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10 Short Films to Watch at the Cinemalaya Film Festival 2020

Out of 244 submissions, only 10 short films have been selected as finalists for this year's Cinamalaya Film Festival.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cinemalaya Foundation has decided to take an alternative route for the 16th edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.

“Like everything else on this planet, COVID-19 has impacted filmmaking in a way that it has restructured our original plans, timetable, and style of work.” Cinemalaya president Laurice Guillen told the media during a virtual press conference that was also attended by other Cinemalaya officials such as Chris Millado, Jose Javier Reyes, and president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso. (Read: Pamilya Ordinaryo, Lola Igna, other indie films to premiere on Netflix this June)

According to Guillen, for this year, the annual film festival will be held online starting on August 7 to 16. And unlike before where they feature full-length films,  this year’s Cinemalaya will only premiere 10 short films that will be available for streaming on Vimeo for as low as ₱75. (Read: Celebrities Express Concern for ABS-CBN Workers Set to Lose Jobs)

Every year, it is with no doubt that the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival offers the crème de la crème of the Filipino film industry. And this year is no different—despite the ongoing pandemic. In fact, out of 244 submissions, only 10 short films have been selected as finalists for the festival. Read on and get to know all of them!

Ang Gasgas Na Plaka Ni Lolo Bert

DIRECTORS: Janina Gacosta and Cheska Marfori

LOGLINE: The short film tells the story of a closeted gay man in his 60s who has been living with HIV for 10 years. The story unfolds when he receives an old vinyl record from his dead ex-lover.

Ang Pagpakalma Sa Unos


DIRECTOR: Joanna Vasquez Arong

LOGLINE: To Calm the Pig Inside is a contemplation on the effects a typhoon leaves on a seaside city. Myths are woven in to try to understand how people cope with the devastation and trauma. A girl’s voice divulges bits and pieces of her own memory of her grandmother and mother to tie in the experiences she felt visiting this ravaged port city.

Excuse Me Miss Miss Miss

DIRECTOR: Sonny Calvento

LOGLINE: Vangie, a miserable contractual sales lady, is about to lose her job. But in her desperate attempt to convince her boss not to sack her, Vangie uncovers the ultimate jaw-dropping secret to regularization.


DIRECTOR: James Mayo

LOGLINE: One night, you overslept because of too much work, now, you must wake up before your nightmare becomes a reality.

Living Things

DIRECTOR: Martika Ramirez Escobar

LOGLINE: Kints wakes up and discovers that her decade-long lover Charles has turned into a cardboard standee of himself.

Pabasa Kan Pasyon


DIRECTOR: Hubert Tibi

LOGLINE: Religion and economy take center stage in a Bicolano family’s story, set during the Lenten season. To make ends meet, one of them turns to religion, and pushes his mother to make a living off her faith.

Quing Lalam Ning Aldo (Under The Sun)

DIRECTOR: Reeden Fajardo

LOGLINE: A transgender Sampaguita farmer decided to renovate their neglected kitchen as soon as she heard that her son is going home.

The Slums


DIRECTOR: Jan Andrei Cobey

LOGLINE: A documentary team progressively intervenes and trespasses into the lives of a poor family living in the slums as they try to cope with the loss of their TV.


DIRECTOR: Carla Pulido Ocampo

LOGLINE: A 1950s mestiza star, trapped inside a television that fell from the sky – dreams up a romantic romp with a Bontok Igorot man who does not know how to kiss.


DIRECTOR: Richard Salvadico & Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay

LOGLINE: Toto discovers more of the ocean as he tries to learn how to dive and fish.

More From Cinemalaya Film Festival

Director Peque Gallaga and actress Anita Linda’s accomplishments and great contributions to the Philippine film industry will also be celebrated during the film festival. Aside from the 10 short films competing, the organizers also prepared 20 more short films for exhibition:

1. “Gulis” (Lines) by Kyle Francisco
2. “Igib” (Fetch) by Joey Paras
3. “Grand Gestures” by Cody Abad
4. “Himagsik ng Hiwaga” (Revolt of the Mystic) by Geoffrey Solidum
5. “Paon” (Bait) by Seb Valdez
6. “Tahanan” by Mick Quito
7. “Tarang” (Life’s Pedal) by Arvin Belarmino
8. “Sumasaiyo,” (Yours Truly,) by Jermaine Tulbo
9. “Ang Meron sa Wala” (Beyond Nothing) by Arby and Christine Laraño
10. “Displaced” by Aedrian Araojo
11. “Jepoy” by Avid Liongoren
12. “Kung Saan Patag ang Bundok” (Where the Horizon Meets the Mountain) by Dolliete Cristi Mari Echon
13. “Octogod” by Shievar Olegario
14. “Pinakanakapagpapabagabag” (Most Disturbing Feeling) by Jermaine Tulbo
15. “Habak” (Charm) by Christian Paolo Lat and Mia Salisbury
16. “Si Gloria at si Juan” by Galliano Salvador
17. “Ang Nawalang Haligi” (Pillar) by Sarah Mya Regacho
18. “Dama de Noche” by Lawrence Arvin Sibug
19. “Mata” by Bryan Kenette Padilla
20. The Rooftop” by Avirup Biswas

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