The “Directors Factory Philippines,” a project by the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, has finished production in Dapitan, a historic city known for its shrines and as the exile site of Jose Rizal. The initiative began in Taiwan in 2013, with a new partner country chosen each year to mentor eight filmmakers working on ambitious first or second feature projects. This year, the Philippines was selected for the project, resulting in four co-written and co-directed short films that will be showcased at the Directors’ Fortnight in May.

Among the films created is “Walay Balay,” directed by Eve Baswel from the Philippines and Gogularaajan Rajendran from Malaysia, featuring Shaina Magdayao. Another 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 a mystical bird. “Silig,” directed by Arvin Belarmino from the Philippines and Lomorpich Rithy from Cambodia, depicts a woman organizing her own cremation while battling cancer. Lastly, “Cold Cut,” directed by Don Eblahan from the Philippines and Tan Siyou from Singapore, focuses on auditions for a talent show with a mysterious stranger.

The post-production for these films will take place in Quezon City, with support from the Quezon City Film Commission. The producers are currently working on securing funding to bring the eight directors to Cannes in order to present their short films at the Quinzaine and pitch their future projects at the Cannes Directors Fortnight Beach. Lead producers Dominique Welinski and Bradley Liew emphasize the benefits of collaboration between filmmakers in Asia, highlighting how their experiences and synergy will influence each other’s work for years to come.

The “Directors Factory Philippines” project aims to showcase the talent and creativity of emerging filmmakers from different countries, fostering collaboration and cultural exchange. By working in pairs to create short films that reflect their unique perspectives and backgrounds, the filmmakers are able to explore diverse themes and storytelling techniques. The films address a range of topics, from wartime evacuations to mystical birds and personal struggles with illness, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of storytelling in the region.

Dapitan, with its rich history and unique cultural heritage, provides an inspiring backdrop for the filmmakers to explore and create their stories. The city’s charm and historical significance add depth and resonance to the narratives, enhancing the overall cinematic experience for audiences. The films’ diverse cast and crew reflect the collaborative spirit of the project, bringing together talent from different countries to create something truly unique and impactful.

Overall, the “Directors Factory Philippines” project represents a celebration of creativity and innovation in filmmaking, showcasing the potential of emerging filmmakers from the region. Through collaboration and cultural exchange, the filmmakers are able to push boundaries and explore new storytelling possibilities, creating art that resonates with audiences on a global scale. The project serves as a testament to the power of cinema to connect people across boundaries and inspire new generations of storytellers.

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