Millennial Filmmakers

Millennial Filmmakers That Are Shaping the Future of Filipino Cinema

Holly | October 11, 2017

There is no doubt that the state of Philippine cinema is as vibrant as ever. Aside from mainstream films breaking box office records, indie productions have also been garnering an audience in local shores and abroad.  A majority of these diverse outputs and rich story lines are courtesy of millennial filmmakers, some of whom you are about to meet today.

As the country ushers in the brand-new age of cinema, here are five promising Filipino filmmakers that you need to watch.

5 Filipino Millennial Filmmakers You Need to Know

Pepe Diokno, 29 years old

Pepe Diokno

Pepe Diokno may be under 30, but he has already garnered multiple awards locally and abroad for his first full-length film, Engkwentro. Among them include a Gawad Urian, one from the Venice Film Festival, and another from Jeonju Film Festival.

Engkwentro tells the story of two teenage brothers embroiled in a bitter battle with their respective gangs. Tensions come to an all-time high when a midnight engkwentro (square-off) happens after the brothers are tasked with killing each other.

Aside from the critically acclaimed film, Diokno also directed Above the Clouds and Kapatiran. Both films have competed in film festivals around the world.

Samantha Lee

Samantha Lee

Although the Philippines is one of the most LGBTQI-friendly countries in Asia, there continues to be a lack of representation in films.  Enter Samantha Lee, whose first film, Baka Bukas, tackles the story of a queer girl who is struggling to admit her feelings to her best friend.  The intimate film was screened during the Cinema One Originals Film Festival last year where it won the Audience Choice Award and an award for Best Sound.

Petersen Vargas, 25 years old

Petersen Vargas

Petersen Vargas‘s short film Lisyun qng Geografia started out as his thesis for the UP Film Institute back in 2014. The 20-minute short tells the story of two leads, Tib and Tric, who unknowingly cross the boundaries of their friendship. Lisyun was met with overwhelming critical success and found its way to film festivals around Asia and the Philippines.

Petersen’s debut feature, 2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten, is an extension of his earlier work. The full-length film is an LGBT coming-of-age story set in the nineties. During its premiere last November 2016 at the Cinema One Original Film Festival, 2 Cool 2 Be Forgotten won three awards including Best Picture.

Ice Idanan, 30 years old

Ice Idanan

Ice Idanan is the brilliant young mind behind Sakaling Hindi Makarating, which racked up several awards during the CineFilipino Film Festival including Best Director, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and 2nd Best Picture. Idanan graduated with honors from the University of the Philippines Film Institute. Her thesis film, Limang Libo, was the National Winner for the Kodak Filmschool Competition and a finalist in the Young Cinema Category of the Cinemanila Film Festival last 2009.

Gino Santos, 27 years old

Gino Santos

Because of his good looks, Gino Santos is often asked why he didn’t consider acting instead of directing.  To no surprise, Santos has said that like many filmmakers, acting has never crossed this mind. He was inspired to dip his feet into the art form after watching the iconic Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction, the same feature that inspired fellow Filipino director Quark Henares to pursue filmmaking.

To date, Santos has numerous short films and five full-length features to his name.  He is best known for tackling issues that plague millennials. The Animals and #Y rose to become finalists at the Cinemalaya Film Festival.  The Animals was also screened at Stockholm and New York Film Festivals.

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