Two romantic movies, “The Hows of Us” and “Exes Baggage,” will be shown in the second edition of the Cinematografo International Film Festival to be held in San Francisco.
The festival is an annual film exhibition organized by ABS-CBN International that aims to showcase talents of emerging Filipino and Filipino-American filmmakers in the international landscape.
This year’s festival theme is “Breaking Down Walls” which pertains to “breaking through barriers in film and story” in terms of subject matter, representation and cultural limitations.
For the full-length category, two movies distributed by Star Cinema will be shown along with films created by Filipinos from different countries such as Australia, the United States, Singapore and Germany.
‘The Hows of Us’
The KathNiel-starrer tells the story of a young couple who want to grow old together. To achieve that, they have to face the triumphs and challenges of a long-term relationship.
It was released on August 29 and has since then garnered “more than P600 million” domestic gross earnings as of September 17.
According to an entertainment news website, it is the first Filipino-produced movie to reach the amount in terms of domestic figures.
The record was previously held by another Star Cinema-produced film, “Gandarrapiddo! The Revenger Squad,” that earned P571 million.
“The Hows of Us” earned success because of reviews that noted how much the acting performance of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla have improved.
Film critic Oggs Cruz in his review noted Padilla’s “sensitive and intelligent” acting while Bernardo was praised for her “endearing” portrayal of a long-suffering girlfriend.
The Daily Tribune called the movie a “watchable, sympathetic love story” that deals with “painful truths and relatable situations” in modern long-term relationships.
Independently-produced “Exes Baggage” was the reunion project of ’90s love team Carlo Aquino and Angelica Panganiban.
It tells the story of two people who meet each other by chance and develop a bond that forms from warm friendship to deep attraction.
Prior to its release, it has already spawned a social media buzz because it is considered Aquino’s second movie comeback. It also sparked speculations of a possible real-life romance between the former couple.
“Exes Baggage” was released on September 26 and has garnered P142 million in domestic gross earnings five days after its premiere.
Reviews lauded the movie’s narrative and how it tackled the respective internal conflicts of Aquino’s and Panganiban’s characters in an “affecting” manner.
Philippine Entertainment Portal called it a “relatable and affecting” film that portrayed likely scenarios in “real life relationships.”
Kevin Tan of Cinema Bravo noted the onscreen “palpable” chemistry of the actors that provided “volume” to the film’s storytelling.
Filipino films in international stage
The Cinematografo International Film Festival was established in 2017 by ABS-CBN International with the initial objective to “put the Filipino talent on the world stage,” according to film director John-D Lazatin.
It was created to give Filipinos and Filipino-Americans a platform to share their stories through films that would “present the realities of the present times,” adds festival director Miguel Sevilla.
The festival is rooted in San Francisco which has a large population of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans alike.
CBS San Francisco Bay Area attributes the city’s rich diversity to various arts, music, food and culture found in the area. They note:
“The San Francisco Bay Area is home to some of the world’s most renowned film festivals. From intimate, small-town festivals to grand scale events featuring hundreds of movies and the biggest names in Hollywood.”
Film critic David Lamble acknowledged the festival’s need to be established in the area and argued that it gives people a better understanding of cultures different from them—in this case, the Philippine culture.
“It’s the festivals that give Bay Area film goers the chance to catch films that they otherwise couldn’t see. For over half a century, people have been nurtured through film festivals to understand foreign films.”
The 2018 Cinematografo Film Festival will happen on November 8 to 11 at the AMC Kabuki 8 in San Francisco’s Japantown neighborhood.