Selection of Excellence in Cinemalaya 2023’s Competition and NETPAC Jury Members

MANILA, Philippines—The Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Cinemalaya Foundation Inc. entrust five remarkable individuals with the demanding and arduous task of curating the cinematic harvest of the festival. The appointed five individuals embark on a mission to select the most exceptional films, deemed deserving of the revered Balanghai trophies.

Meet the Cinemalaya 19 jury

The Cinemalaya 19 jury boasts an illustrious lineup of industry veterans, including acclaimed actress Shamaine Centenera Buencamino, renowned cinematographer Neil Daza, visionary director-visual artist Raya Martin, esteemed festival programmer Park Sungho, and accomplished film producer-curator Lorna Tee. With their extensive experience in local and international cinema, they are entrusted with the critical task of determining the fate of competing filmmakers.

Shamaine Buencamino: A Trailblazer in Philippine Cinema

Image Courtesy of Cinemalaya.

The multi-awarded actress holds almost four decades of experience in theater, film, and television. Her impressive accolades include winning Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a Play for “Madonna Brava” (2009) and “Ang Kalungkutan ng Reyna” (2008). Her memorable portrayal in Loy Arcenas’ “Niño” earned her the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role at the 2011 Cinemalaya, along with prestigious awards from the Golden Screen Awards in the Philippines and the Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong. 

Buencamino’s illustrious career extends to her role as a jury member of the Asian Film Awards Academy from 2013 to 2023, and she received the Ani ng Dangal from NCCA in 2013, recognizing her invaluable contributions to Philippine cinema on the international stage. In 2018, she served as the director of CCP’s Festival of Arts and Ideas, showcasing her versatility and leadership in the industry.

Neil Daza: A Cinematographer Extraordinaire

Image Courtesy of Cinemalaya.

The celebrated Filipino cinematographer, stands tall with an impressive portfolio of notable and award-winning films, including “Dekada ’70,” “Feng Shui,” “Badil,” “Bwaya,” “Signal Rock,” “Oda sa Wala (Ode To Nothing),” “Fan Girl,” and “About Us But Not About Us,” featured in this year’s Cinemalaya. Prior to his remarkable filmmaking journey, Daza began as a photojournalist, capturing significant political events post-EDSA 1 revolution. With a staggering thirty-two years in the industry and a repertoire of critically-acclaimed movies, he has solidified his position as one of the most sought-after cinematographers nationwide.

Raya Martin: A Revolutionary Filipino Director

Image Courtesy of Cinemalaya.

Raya Martin, a CCP Thirteen Artists Awardee, achieved historic feats in the film industry. In 2009, he became the first Filipino director to showcase two films at Cannes – “Independencia” and “Manila.” His notable works include the five-hour experimental film “Now Showing,” the atmospheric horror “How to Disappear Completely,” and the co-directed film “La última película” in Mexico.

Martin’s films have earned global acclaim, screening at prestigious venues like dOCUMENTA (13) and Centre Pompidou. He also received residencies at Cannes Cinéfondation and Berlinale. As a visionary director, he continues to make a lasting impact on cinema, pushing boundaries in storytelling.

Park Sungho: A Dedicated Advocate of Asian Cinema

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Having majored in film editing at Chung-Ang University’s Cinematography Department, Park Sungho’s passion for cinema drove him to make a significant impact in the industry. From 2007 to 2013, he worked full-time for the prestigious Busan International Film Festival, where he excelled as the program coordinator for Asian cinema and manager for the Asian Film Academy. Over the years, he expanded his expertise by contributing to various film festivals as a buyer, programmer, juror, and advisor.

Presently, Park serves as the festival programmer for the Busan International Film Festival, playing a crucial role in promoting Cambodian and Southeast Asian cinema on the global stage.

Lorna Tee: A Visionary Film Producer and Curator

Image Courtesy of Cinemalaya.

Lorna Tee is a highly accomplished film producer, programmer, trainer, and curator, known for her exceptional work through Paperheart, her Malaysian production company, and Amsterdam-based film company An Original Picture. With numerous international awards under her belt, including Filmmaker of the Year from the Chinese Film Association of Malaysia in 2021 and recognition in The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen Asia: Class of 2010, Tee’s influence in the film industry is undeniable.

She co-founded and led the festival management of the International Film Festival and Awards Macao until 2020. Tee’s extensive experience includes collaborations with Focus Films (Hong Kong), Variety (USA), Irresistible Films (Hong Kong, Japan), and prominent film festivals like Berlinale and CinemAsia Film Festival. Her impressive involvement in esteemed festivals such as Shanghai International Film Festival, Jakarta International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, and CineMart showcases her pivotal role in shaping the global cinema landscape. Tee’s expertise has led her to serve as a jury member at various film festivals worldwide.

Meet the NETPAC Jury

The distinguished juries for the prestigious NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award have been unveiled. The panel includes filmmaker Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo, filmmaker-critic Utpal Borpujari, and Cinemalaya founding member Edward Delos Santos Cabagnot. Their expertise and discerning eye promise to elevate the competition and honor the best of Asian cinema.

Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo: An Ingenious Filmmaker

Image Courtesy of Cinemalaya.

From her debut film “Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita” to the multi-awarded works like “Kita Kita” and “UnTrue,” Bernardo has left an indelible mark on the film industry. With a focus on human rights, women, and socio-political issues, she continues to create powerful and thought-provoking stories. Her latest project “I’m Perfect” was selected at the prestigious Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum (HAF), showcasing her unwavering dedication to cinema that captivates hearts and minds.

Utpal Borpujari: A Renowned Filmmaker and NETPAC Member

Image Courtesy of Cinemalaya.

As a NETPAC member, Utpal Borpujari is an accomplished filmmaker known for award-winning works like “Ishu” (2017), “Xogun” (2020), and impactful documentaries such as “Mask Art of Majuli” (2022) and “Memories of a Forgotten War” (2016). His films have received acclaim at prestigious festivals and earned awards and nominations. With a versatile background, he also serves as a film festival organizer and curator on national and international film juries.

Ed Cabagnot: A Pillar of Philippine Indie Cinema

Image Courtesy of Cinemalaya.

Ed Cabagnot, a founding member of Cinemalaya, has been a pillar of Philippine indie cinema. He has contributed significantly as a former division head of the CCP Media Arts Division and as a professor at UP Diliman, DLSU, and DLS–College of Saint Benilde. With an impressive background, Cabagnot has organized Asia’s longest-running indie film and video competition, Gawad CCP Para Sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video, since 1987. 

His expertise has been sought after on international film festival juries, including Pusan International Film Festival, Berlinale’s Forum, and Amsterdam’s IDFA International Documentary Festival. As an executive committee member of NCCA Committee on Cinema, he has supported Philippine cinema’s growth. He continues to nurture the indie scene through nationwide film festival management workshops, leaving a lasting impact on aspiring filmmakers.

Cinemalaya opens on August 4 with a red carpet, an opening program, and the screening of Quark Henares’ “Marupok AF (Where Is the Lie).” The festival will run until August 13, featuring screenings at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Tanghalang Ignacio B. Gimenez (CCP Blackbox Theater), and selected Ayala Malls Cinemas.

For tickets and inquiries, contact CCP Box Office at 8832-3704 or email customercare@culturalcenter.gov.ph. Visit the CCP website for more information. Don’t forget to follow the official CCP and Cinemalaya social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok for the latest updates.