The 10 Best Filipino Independent Films of 2009 according to the YFMP

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The 10 Best Filipino Independent Films of 2009

The Young Filmmakers of the Philippines (YFMP), a group of young filmmakers from different colleges and universities names the 10 best Filipino independent films for 2009. Our criteria for selecting the best films are the quality of the screenplay and the subject matter. We look for something new. The script should be somewhat unconventional and unpredictable. The film depicts Filipino historical and/or cultural values and exemplified artistry, creativity, technical excellence, innovativeness and thematic values.
Also acknowledged were Filipino independent Filmmakers through hard work and dedication filmmakers have proven that this country, which was once a filmic cul-de-sac, when given the right opportunity, now produces some of the world's finest films, responsive to the genuine needs and aspirations of its people.

YFMP announced the 10 Best Filipino Independent Films of 2009 (in alphabetical order)

In Alphabetical Order:


1.100 (2008)

Cast: Mylene Dizon, Eugene Domingo,Tessie Thomas,Ryan Eigenmann & Tj Trinidad

Director: Chris Martinez

Screenplay: Chris Martinez

Cinematography: Larry Manda

Music: Ricci Chan & Brian Cua

Film Editor: Ike Veneracion

Production Design: Aby Rivera


100 chronicles the last three months of a cancer stricken woman who has a list of things to do before she dies. Her list of tasks, mostly closures and practical undertakings, expands to the worldly and the spiritual as people close to her share her last days. The film examines the betrayal of the body, celebrates the senses and contemplates the end of life and how to live it.


Cast: Coke Bolipata, Julian Duque, Ricky Davao, Meryll Soriano &

Director: Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil

Screenplay: Froi Medina & Rody Vera

Cinematography: Nap Jamir

Music: Jourdann Petalver

Film Editor: Orlean Tan

Production Design: Bianca Gonzales Dadivas

Art Direction: Ching Danseco


Boses (Voices) is the story of a musician named Ariel who offers violin lessons to a child of the slums. Through the violin, the abused child Onyok is able to get back his voice from a mute, desensitized existence. A violin teacher and his student, a mute 7-year old abused child in a shelter, develop a friendship stemming from their love of music. Ariel discovers the immense talent of Onyok hiding behind a veneer of silence and pain caused by an unhappy and cruel father. In the developing relationship of teacher and student, both characters reveal more of themselves that otherwise may have remained unspoken. They discover each other's strengths and failures through the violin lessons.


Cast: Kalila Aguilos, Neil Ryan Sese. Racquel Reyes, Dacmay Tangliban

Director: Bong Ramos

Screenplay: Bong Ramos Murphy Redd

Cinematography: Paul Vincent Pangan

Film Editor: Rona Lean Sales

Production Design: Felisberto Besina Bianca Gonzales Dadivas

Art Direction: Ching Danseco


Set in the majestic rice terraces, Haw-Ang (English title: Before Harvest) is an indie film advocating children's right to quality education, empowerment of women, and welfare of our indigenous countrymen. It tells the story of Sister Adel, a light-hearted young nun who goes to a farming village in Ifugao to teach catechism and eventually build a schoolhouse. As she breaks the traditions of the tribe, she makes a big difference in the little lives of its people, especially that of Dacmay, a seven-year-old rowdy girl in search of her lost mother's love. At the same time, Sister Adel finally discovers her real mission in life. This is a poignant story of friendship and love that transcends age, culture, and belief. A tale that is at times comic and inevitably tragic, this is a film about being a woman, and more importantly, being human. It all begins at the time of preparing rice paddies for planting, in that season of hopes and dreams called "haw-ang.

4.Hunghong sa Yuta

Cast: Jaymar Generana, Nelson Dino, Lucia Cijas, Joan Mae Soco

Director: Arnel Mardoquio,

Screenplay: Arnel Mardoquio


Hunghong sa Yuta is about war and peace in Mindanao easily cues us on how to read this story about a clutch of deaf-mute children in a mountain community consisting of Christians, Muslims and Lumads, and the teacher from the city who introduces them to the alphabet and numbers. War between rebels and the military has devastated the community of Hinyok, its most telling casualty being children born without the ability to speak and hear whose fathers are now intent on training them to become fighters to defend their land. Vigo Cruz, artist and toy-maker, answers a posted notice about Hinyok’s need for a teacher, and his work with the children brings joy and hope to the young war victims and their mothers.

5.Imburnal (Sewer)

Cast: Brian Monterola,, Jelieta Ruta, Allen Lumanog

Director: Sherad Anthony Sanchez

Screenplay: Sherad Anthony Sanchez

Cinematography: Jose fiola,Joel Geolamen,Mark Limbaga,John Torres

Film Editor: Sherad Anthony Sanchez

Art Direction: Joel Geolamen


Imburnal is an epic experimental work set in the coastal slums of Davao City, Philippines. A cross between "Gummo" and Andy Warhol, The closest the pic gets to an approximation of narrative is in the riverside wanderings of Allen (Allen Lumanog) and Joel (Joel San Juan). About 8 years old, the boys serve as witnesses to much that goes on. They're looked after by Gigi (Jelieta Mariveles-Ruca) , the only adult in sight and a quasi-den mother to many of the apparently parentless youngsters who drift through the frame. The movie's marketing materials suggest Allen and Joel are being hunted by the region's notorious death squads,


Cast: Baron Geisler, Flor Salanga, Coco Martin

Director: Francis Xavier Pasion

Screenplay: Francis Xavier Pasion

Cinematography: Carlo Mendoza

Film Editor: Chucks Guttirez, Francis Xavier Pasion,Kats Serraon

Production Design: Joy Puntawe

Art Direction: Kariktan Pangarigan,Joey Remetio


Jay is the name of the two protagonists in the film, one is living, the other dead. The living Jay is producing a documentary of the dead Jay, a gay teacher who was brutally killed. As Jay recreates and examines the life of his subject, his own life is affected when he unravels his subject's hidden life and secret love.

Jay is the name of the two protagonists in the film. Jay Santiago is a gay TV producer documenting the family of a gay hate crime victim who happens to be his namesake, Jay Mercado. In the process of producing for his TV program, Jay Santiago intrudes into the private grief of the other Jay's family and he is drawn to the secret life and love of his subject. Warning: Do not believe everything you see as truth.


Cast: Roeder Camañag, Perry Dizon, Soliman Cruz & Angeli Bayani

Director: Lav Diaz

Screenplay: Lav Diaz

Cinematography: Lav Diaz

Film Editor: Lav Diaz

Production Design: Dante Perez

Synopsis: Melancholia is an eight-hour meditation of sorts on the maddening persistence of sadness in this world, can logically be divided into three parts and an epilogue. The first part details the experiences in Sagada of Julian (Perry Dizon), Alberta (Angeli Bayani) and Rina (Malaya Cruz) as they refashion themselves into different drastic identities as part of the radical process that Julian created in order for them to cope with the losses of their loved ones. The second part is set in Manila, with Julian and Alberta living their real lives and addressing the scenarios and situations that accompany their melancholic predicament. The third part is the prologue to Julian, Alberta and Rina's prolonged tale of sadness, where deep within the forests of Mindoro, a band of leftist fighters, which includes Alberta's husband Renato (Roeder Camanag), is struggling with the psychological and spiritual torture of both practical and existential defeat while being hunted down by military operatives.


Cast: Gina Pareño,Jacklyn Jose, Coco Martin,Julio Diaz & MercedsCabral

Director: Brilliante Mendoza

Screenplay: Armando Lao

Cinematography: Odyssey Flores

Film Editor: Claire Villa-Real

Production Design: Benjamin Padero, Carlo Tabije

Art Direction: Harley Alcasid, Deans Habal

Synopsis: A drama that follows the travails of the Pineda family in the Filipino city of Angeles. Bigamy, unwanted pregnancy, possible incest and bothersome skin irritations are all part of their daily challenges, but the real "star" of the show is an enormous, dilapidated movie theater that doubles as family business and living space. At one time a prestige establishment, the theater now runs porn double bills and serves as a meeting ground for hustlers of every conceivable persuasion. The film captures the sordid, fetid atmosphere, interweaving various family subplots with the comings and goings of customers, thieves and even a runaway goat while enveloping the viewer in a maelstrom of sound, noise and continuous motion.


Cast: Jodie Sta Maria,Richard Quan,Allan Paule,Jay Manlo

Director: CJ Andaluz

Screenplay: Frank Rivera

Cinematography: Albert Banzon

Synopsis: Narcisa "Sisa" Dalangin (Jodi Sta. Maria-Lacson) is a young Filipina lass living during the Spanish Occupation. She lives with her grandmother Ising in a tiny hut. Pedro Magbuhos (Carlo Maceda) tries to get Sisa's empathy. But Juanito (Christian Vasquez) is more esteemed to seize Sisa's heart. Things changed when Pedro disclose a hearsay to the Guardia Civil that Ising is a member of the cult group Confradia. This prompted her to be imprisoned but later dies due to an accident. Soon enough, Sisa was caught by Pedro in the woods and was beaten and eventually she was raped. Then, they were married for that matter and had two children: Basilio and Crispin.


Cast: Ronnie Lazaro, Tetchie Agbayani, Aleera Montalla & Joel Torre

Director: Richard Somes

Screenplay: Richard Somes

Cinematography: Herman Claraval, Lyle Sacris

Film Editor: Borgy Torree

Production Design: Ronald Russ Camon, Michael Espñol

Art Direction: Rashem Gumacal


Yanggaw is a mixture of horror and melodrama. The dramatic overtone in the film is protracted with the struggle of the family in protecting their keen that is now a monster. It's ironic in a way since the monster is now being protected from the villagers who try to get rid of it but natural familial reaction takes place. It's good in a way since the point of view is revolving on the dramatic event of the monster's own family. With obvious low cost production, Yanggaw was able to give an atmosphere that is quite creepy and to that, they are still on the right track. Even the story itself is about a monster eating the insides of animals and humans. But my concern is the dialect's intonation. The film could still be successful for the wrong motives. There is a laugh to ease the terror within the film. But the laugh we are indulging is because it looks comical. That is quite unintended.

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