The ever growing popular ToFarm Film Festival now on it’s third year is slowly becoming recognized as an important stepping stone and medium of independent film representation by fast rising minor film productions.
All thanks to the passion and dedication of Dr. Milagros How, President and CEO of Universal Harvester, Inc. The film festival is the only advocacy-driven film in the country with film entries showcasing the lives, journeys, trials and triumphs of the Filipino farmer.
At the recent mini-presscon a week before the formal opening on September 12, the media met for the very first time some of the cast of the six full length entries.
The official SIX full length films are:
Mga Anak Ng Kamote
Some of our movie "idols" sharing their acting skills for the 3rd ToFarm Film Festival from September 12-18, 2018 in select cinemas.
“1957” - a period drama written and directed by Hubert Tibi. Set in the year that Pres. Ramon Magsaysay died. Farmers in Bicol oppressed by a selfish landowner are pinning their hopes on his supposed visit to their town so they can achieve genuine land reform, but we now all know what happened to Pres. Magsaysay on March 17, 1957.
Starring Richard Quan as a former Huk or rebel, Ronwaldo Martin as a corn farmer’s son, Lucio, and Menggie Cobarrubias as the greedy landowner, Don Pepe.
We met upclose character actor Richard Quan who leads the cast. According to Director Hubert, the film has a combination of Tagalog and Bicolano-dialect conversations. But thank God for translation. Looking forward to many kababayan Bicolanos watching this great film.
Actor Richard Quan never runs out of worthwhile film projects. Hopefully he gets more awards citations for his brilliant acting.
I wish writer/director Hubert many more indie films to come and who knows a collaborative mainstream movie projects as well? What do you think, direk?
Film Plot: Written, edited and directed by Keith Sicat (“Woman of the Ruins”), this is a futuristic sci-fi flick set at a time when farming has become outlawed in the Philippines because the soil has become toxic. People live under a biodome to protect them from a poisonous environment.
Starring Ina Feleo as a scientist who hunts down people living beyond the dome, Eppy Quizon as the Minister representing the authoritarian government, Elora Espano as Ina’s missing sister, plus Mon Confiado, Dido de La Paz, Kiko Matos, and Karl Medina.
It was a thrill seeing Epy Quizon again, together with Ina Feleo and good friend Kiko Matos, all very busy actors.
The concept of a sci-fi genre is also quite a curiosity out of the ordinary. In my chat with Director Keith Sicat, he is just grateful that his creation came through and that of with a good casting list as well. It has been his long-time dream of getting Epy Quizon who was to the hilt busy with a lot of projects including that of Goyo Ang Batang Heneral and many more.
"It's a great thing he had time," shares Direk Keith.
The ever pretty, sweet and at times fierce actress Ms Ina Feleo dishes out her action skills in this exciting sci-fi flick. Direk Laurice and Manong Johnny are so proud of you.
Featuring Bayang Barrios, Jeff Bringas and Waway Saway, the story is a Talaandig tribal in premise.
About a hesitant datu-presumptive and how he learns to rise up to be the leader of his people.
The film is written and directed by Julienne Ilagan.
Although writer/director and her cast were not present during the presscon, Kauyagan (Way of Life) is a very much must-see film headed by THE Bayang Barrios who has an ongoing musical play Balag at Angud at the CCP.
Mga Anak ng Kamote” - Written by John Carlo Pacala and directed by Carlo Enciso Catu (“Kung Paano Hihintay ang Dapithapon” that won best picture in Cinemalaya”)
Another futuristic entry set in 2048, the sweet potato or kamote has become a prohibited food through the Kamote Planting Regulation Act. Planting or selling it is part of the campaign against illegal drugs.
Katrina Halili plays a woman who lives in the mountains and is forced to go down to the city to look for her missing husband, Alex Medina, who’s been accused for selling illegal kamote. This becomes a journey of self discovery for her, and she’s aided by friends like Kiko Matos and Carl Guevarra.
The busy Katrina Halili and Kiko Matos represented the cast.
We see the very good actress Katrina on television everyday via The Stepdaughters where she plays a very effective kontravida. And how could she say "No" to another passion project from the winning tandem of writer John Carlo Pacala and director Carlo Enciso Catu who are fresh from winning awards from Cinemalaya 2018?
You have really gone a long, long way Katrina from your Starstruck days. I also wish you more challenging projects ahead and hopefully acting awards because you act and perform from the heart out.
Also happy for my good friend, character Kiko. For such a short time, he has proven and displayed his keen acting chops for action and drama. Malayo pa ang mararating mo, kaibigan!
Manong Dolphy and siblings Eric and Rollie Quizon and the rest of the family have long been proud of you Epy. Mapa action, drama or comedy, lagi kang swak! Thank you for sharing your brilliant acting skills to many more actors in the industry. You are an epitome of what a true actor should and must be.
A black comedy written and directed by Roman Perez Jr. Teacher Sol (played by Gilleth Sandico) dies suddenly, but she cannot be laid to rest due to lack of funds. She has no relatives who will take care of her wake and funeral. But she is well loved by the community for teaching scientific farming methods, so they all help out to put her to her final resting place.
This also stars Pokwang, Joey Marquez, Jelson Bay and child actor JM Salvado.
In my quick chat with writer/director Roman, I commended him for completing the film on time. Sol Searching was also one of the first to post its teasers and trailer alongside another co-entry, Alimuom.
"Na-challenge din kami dahil sa mga pag-ulan at habagat when we were shooting this. Good thing may mga nearby Metro Manila locations din kami, medyo madali," recalls direk Roman.
Dear Juan Miguel aka JM....my wish is for you is to continue learning and honing your gift of acting. Never grow tired of acquiring the skills from your mentors and teachers in the arts school including the lessons you can learn from fellow actors and actresses alike. Proud ako sa mga awards na natanggap at matatanggap mo pa. Just remain humble and grateful and sigurado malayo pa ang mararating mo.
Written by Charlson Ong based on the classic short story of Sinai Hamada, directed by Ong with Lito Casaje. A period drama set in the 1920s about Tanabata, a Japanese immigrant farmer in La Trinidad, Benguet, who falls in love with a native maiden, Fasang, and marries her. They beget a son but Fasang cheats on him and elopes with a distant cousin, Okdo. He loses his will to live and Okdo eventually leaves Fasang. Will there be a happy ending for them?
Starring Japanese actor Miyuki Kamimura as Tabanata, Maribeth Fanglayan as Fasang, Kurt Alalag as Okdo.
According to writer/director Charlson Ong, it was a real challenge shooting the film up in the highlands of Benguet province. Especially for his actors like newcomer actress Maribeth Fanglayan who had to endure walking on barefoot on the mud/soil/rocky terrains.
Maribeth shared that this is her debut film. "It was my friend who was interested in auditioning and I was just her companion then." But as fate would have it, the "companion" bagged the role.
She has acting and theater background and is very excited to see the final outcome of their very mysterious film.
Let us continue to support and watch quality Filipino indie films. I believe that ToFarm Film Festival is here to stay. Many thanks to the untiring efforts of Dr Milagros O. How and Ms. Bibeth Orteza with Director Joey Romero and to the hardworking staff of TFF headed by Mr Sonny Guingab.
See you at the ciinemas from September 12-18, 2018
Trinoma, Gateway, Greenbelt 1,
SM Megamall, Manila
Gaisano Mall, Davao
Ayala Mall Legazpi, Bicol
**Many thanks for having us, TOFARM Film Fest Team and Kuya Mell T. Navarro.