinema experience is brought to you by KTX online streaming. The online lineup does not disappoint with three impressive films taking center stage, among others: the coming-of-age My Salinger Year by Philippe Falardeau, also the Berlinale 2020 opening film. The Great Movement by Kiro Russo, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Horizon Awards and Bolivian entry to the 94th Academy Awards, and the crime drama film, Miracle by Bogdan George Apetri that had its world premiere in Venice.

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Photo by QCinema.
Photo by QCinema.

The New Horizons sections have award-winning films like Apples by Christos Nikuo, Magnetic Beats by Vincent Maël Cardona, El Planeta by Amalia Ulman, and Playground by Laura Wendel. Berlin Prize winner, The Girl and The Spider by sibling co-directors Ramon and Silvan Zürcher, is another film in the RainbowQC category. Netpac Reloaded has Baboy Halas by Bagane Fiola and Suburban Birds by Sheng Qiu. Other Asian voices are featured in the Indonesian coming-of-age, Yuni by Kamila Andini, and Islands by Martin Edralin, featuring a story about a Filipino immigrant in Canada.

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Photo by QCinema.
Photo by QCinema.

If you want to view more stories out of your time, Qcinema has two Shorts Programs. If you’ve been an avid fan of the #QCShorts for the past nine years, Qcinema now also has Asian shorts from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia.

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Photo by QCinema.

Brilliant visionaries from Southeast Asia grace the Asian Shorts lineup, all titles that have competed in international festivals. Two of the six short films to be shown are proudly Filipino-made: Filipiñana by Rafael Manuel is a Silver Bear awardee at this year’s Berlinale, and How to Die Young in Manila by Peterson Vargas, which became a 2020 official selection in Busan and stars young actors Elijah Canlas and Kokoy de Santos.

Photo by QCinema.
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Photo by QCinema.

The other Asian Shorts to watch out for are Dear to Me (2021) by Monica Vanesa Tedja, Live in Cloud - Cuckoo Land (2020) by V? Minh Ngh?a & Ph?m Hoàng Minh Thy, New Abnormal (2021) by Sorayos Papan, and Sunrise in My Mind (2020) by Danech San.

Photo by QCinema.

#QCShorts entries feature short films from up-and-coming filmmakers. This year, some of the winning entries will be shown at Gateway Cineplex 10. The shorts to look out for are Skylab by Chuck Escasa, Ampangabagat Nin Talakba Ha Likol by Maria Estela Paiso, i get so sad sometimes by Trishtan Perez, Henry by Kaj Palanca, MIGHTY ROBO V by Miko Livelo and Mihk Vergara, and City of Flowers by Xeph Suarez.

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All of these #QCShorts received production grants from QCinema. The shorts will be available at the Gateway Cineplex 10 and KTX online streaming. If you’re looking for your stress reliever in the next few weeks, allow yourself to be transported to different worlds through QCinema’s film lineup this year. It’s the sense of normalcy that we’ve been waiting for, as well as an interesting way to learn about filmmaking in the pandemic.

Cinemas in Quezon City are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity, and mostly fully-vaccinated individuals are accepted. Food and drinks are not allowed in theaters and face masks are required to stay on during the screening as per DTI’s health protocols. For more information, seat reservations, and complete film lineups, you may check out QCinema on their social media or the KTX.ph website.

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