The QCinema International Film Festival is all set to stage a hybrid festival with an edgy line-up of films for its special edition slated from Nov. 27 to Dec. 5, 2020.
Known for its selection of well-curated films, the QCinema Special Edition will give a limited audience a chance to physically watch films at an outdoor venue in Quezon City, with more films to be streamed online.
According to festival director Ed Lejano, the festival committee had to overcome various obstacles to ensure that the film fest would push through.
“Like many other film festivals around the world, we’ve had to adapt to the unprecedented challenges of 2020. Factoring in safety concerns and restrictions, we’ve decided to follow the global trend of staging a hybrid film festival,” said Lejano in a Zoom press conference.
The festival’s socially-distanced and by-invitation-only screenings will be held on its opening day, Nov. 27 and on Nov. 28 at Gazebo Royale, an outdoor garden venue and events space along Visayas Avenue in Quezon City.
For its opening, QCinema will screen the monochromatic version of Parasite, the 2019 winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars. The black and white version of Parasite by Bong Joon-ho was first released at the Rotterdam Film Festival last January.
According to Lejano, the monochrome edition manages to put the masterful satire in a new light and offers a different viewing experience from the original colorized version.
QCinema will also be hosting a ceremonial turnover of the COVID-19 assistance grant it is giving to the Inter-Guild Alliance, and will announce the winners of its COVID Completion Grant at the opening. The COVID Completion Grant is for chosen independent films forced to halt production and post-production during the pandemic lockdown. Winners of its QCShort Shorts Competition will also be announced in the said event.
On Nov. 28, the film fest will present another theatrical release to a limited number of viewers, namely Identifying Features by Fernanda Valadez and Death of Nintendo by Filipino filmmaker Raya Martin.
Identifying Features follows an illiterate Mexican woman as she leaves her rural home in search of her teenage son who left to find work in the United States. The film won the audience award and best screenplay at the Sundance Film Festival 2020.
Meanwhile, Death of Nintendo is coming-of-age tale set in the 90s Philippines, which takes viewers into the colorful pop culture world of four teenage friends. The film had its world premiere at Berlinale 2020.
After the screening, QCinema will host the book launch of Philippine Cinema by Gaspar Vibal and Dennis Villegas and edited by Teddy Co.
The festival’s online screening will be released nationwide through UPSTREAM, the newly launched online Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) streaming platform. Tickets, which will cost P200 per film, may be purchased from the country’s largest aggregator for online cinema ticketing, GMovies.
Highlighting its online festival are four QCinema greats.
QCinema 2019, 2018, and 2017 best picture winners stage a comeback. These are Cleaners by Glenn Barit; Oda sa Wala by Dwein Baltazar; and Balangiga Howling Wilderness by Khavn. The fourth is the big winner at the recent Urian award, Babae at Baril by Rae Red.
The program also includes special sections.
The Asian Special Edition includes the only Philippine entry at the 2020 Venice Film Festival and Malaysia’s entry to the 93rd Academy Awards.
Genus, Pan by Lav Diaz is a look at how much human beings are like animals. The film won for Diaz the best director award in the 2020 Venice Film Festival. Roh is a 2019 Malaysian Malay-language indie arthouse horror film by Emir Ezwan.
Two feature films will be shown under New Horizons, QCinema’s program that puts the spotlight on first and second-time filmmakers who are receiving accolades from the international film festival circuit.
Song Without a Name is a 2019 Peruvian drama film directed by Melina León. It was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It is also the Peruvian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards.
Rom by Tran Thanh Huy, the first Vietnamese film to receive the New Current Awards at the 24th Busan International Film Festival, is also in the New Horizons section.
Films under QCinema’s much-lauded and much-anticipated sections are also in the line-up.
This year’s RainbowQC section includes End of the Century and Suksuk.
End of the Century is an Argentine romantic drama film, directed by Lucio Castro and released in 2019. Suksuk is a 2019 award-winning and critically acclaimed Hong Kong drama film about two secretly homosexual married men in their twilight years. This film by Ray Yeung premiered at the 24th Busan International Film Festival.
Lastly, the Screen International section features three films that earned widespread acclaim at different film festivals.
The first film is a Brazilian drama screened in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Divine Love by Gabriel Mascaro.
A 2020 Cannes Film Festival selection, True Mothers, a Japanese drama film by Naomi Kawase is also in QCinema’s Screen International. This is Japan’s entry at the 93rd Academy Awards.
The third, Corpus Christi is a Polish film by Mateusz Pacewicz, which premiered at the 2019 Venice Film Festival and is the Polish entry in the 92nd Academy Awards.
QCinemas Special Edition 2020 will also include online talks on the new filmscape and free screenings of QCinema 2016, 2017, and 2019 shorts.
(Images from QCinema Festival)