Cinemalaya 2020 rewarded for risks taken as Covid19 rages

By Ibarra C. Mateo

Chris B. Millado, Cinemalaya 2020 festival director, assessed the remarkable outcome of the risky but game-changing decision by the Cinemalaya organizing committee this year.

Due to the disruptions and displacements caused by the Covid19 pandemic, the powers behind Cinemalaya16 threw its weight and support to fully migrate Cinemalaya 2020 to online digital platforms such as Vimeo during its Aug. 7-16, 2020 run, its first week.

To the unfamiliar, Vimeo has been described as “an optimized online video streaming site that allows users to upload and promote their videos with a high degree of customization not found on competing sites.”

Established by a group of filmmakers in 2004, Vimeo is focused on customization to enable the platform to better meet the streaming needs of filmmakers and directors.

From Aug. 17 to 31, the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival streams to global audiences via The Filipino Channel (TFC), effectively making Cinemalaya16 indie film offerings accessible to 10.2 million people of Filipino descent, an estimate by the Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) in 2013.

The CFO said the 10.2 million figure represents about 11 percent of the total Philippine population and is “one of the largest diaspora populations spanning over 100 countries.” The millions of persons of Filipino descent living overseas is a new and enormously huge untapped market for Cinemalaya films and events.

After streaming on Vimeo and TFC, the Cinemalaya16 films screen on iWant platform from Sept. 18 to Oct. 2, 2020. The “iWant has the biggest library of Filipino entertainment, spanning different genres, formats” its website said.

Both the TFC and iWant are affiliated with the ABS-CBN Corp., popularly known as the Kapamilya brand or group of companies owned by the Lopezes.

Online digital Cinemalaya, new beginning

In a speech during the Cinemalaya 2020 awards ceremony, Millado, who is also the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) vice president and artistic director, said “it looks like the online digital future of Cinemalaya has arrived sooner than later.”

“And it looks like our filmmakers and audiences will be ready to traverse the Cinemalaya Festival at the CCP, the screenings at the partner cinemas and the online platform when the time comes when we can put this all together,” Millado said.

The TFC streaming of Cinemalaya films marks a “new beginning” for the festival, which effectively broadens its reach to global Filipinos and international communities all over the world, Millado said.

Cinemalaya 2020 initial report

Cinemalaya 2020 initial report

• Cinemalaya 2020 showcased 207 films and filmmakers, including the competition films, exhibition titles, and the Gawad Alternatibo entries during the period August 7-16;

• The Ricky Lee’s Masterclasses gathered 535 participants, plus about 150 alumni to a live streamed reunion;

• Cinemalaya “streaming consciousness” was supported by at least 69 artists, production, and technical staff who worked at home and at the CCP;

• The Facebook postings of Cinemalaya 2020 reached a record 7 million this year and hit of 400,000 engagements;

• Vimeo platform rentals numbered 8,427 units, with total sales purchases of 1.8M as of Aug. 15;

• Altogether, the total sales have reached Php 2,015,000, breaching the 2-million-peso target that Cinemalaya 2020 set for itself.

“Thank you very much filmmakers, viewers, workshoppers, resource persons, production and technical staff, and partners for making all of these possible. Together with you, we shall burn brightly through these dark times with our luminous stories,” Millado said.

Chris B. Millado, 2020 Cinemalaya festival director and CCP vice president and artistic director

Cinemalaya16 winners

The film “Tokwifi” took home the 2020 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival Best Short Feature Film award and the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) Prize.

Directed by Carla Pulido Ocampo, Tokwifi was cited for its “highly original take on love between two persons coming from different eras and worlds, and how modernity and tradition could best be bridged by common humanity.”

Filmmaker Martika Ramirez Escobar received the Balanghai trophy for Best Direction for her film “Living Things.” 

Escobar’s citation said her film “effectively orchestrated the resources of cinema in its whimsical yet convincing tale of how two people in love confront the challenges of change by even more love and devotion.”

Best Screenplay award went to “Pabasa Kan Pasyon,” a film by Hubert Tibi. The film was acknowledged for its “moving tale of mother and son struggling to survive amid the sounds and sights of lent in the Philippine countryside.” 

Reeden Fajardo’s “Quing Lalam Ning Aldo” won the Audience Choice Award.

Joanna Vasquez Arong’s “Ang Pagpakalma Sa Unos” garnered the Special Jury Prize for “its moving account through the eyes of a child of the ravages wrought by the strongest typhoon ever recorded in human history, its poignant poetry losing none of the event’s immediacy and tragedy.”

For more information, check out the CCP website (, follow the CCP official account in Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You may also check out the official Cinemalaya Facebook page. 

#Cinemalaya2020 #Cinemalaya16 #CCP #Netpac #IndieFilms #Indie

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