Cinemalaya has been a yearly tradition for many Filipino cinephiles. While much of the event happens at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the Festival entries are also screened at select cinemas around Metro Manila. This is a huge convenience for moviegoers like me, who can’t find time to go to CCP on weekdays because of work.
However, seeing Cinemalaya films in CCP is a much different experience from seeing them in mall cinemas. Since the Festival also happens on weekends, what I’ve been doing in the past years is to dedicate whole weekends to the Festival.
But what’s so special about experiencing Cinemalaya in CCP anyway? We made a rundown of why we prefer seeing Cinemalaya entries in CCP, and why we think that you should too! This is quite a long read so if you don’t have the time, you may watch the video below:
Most, if not all gala screenings of Cinemalaya films happen on CCP. This is the chance for you to see and know the people behind the movie you’re watching – from the directors, crew, producers, as well as the cast. You’ll be seeing the movie together with the people who made it – so that alone already makes a gala screening a movie experience like no other.
Meet makers and movers of the Filipino Film industry.
When watching films in CCP, it’s almost inevitable for you to not bump into acclaimed directors, actors, film critics, or just fellow enthusiasts. I’m a huge fan of Cinemalaya films, so it’s surreal meeting your favorite actors, even sitting beside them when seeing a film!
The Food is Pretty Good!
During Cinemalaya, CCP is lined up with food stalls offering different cuisines so you don’t have to go far for a snack break in between screenings. If I’m not watching a movie, I’ll be munching on some takoyaki, empanada, or shawarma just right outside CCP’s lobby. The food offerings are relatively affordable too!
Harbour Square is Conducive for Discussing and Writing Movie Reviews
My movie buddies and I may need a moment to discuss a movie that we just saw, and so for that we sometimes go to the coffee shops at Harbour Square. For only a hundred pesos you already get brewed coffee and two donuts and Krispy Kreme. Or if you need a better ambiance and more comfortable seats, Starbucks offers a relaxing view of Manila Bay.
CCP Exudes a Distinct, Festival Vibe
I don’t know if it’s the collective spirit of excited festival attendees, or the fact that the walls of CCP are witnesses to Philippine cinema history, but being in CCP during Cinemalaya feels like you are truly a part of the Festival. It’s a nice feeling walking through the lobbies and hearing fellow Festival-goers discuss their thoughts about the films, or see familiar faces who share the same love for Philippine cinema.
In the end, regardless of which theaters you see Cinemalaya movies, what matters is that you have become a part of the Festival that highlights the beauty and quality of Filipino films. But in case you missed some Cinemalaya entries in the past, here is a list of Cinemalaya movies streaming on iFlix.