Lukas the Strange & Big Boy among top films of 2013

Senses of Cinema 2013 Poll

Big Boy wins Best First Film

Big Boy (dir. Shireen Seno) tied for Best First Film with Avanti Popolo (dir. Michael Wahrmann, Brazil) at the Festival de Cine Lima Independiente, held 14-23 June 2013 in Lima, Perú.

Remarks (translated from Spanish) from the International Critics’ Jury, composed of Aaron Cutler (Brazil), Wai Ho (China), Bee Thiam Tan (Singapore) and José Tsang (Perú):

“With respect to the Prize for Best First Feature Film, the jury has decided to award a prize ex aequo [equally] to two films. The first of them is Big Boy, directed by the Filipina Shireen Seno, which we distinguish for its delicate and exciting images registered in Super 8, its warm soundtrack stirring in counterpoint to the painful and uncertain process of adolescent growth, and its subtle political and social readings suggested by a postcolonial context in which the Philippines has recently been proclaimed a new republic. In this way, the intentions of two parents to make one of their children grow as much as possible through using diverse methods, not all of them scientific—including the concocting of a cod-liver potion—serves as a metaphor for a new nation seeking to expand its economic, political and social horizons, with few certainties.”

Meanwhile, John Torres’ Lukas the Strange picked up the Special Jury Prize in the International Competition section, of which Apichatpong Weerasethakul was Jury head.

Complete list of prizes:

Competencia Internacional: Premio a la Mejor Película para P3ND3JO5, de Raúl Perrone.

Competencia Internacional: Mención del Jurado para LUKAS THE STRANGE, de John Torres (Filipinas) y para EL ESPACIO ENTRE LAS COSAS, de Raúl del Busto (Perú).

Competencia Nacional: Premio a la Mejor Película Peruana para LA MAR BRAVA, de Bryan Rodríguez.

Competencia Nacional: Mención del Jurado para CRONOLOGÍA DEL OLVIDO, de Renzo Alva.

Premio a la Mejor Ópera Prima: ex aequo AVANTI POPOLO, de Michael Wahrmann (Brasil) + BIG BOY, de Shireen Seno (Filipinas).

Premio de la Crítica Internacional: VIKINGLAND, de Xurxo Chirro (España)

Premio Activismo y Derechos Humanos: PUBLIC HEARING, de James N. Kienitz (EEUU)

Premio APRECI a Mejor Película Peruana: CABLE A TIERRA, de Karina Cáceres.

Premio Cine de Guerrilla: ex aequo PEOPLE´S PARK, de J.P.Sniadecki y Libbie D. Cohn (EEUU) + UN MITO ANTROPOLOGICO TELEVISIVO, de Maria Helene Bertino, Dario Castelli y Alessandro Gagliardo (ITALIA).

Nervous Translation at Cinemart 2014

A year after premiering her first feature at IFFR, Los Otros will be back in Rotterdam to present Shireen Seno’s new film project, Nervous Translation, which was selected for Cinemart 2014.

This comes after being invited to Venice’s Biennale College Cinema, receiving a grant for Script & Project Development from Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund, and participating in the IFP’s No Borders International Co-Production Market 2013.

Out of a total of 25 projects, Nervous Translation is one of only three projects from Asia in this year’s Cinemart.

Complete Cinemart selection 2014

More on Nervous Translation

John Torres retrospective at Viennale

A complete retrospective of John Torres’ films including four features and all his shorts to date, was shown at the 2013 Viennale from 23 October – November 5.

“He is a poet among Filipino filmmakers, who work outside the commercial film industry. John Torres has developed an idiosyncratic cinematic syntax, in which on- or off-screen spoken texts, including poetry of local authors are of great importance. The imagery and narrative structure of his feature films is not prosaic, but associative and fragmented.”

Complete programme

Ang Ninanais (Or, Refrains Happen Like Revolutions in a Song)

118 min, video, color, 2010
Dir. John Torres

Synopsis
She moves to meet him somewhere else. In her desire to be with the young man she sees in a dream, a girl tries to finish collecting debt from villagers on her final day in the town of Guimbal, Panay Island. But as she goes around town, she collects not just furniture and belongings but also dreams, myths, history, and memory spent with the villagers. She leaves. In the neighboring island of Negros, she is hired to play the child of an old maid. In crossing over, she is seen as many things. History writers say she is a revolutionary. Myth says she is an elemental. Other villagers say she is a kept maiden, hidden from the sun, being ripened to tell a love story for everyone to hear.

Director’s Statement
The film is a retelling of fragments of war during the American occupation; the Hinilawod, an epic told by the indigenous peoples of Panay in the Visayas; the villagers’ view of the elementals among them; and lines from the poetry of Eric Gamalinda and Joel Toledo. It is also a retelling in terms of process. Dialogue, shot in the Hiligaynon language, is not translated but used as a tonal guide and a tool for narration. Using unscripted scenes shot where the main character, Sarah, was asked to merely interact with the villagers, the filmmaker discards dialogue and draws meaning from peoples’ faces, voices, and actions, weaving a wholly different story through the use of subtitles and inter-titles.

Festivals / Screenings
World Premiere, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2010 (Netherlands)
Official Selection, Jeonju International Film Festival 2010 (S. Korea)
Official Selection, BAFICI Buenos Aires International Film Festival 2010 (Argentina)
Competitive Selection, Torino Film Festival 2010 (Italy)
Official Selection, FICUNAM Film Festival 2010 (Mexico City)
Competitive Selection, Era New Horizons Film Festival 2010 (Poland)
Official Selection, Isola Film Festival 2010 (Slovenia)
Official Selection, Descobrindo o Cinema Filipino 2010 (Brazil)
Official Selection, Festival de Cine Cero Latitud 2010 (Ecuador)
Official Selection, Corona Cork International Film Festival 2010 (Ireland)
Official Selection, Negotiating Home, History and Nation Film Screenings, Moving Image Gallery, Singapore Art Museum 2010
Official Selection, Curated program of the Australian Cinematheque, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art 2010
Official Selection, Asian Perspective, DMZ Korean International Documentary Festival 2011
Competitive Selection, NETPAC, Cinemalaya Film Festival 2010 (Philippines)
Official Selection, Cinemanila International Film Festival 2010 (Philippines)

Lukas Nino (Lukas the Strange)

82 min, 35mm, color, 2013
Dir. John Torres

A story of an awkward teenager coming to grips with his own initiation into manhood just when there is a movie shoot in their neighborhood. The story opens several nights before, when Lukas is told that he has a tikbalang (half-horse, half man) for a father. His father, Mang Basilio disappears in their life the next day. Lukas wonders whether he is a boy or a tikbalang.

There is a film shoot in the village. Everyone participates. Soon, they believe the story of the film. That there is a mystical river that lets them forget one memory that they choose. Lukas’ father resurfaces, and he is invited to play a role. At this time, very private footage of a woman emerges from the river.

The film is told by Lukas’ friend, Lorena, who is fascinated by this strange boy who thinks he is a tikbalang.

Reviews
“Torres’s Lukas nino rates as more marvelous than most, with its beautifully distressed imagery (shot on digital video and heavily treated 35 mm) and equally cryptic storytelling. The fragments of voice-over and text parse out details of a thirteen-year-old boy’s quest to discover the truth about his missing (and possibly half-equine) father amid the excitement caused by a film crew’s visit to his rural town. The result somehow synthesizes Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s pastoral mysticism, the dissembling narratives of Nicolás Pereda, and a brand of kino delirium that’s pure Guy Maddin.” – Jason Anderson, Artforum

“Suggestive, rather than linear, is one of the most talked about films in the world cinema scene in 2013″ – Antolin Prieto, from An Interview with John Torres

“truly liquid, with answers to mysteries being found underwater along with so much more” — Andrew Paterson

“Los elementos de una composición son libres, el director (John Torres) solo los guía y articula sin traicionar su espontaneidad, sin domesticarlos, sin robarles su extrañamiento. Que la imagen se diga improvisación en silencio, por más que con-viva con el sonido que se dice fabulación ilimitada.” – Sebastian Wiedemann, Notas por una estética del extrañamiento

“Película clásica y moderna, liviana y experimental, documental y ficción, artificial y creíble a la vez, se trata de una bienvenida rareza que presentó en su tramo final la sección VyG. Con elementos que remiten al cine de su compatriota Raya Martin, sobre todo en la forma en que introduce elementos de la tradición (y las leyendas populares) de su país en un relato que en otros momentos de bien vanguardista y contemporáneo, Torres combina con muchos más aciertos que tropiezos elementos que van desde el ingreso de un adolescente al universo adulto hasta el cine dentro del cine, pasando por un bello retrato de la comunidad rural. Un patchwork visual para una película que explora sin prejuicios y con mucha creatividad nuevos caminos para el cine.” – Diego Batlle, Otros Cines

“Mais do que a figura de Bernal, porém, é toda uma ideia de cinema filipino muito anterior a de nomes que hoje conseguem espaço no circuito de festivais, como Lav Diaz e Raya Martin, que Lukas, o Estranhoretoma, o mesmo cinema filipino que representa a memória audiovisual da ditadura de Ferdinando Marcos que tanto assombra os seus exemplares contemporâneos.  Se cineastas como Torres partem com frequência da constatação de uma crise de representação na história filipina, Lukas, o Estranho parte justamente para encontrar os traços que resistem nesta representação, no processo de aprendizado do garoto Lukas. Em todo seu sentimento de descoberta, o filme encontra também todo um aprendizado pelo cinema e do cinema.” – Filipe Furtado, Cinética

Interviews
Q&A with Giovanni Marchini Camia, BOMBlog, Dec 4, 2013

Awards
Special Jury Prize, Festival de Cine Lima Independiente (Perú) 2013

Festivals / Screenings
World Premiere, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2013 (Netherlands)
Avant Garde & Genre Competition, Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (Argentina)
Official Selection, Images Film Festival (Toronto)
Special Exhibition, “A Guest + A Host = A Host,” Musee du Quai Branly (Paris)
Official Selection, Jeonju International Film Festival (S. Korea)
Official Selection, Edinburgh International Film Festival (UK)
International Competition, Festival de Cine Lima Independiente (Perú)
Official Selection, 13th T-Mobile New Horizons Film Festival (Wroclaw, Poland)
International Competition, Valdivia International Film Festival (Chile)
Official Selection, Sao Paolo International Film Festival (Brazil)
Official Selection, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival (Czech Republic)
Official Selection, Vienna International Film Festival
Official Selection, Cork International Film Festival (Ireland)

Website

Supported by the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Quezon City Film Commission, and generous crowdfunders

Todo Todo Teros

102 min, video, color, 2006
Dir. John Torres

Awards
Winner, Best Editing, 30th Gawad Urian (Film Critics of the Philippines)
Nominated, Best Screenplay, Best Direction, Best Picture, 30th Gawad Urian (Film Critics of the Philippines)
Winner, Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema, Vancouver International Film Festival 2006
Winner, NETPAC/FIPRESCI Critics Prize, 19th Singapore International Film Festival 2006
Jury Special Mention, Jeonju International Film Festival 2006
Jury Special Mention, Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival 2006

Festivals / Screenings
Competitive Selection, Vancouver International Film Festival 2006
Competitive Selection, 19th Singapore International Film Festival 2006
Competitive Selection, Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival 2006
Official Selection, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2007
Official Selection, 42a Mostra Internazionale del Nuovo Cinema Pesaro
Official Selection, 8th Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian Cinema
Official Selection, Brisbane International Film Festival 2006
Official Selection, Chennai International Film Festival 2006
Official Selection, Seoul Film Festival 2006
Competitive Selection, Sopot Film Festival 2006 (Poland)
Competitive Selection, Cinefest: International Festival of Young Filmmakers 2008 (Hungary)
Official Selection, Berlin Asia-Pacific Film Festival 2006
Official Selection, 8th Cinemanila International Film Festival
Official Selection, VC Filmfest: The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2007
Official Selection, Urban Nomad Film Festival 2007 (Taiwan)
Official Selection, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival 2007
Official Selection, Asian Hotshots Film Festival 2008
Official Selection, Mexico City International Film Festival 2008
Official Selection, Thessaloniki International Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, Descobrindo o Cinema Filipino 2010 (Brazil)
Official Selection, 21st Century Asian Cinema Now, Cinematheque Seoul Art Cinema 2010

Years When I Was A Child Outside

Taon Noong Ako’y Anak Sa Labas
105 min, video, color, 2008
Dir. John Torres

Awards
Jury Special Mention, Bangkok International Film Festival 2008
Grand Jury Prize, Cinemanila International Film Festival 2007

Festivals / Screenings
Premiered in Tiger competition, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2008

Competitive Selection, Southeast Asian Competition, Bangkok International Film Festival 2008
Official Selection, Forum Expanded, Berlin International Film Festival 2008
Official Selection, Vancouver International Film Festival 2008
Competitive Selection, Jeonju International Film Festival 2008
Competitive Selection, Mexico City International Film Festival 2008
Competitive Selection, Southeast Asian Features, Bangkok International Film Festival 2008
Official Selection, Singapore International Film Festival 2008
Official Selection, Osianʼs Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema 2008
Official Selection, Jogja Asian Film Festival 2008 (Indonesia)
Official Selection, International Film Festival of India 2009
Official Selection, Indie 2008 – Mostra de Cinema Mundial (Brazil)
Official Selection, Los Angeles Asian Pacifi c Film Festival 2008
Official Selection, Festival Internacional de Cinema Documental de Lisboa 2008 (Portugal)
Official Selection, Corona Cork Film Festival 2008
Competitive Selection, Cinemanila International Film Festival 2007 (Work-in-progress)

Biennale College – Cinema

Shireen Seno, whose debut feature Big Boy (2012) premiered in IFFR 2013, is now writing her second project, Nervous Translation, about an extremely shy girl who believes there is a pen that can translate the thoughts and feelings of nervous people.

Her project was one of 15 selected entries to the first Biennale College – Cinema of the Venice International Film Festival, which was held early January.

Seno hopes to start shooting in mid-2014.