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QCinema names entries for 2023 Asian Next Wave Competition

EIGHT feature films will be competing for the Pylon Award in this year’s QCinema International Film Festival. The Asian Next Wave competition will showcase eight feature film directorial debuts from the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Thailand.

QCinema will be held from Nov. 17 to 26 in various cinemas around the metropolis.

The eight films are:

Abang Adik, by Jin Ong, about two undocumented denizens in Kuala Lumpur, the deaf-mute Abang who wants to legally obtain an ID and live a decent life, and his temperamental younger brother Adi who will take any shortcut to climb out of poverty. The film swept the top prizes at Udine’s Far East Film Festival, including the award for best first feature.

Gitling by Jopy Arnaldo, starring Gabby Padilla and Ken Yamamura, is about a translator hired by a filmmaker for a film festival in Bacolod. The two become friends, bonding over stories of heartbreak, and a language that the translator made up. The film uses subtitles in novel ways, expressing what is unsaid between characters that cannot express what they are really feeling. Gitling won for Best Screenplay in the recent Cinemalaya Film Festival.

Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell, written and directed by Thien An Pham, follows Thien, who travels to the jungles of rural Vietnam in search of a long-lost brother following the sudden death of his sister-in-law. What follows is a journey of spiritual discovery through the mystical landscape of his nation. The film had its world premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, winning the Caméra d’Or for the best first feature film.

Last Shadow At First Light, by Nicole Midori Woodford, is about Ami, who believes that her father has been lying to her about her mother’s death. She travels to Japan and finds herself on a road trip with her uncle, chasing ghosts and apparitions on the way to discovering painful truths about love and loss.

Love Is A Gun, by Lee Hong-chi, is about Sweet Potato, who spent some years in prison for working for a syndicate. He’s trying to go straight, but his past keeps catching up with him, trying to draw him back into a violent life. Love Is A Gun is the first Taiwanese film to win the best first feature at the Venice International Film Festival.

Mimang, by Kim Tae-yang, follows a man and a woman as they walk the streets of Seoul, a city that seems to keep changing as time goes by. TIFF’s Giovanni Fulvi calls Mimang “A condensed Korean indie counterpart to Richard Linklater’s Before series.”

Solids By The Seashore, a Thai romance/environmental film by Patiparn Boontarig, is set in a Southern Thai town of Songkhla, which is under threat from coastal erosion. Here Muslim poet Shati meets artist Fon, who has traveled from Bangkok for an exhibit bringing awareness to the impending environmental disaster. Shati is torn between her religious upbringing and a burgeoning affection for Fon, and faces an inner turmoil reflected in the chaos brought on by the monsoons.

Tiger Stripes by Amanda Nell Eu, is about 12-year-old Zaffan who is going through the challenges of puberty. But there’s something unusual about the changes her body is experiencing, and when the community discovers what’s happening, Zaffan is shunned and attacked. Tiger Stripes had its world premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Critics’ Week Grand Prize.

The films will be screened at Gateway Cineplex 10, Robinsons Movieworld Magnolia, Ayala Malls Cinemas’ UP Town Center, Power Plant Cinema, and Shangri-La’s Red Carpet Cinemas.

Neil Banzuelo

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