The Directors’ Factory Philippines, initiated by Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, has just completed production in the city of Dapitan. This project works with a new partner country each year to mentor eight filmmakers preparing ambitious first or second feature projects. The Philippines was chosen for this year’s project, with four resulting co-written and co-directed short films set to be screened at the Directors’ Fortnight in May. Dapitan, known for its many shrines and as the place of national hero Jose Rizal’s exile, is currently a hub for domestic and international tourism.

The short film “Walay Balay,” directed by Eve Baswel from the Philippines and Gogularaajan Rajendran from Malaysia, follows the story of a mother and daughter evacuated during wartime who find a new home in a safe neighborhood. Another short film, “Nightbirds,” directed by Maria Estela Paiso from the Philippines and Ashok Vish from India, tells the story of Ivy breaking free from her husband with the help of the mystical Tigmamanukan bird. “Silig,” directed by Arvin Belarmino from the Philippines and Lomorpich Rithy (aka YoKi) from Cambodia, follows a woman dying from cancer as she organizes her own cremation in her hometown. The film “Cold Cut,” directed by Don Eblahan from the Philippines and Tan Siyou from Singapore, focuses on auditions for a talent show and a mysterious stranger in Dapitan City.

The next stage for these films is post-production in Quezon City, with support from the Quezon City Film Commission. The producers are currently raising financing to fly the eight directors to Cannes, where they will present their short films at the Directors’ Fortnight and pitch their feature projects at the Cannes Directors Fortnight Beach. Lead producers Dominique Welinski and Bradley Liew highlight the benefits of collaboration between filmmakers in Asia, noting that the filmmakers’ synergy and experiences will influence each other’s works throughout their careers.

Overall, the Directors’ Factory Philippines project aims to support budding filmmakers in creating their first or second feature projects. The collaboration between filmmakers from different countries has resulted in four unique short films that will be showcased at the Directors’ Fortnight. The choice of Dapitan as the filming location adds a historical and cultural element to the project, with the city known for its shrines and as the place of Jose Rizal’s exile. The diverse stories showcased in the short films reflect the filmmakers’ creative talents and highlight different aspects of Filipino and Asian culture.

The filmmakers involved in the Directors’ Factory Philippines project come from various countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, India, and Cambodia. Each pair of directors brings a unique perspective to their short film, resulting in a diverse and engaging selection of stories. The films tackle themes such as family, freedom, and death, offering audiences a glimpse into the lives of the characters and the cultures they represent. The project not only supports emerging filmmakers but also promotes cross-cultural collaboration and understanding in the film industry.

The post-production stage of the project will take place in Quezon City, where the films will undergo final editing and finishing touches before their screening at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. The opportunity for the directors to present their work at an international platform like Cannes will provide them with valuable exposure and networking opportunities. Overall, the Directors’ Factory Philippines project has been a successful collaboration between filmmakers from different countries, showcasing their talent and creativity in the global film industry.

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