Yes, it is a bewilderment and a puzzlement not to see the figurehead of the TOFarm Film Festival 2018, Dr. Milagros Ong-How, who was conspicuously absent in the press conference wherein the announcement of its third year was heralded.
Adding another veil of mystery, for those who have been in attendance of the many media conferences mounted by Dr. How and her former media teams, this is the first press activity that transpired in a smaller venue, a vintage house transformed for adaptive reuse, a restaurant.
What a downer! No more hobnobbing and tete-a-tetes in a posh hotel. Members of the media in attendance were only a handful. Representatives from the major broadsheets, mouthpieces from cinema portals, and specimens from the motion picture blogging community were scarce.
Another observation, it used to be that all the cast members of films participating in the festival, arrive in full force, to launch their charm offensive and mingle with the media in attendance.
In the recent press conference, the only actors with recall present were Katrina Halili, Epi Quizon, Kiko Matos, and Richard Quan. All the rest, were newbies and unknowns.
Also, since this festival has already found its niche and supporters, how come the media con happened just two weeks prior to the festival date?
When the late film master Maryo delos Reyes was its festival director, the press conference occurred a month in advance, with publication visits afters and news about the festival sustained and strategically released and posted.
Thus, I cannot help but wonder, are all these not just indicators but signs that the TOFarm Film Festival 2018 is down-sizing?
Or, will they paint a different picture come opening night as it will be held in a luxurious venue with director Maryo’s classic and well-loved film Magnifico, serving as the film in exhibition and tribute. Films in competition are the following:
1957, a historical drama shot entirely in Iriga. Stars Ronwaldo Martin, Richard Quan, and Menggie Cobarrubias. Hubert Tibi, writes and directs.
Alimuom, a futuristic sci-fi flick by Keith Sicat. Its main premise, in the not so distant future, due to environmental degradation, planting is forbidden. In the Sicat film are Ina Feleo, Epy Quizon, Mon Confiado, Kiko Matos, Elora Espanoand Dido de la Paz.
Kauyagan , shot in Mindanao is part of this year’s film harvest. Julienne Ilagan directs with major cast Jefferson Bringas, Perry Dizon, and Bayang Barrios.
Another set in the future flick, Mga Anak ng Kamote with Katrina Halili, Alex Medina, Kiko Matos, Carl Guevara and Lui Manansala. Director is Carlo Enciso Catu, screenplay by John Carlo Pacala.
Pokwang and Joey Marquez headline Sol Sol Searching, the film entry predicted to create a box office stir. Roman Perez Jr. directs and writes.
Possible major award winner is the cross-cultural romance, Tanabata’s Wife. Its main story arc, an amateur Japanese man and his relationship with his farm worker, a farm maiden from the Bontoc cultural community,
All the films will be shown at SM Megamall, SM Manila, Robinson’s Galleria, Trinoma, Greenbelt 1, Gateway, Gaisano Davao, at Robinson’s Legaspi. Awards night will be on Sept. 15 a Makati Shangri-La. See you at the movies.
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