Award-Winning Documentaries Set to Be Screened at Cinematografo International Film Festival









Searing documentaries that depict the stories of individuals and the society we live in. Watch these powerful chronicles of the human condition, created by filmmakers from the U.S. and from the Philippines, at the inaugural Cinematografo International Film Festival from November 9-12 at the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8 Theaters in San Francisco.



Sunshine de Leon, 2016, 52 mins

November 11, Saturday 5:15PM

Buy tickets here.

Starting with her migration to the Philippines in the 1930s, American centenarian Jessie Lichauco shares her vivid memories of her marriage with a Filipino lawyer and her insights on the cruelty of war, survival and strength of the human spirit. 



Ramona Diaz, 2012, 105 mins

November 10, Friday 8:30PM

Buy tickets here.

A testimony to YouTube’s cyberpower to discover musical talents, this documentary details how Arnel Pineda got fished out of obscurity and landed a gig that changed the course of his life – being the front man of the iconic American band Journey.



Ramona Diaz, 2003, 103 mins


Buy tickets here

“The people need a role model. They need a star, especially in the dark of the night.” Ramona Diaz’s debut film illustrates the life of Imelda Marcos as she ascends from being an impoverished child in the province to becoming the richest and most celebrated First Lady of the country.



Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco, 95 mins


Buy tickets here.

This documentary centers on the ensuing trial of Paco Larranaga, along with six other young men, accused of a murder case of two Filipino-Chinese girls. Filmmakers Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco probe the hostile delivery of justice and obstruction of truth brought about by an overly bureaucratic leadership, media sensationalism and racial profiling.



Ramona Diaz, 2017, 95 mins


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For her fifth feature length documentary, director Ramona Diaz reinforces her niche in the industry as a driving force in documentary cinema. The film takes us into an almost claustrophobic yet intimate experience inside one of the world’s busiest maternity wards, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila.



S. Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons, 2016, 75 mins


Buy tickets here.

Co-directed by S. Leo Chiang and Johnny Symons, the film captures a significant event in the history of Philippine politics when the world’s first and only LGBT political party called Ladlad, attempts to elect a transgender woman to the Philippine Congress.



Baby Ruth Villanueva, 2016, 95 mins


Buy tickets here.

Director Baby Ruth Villarama follows the lives of five Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong as they juggle between the harsh realities of their working situation and the sense of empowerment they get from joining beauty pageants on Sundays. 


The first annual Cinematografo International Film Festival and Industry Forum is a film exhibition series designed to elevate and showcase emerging Filipino and Filipino-American talent to the global stage.

Cinematografo International Film Festival aims to foster, nurture, and inspire filmmakers from the Filipino diaspora, giving them full support in any way possible.

Dreams came true for these 2 Global Tawag ng Tanghalan North America champions

LAS VEGAS --- After a rigorous round of auditions that had judges listen to 147 hopefuls across the U.S. and Canada, narrowing it down to 20 semi-finalists, and eventually just 10 finalists, two winners have been declared.  
As the house lights dimmed, the spotlight shone on the stage, and 10 finalists waited with bated breath, hosts Ginger Conejero and Eric Nicolas announced the champions for the night: Jing Wenghofer from Chicago, Illinois and Steven Paysu from Fontana, California.
Photo 2 all singing
 The remarkable evening ended with all 10 finalists sharing the stage with judges Constantino, Santos, and Valera in performing “The Winner Takes It All.” (Photo courtesy of Ricky Resurreccion)
Wenghofer could not believe the announcement. She was emotional when she recounted that “I wasn't sure if I really heard my name, but someone in the audience shouted my name. I immediately looked up and said my thanks to God. My eyes were teary and my heart was overflowing with happiness.”
When Paysu saw that Global Events Marketing and AdSales Head Ricky Resurreccion was holding a bouquet of flowers after calling the first winner, the former already assumed that the second champion would also be female. He was surprised when host Nicolas called his name. “It was a feeling of fulfillment and excitement at the same time. I thanked God right away quietly.”
Paysu’s winning entry was “Everything I Own” by Bread, while Wenghofer performed “Hinanakit” (Resentment) by Imelda Papin.
Photo 3
 Global Tawag ng Tanghalan North America finalists enjoying the sights and sounds of Vegas. (L-R) Jamil Pidlaoan (California), Rachel Bergado (California), Danielle Jade Laganson (Alberta), Steven Paysu (California), Marie Joy Amaro (Texas), Alexis Amber Magsambol (California), Elizabeth Sooy (New Jersey), Venus Therese Ramos (Manitoba), Abigail Natnat (Ontario). (Photo courtesy of Haphi Llaneza)
Global Tawag ng Tanghalan judges Pop Rock Superstar Yeng Constantino, King of Teleserye and Movie Theme Songs Erik Santos, and OPM Icon Rey Valera all said that it was a challenge judging the 10 finalists. There was a certain pressure being in Las Vegas, as expressed by Valera. He said, “Mahirap i-entertain mga tao dito dahil nakita niyo na lahat ng entertainer. Iba talaga ang Vegas.” (It is very difficult to entertain the people here in Vegas because they have already seen all sorts of entertainment. Vegas is truly special.)
Both North America champions just wanted to sing and share their talents as singers, but life got in the way. Now, they have this opportunity to shine and share their gifts with the rest of the world. Paysu shares that he put a hold on his dreams because he prioritized his family first. He then confides, “Now, I feel that it is never too late to pursue your dreams. At my age, right now, I would have not imagined that this time would still come but thanks be to God and Tawag ng Tanghalan for the blessing and opportunity I have been given. I will be forever thankful for allowing me to shine again on stage and believing in the talent that God has given me.”
Photo 4
Global Tawag ng Tanghalan North America finalists strike wacky poses in Vegas. (L-R) Abigail Natnat (Ontario), Elizabeth Sooy (New Jersey), Alexis Amber Magsambol (California), Venus Therese Ramos (Manitoba), Marie Joy Amaro (Texas), Steven Paysu (California), Rachel Bergado (California), Danielle Jade Laganson (Alberta), and Jamil Pidlaoan (California). (Photo courtesy of Haphi Llaneza)
Wenghofer is a music teacher so she can impart wise words to her students. She tells them to “Never stop pursuing your dreams. Keep practicing, follow your heart and keep trying. And most importantly, pray. His answer might not be the one you are asking for, but believe that everything will come at the right time."
This seems like the right time for Wenghofer as she gets to represent North America, together with Paysu, in the Tawag ng Tanghalan Global Cluster Finals that will be held in the Philippines from December 11-16this year. They will be competing with other regional champions from Region 2–Europe, Region 3–Middle East, Region 4–Hong Kong/Singapore/Malaysia, Region 5–Japan/Taiwan/South Korea, and Region 6-Australia/New Zealand/Papua New Guinea/Guam/Saipan.
Photo 5
Global Tawag ng Tanghalan “Hurados” (Judges) (L-R) Erik Santos, Yeng Constantino, and Mr. Rey Valera, with comedian/host Eric Nicolas, entertain the crowd during the Meet and Greet at Seafood City. (Photo courtesy of Haphi Llaneza)
The Finalists Take Over Vegas
Prior to competing at the Global Tawag ng Tanghalan North America Region Finals at the Ed W. Clark High School, the 10 finalists had a day to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Entertainment Capital of the World. It was a good chance for the 10 contestants to get to know one another while playing tourist, since it was the first time for some of them to see Las Vegas.
The finalists also had a closed-door performance for the judges the day before the Region Finals, and a meet and greet at the Vegas branch of Seafood City. All the finalists enjoyed their time out on the town, and the overall experience. 
Elizabeth Sooy from New Jersey expressed how she “love these people and the experience.” Danielle Jade Laganson from Edmonton, Alberta shared that she was “glad to call the other nine incredibly talented singers my new friends.” Laganson also added that even if they came from different parts of the U.S. and Canada, they still connected as one through their “love and passion for singing and for music.” Marie Joy Amaro of Texas said that it “did not feel like a competition. We helped each other and we encouraged each other like we were a team, a family.”
ABS-CBN Global Head of Events Ricky Resurreccion also soaked in the overall atmosphere of family. Resurreccion admitted that this region finals was “the most intimate event TFC Live has ever mounted.”  He added that it was “a welcome respite from doing huge venues. The talent was raw and pure, and the energy was palpable. One could also sense the genuine affection that immediately clicked among the finalists. It was a blast!”
Photo 6
The finalists enjoy their Meet and Greet at Seafood City. (L-R front) Venus Therese Ramos, Marie Joy Amaro, Alexis Amber Magsambol; (L-R standing) Steven Paysu, Elizabeth Sooy, Danielle Jade Laganson, Jamil Pidlaoan, Rachel Bergado, Abigail Natnat. (Photo courtesy of Haphi Llaneza)
Next Stop: Manila, Philippines
Wenghofer and Paysu will be going to Manila for the Global Cluster Finals that will take place from December 11-16. During that whole week, all global finalists from the six different regions will compete against each other. Of these, only two winners will be chosen, and these two will then move on to join the Tawag ng Tanghalan “Huling Tapatan” (Grand Finals) in March 2018.
Photo 7
ABS-CBN Global Head of Events Ricky Resurreccion (center) is flanked by the Global Tawag ng Tanghalan North America finalists (L-R) Elizabeth Sooy, Jing Wenghofer, Danielle Jade Laganson, Venus Therese Ramos, Abigail Natnat, Rachel Bergado, Jamil Pidlaoan, Alexis Amber Magsambol, Marie Joy Amaro, and Steven Paysu. (Photo courtesy of Haphi Llaneza)


64 cities join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Sixty four cities from 44 countries have been designated as UNESCO Creative Cities by Director-General, Irina Bokova. They join a Network at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development. This network attracts growing interest from local authorities.
“These new designations showcase an enhanced diversity in city profiles and geographical balance, with 19 cities from countries not previously represented in the Network” declared the Director-General. She added, “The cooperation framework proposed to foster candidate cities from the Africa region – a UNESCO Global Priority – has been a true success with 9 African cities now joining the Network.”
The new 64 UNESCO Creative Cities are:
Alba (Italy) – Gastronomy
Almaty (Kazakhstan) – Music
Amarante (Portugal) – Music
Auckland (New Zealand) – Music
Baguio City (Philippines) – Crafts and Folk Art
Barcelos (Portugal) – Crafts and Folk Art
Braga (Portugal) – Media Arts
Brasilia (Brazil) – Design
Bristol (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Film
Brno (Czechia) – Music
Bucheon (Republic of Korea) – Literature
Buenaventura (Colombia) – Gastronomy
Cairo (Egypt) – Crafts and Folk Art
Cape Town (South Africa) – Design
Carrara (Italy) – Crafts and Folk Art
Changsha (China) – Media Arts
Chennai (India) – Music
Chiang Mai (Thailand) – Crafts and Folk Art
Chordeleg (Ecuador) – Crafts and Folk Art
Cochabamba (Bolivia [Plurinational State of]) – Gastronomy
Daegu Metropolitan City (Republic of Korea) – Music
Dubai (United Arab Emirates) – Design
Durban (South Africa) – Literature
Frutillar (Chile) – Music
Gabrovo (Bulgaria) – Crafts and Folk Art
[City of] Greater Geelong (Australia) – Design
Guadalajara (Mexico) – Media Arts
Hatay Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) – Gastronomy
Istanbul (Turkey) – Design
João Pessoa (Brazil) – Crafts and Folk Art
Kansas City (United States of America) – Music
Kolding (Denmark) – Design
Kortrijk (Belgium) – Design
Košice (Slovakia) – Media Arts
Kütahya (Turkey) – Crafts and Folk Art
Lillehammer (Norway) – Literature
Limoges (France) – Crafts and Folk Art
Łódź (Poland) – Film
Macao Special Administrative Region, China (Associate Member, UNESCO) – Gastronomy
Madaba (Jordan) – Crafts and Folk Art
Manchester (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Literature
Mexico City (Mexico) – Design
Milan (Italy) – Literature
Morelia (Mexico) – Music
Norrköping (Sweden) – Music
Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) – Crafts and Folk Art
Panama City (Panama) – Gastronomy
Paraty (Brazil) – Gastronomy
Pesaro (Italy) – Music
Porto-Novo (Benin) – Crafts and Folk Art
Praia (Cabo Verde) – Music
Qingdao (China) – Film
Québec City (Canada) – Literature
San Antonio (United States of America) – Gastronomy
Seattle (United States of America) – Literature
Sheki (Azerbaijan) – Crafts and Folk Art
Sokodé (Togo) – Crafts and Folk Art
Terrassa (Spain) – Film
Tétouan (Morocco) – Crafts and Folk Art
Toronto (Canada) – Media Arts
Tunis (Tunisia) – Crafts and Folk Art
Utrecht (Netherlands) – Literature
Wuhan (China) – Design
Yamagata City (Japan) – Film
Since 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network highlights its members’ creativity within seven fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. It now counts a total of 180 cities in 72 countries.
While differing geographically, demographically or economically, all Creative Cities commit to develop and exchange innovative best practices to promote creative industries, strengthen participation in cultural life, and integrate culture into sustainable urban development policies.
Within the framework of the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda, the Network provides a platform for cities to demonstrate culture’s role as an enabler for building sustainable cities.
The next Annual Meeting of the Creative Cities Network is scheduled to take place in Krakow and Katowice (Poland) in June 2018. –UNESCO

She cooked for royalty and socialites including a future US president

On a recent summer day, Jossie Reyas, 77, sat on a bench outside a small food pantry in Woodside, Queens waiting her turn to get cans of beans, fruit, soup and vegetables.
Reyas, wearing frayed slippers and a faded floral blouse, was quiet and soft-spoken, but when asked about her life, she spun a tale of cooking for New York socialites, including a European countess and a future president of the United States.
She still keeps signed post-it notes, checks, menus, pictures and holiday cards from all of her employers. She keeps them in a plastic tote bag along with her flip phone and paper napkins.
One Christmas card, with cartoon angels and musical notes scattered across the front, reads: “Dear Josie, Thank you for your help this year. You do a great job and we certainly appreciate having you with us. Warm wishes for 1990! Mr. Mrs. Trump and Christopher.”
Born in the Philippines, Reyas was the oldest of eight children: three boys and five girls. In 1970, she studied business administration at Manila’s University of the East before moving to Madrid with her sisters. There she worked at the Denmark, Mexico and Uruguayan embassies.
The Countess of Romanones, Spain just happened to live across the street from the Uruguayan Embassy. One day the Countess recognized Reyas as a Filipina and asked if she would cook for her.
“Europeans love chicken adobo,” Reyas whispered.
It was there she heard of her father’s sudden death. Her parents were en route to the United States when he suffered a heart attack at the airport. Her mother handled the funeral arrangements before moving to America months later.
In 1986, Reyas’s mother summoned her to New York City saying, “it is time,” as the rest of her siblings had already moved. Reyas, in her mid-forties, dutifully obeyed.

In 1987, the Countess asked Reyas to cook for a private party she was hosting in New York. Reyas’s cooking, attention to detail and dedication to decoration garnered praise from the wealthy guests.
Soon, Reyas said, her services were requested by socialites such as Blaine Trump, Nancy Reagan, Mark Thatcher, Lally Weymouth, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Susan Hess, Betsy Bloomingdale and Vera Wang, among others.
Reyas even lived with Robert and Blaine Trump at Trump Plaza for six months during the construction of the Trump Taj Mahal in 1989. Robert’s older brother, Donald, and his family were frequent visitors.
“They are nice. Even Donald, even the children of Donald – simple,” Reyas said. “I don’t know why many people don’t like him.”
Several employers asked Reyas to move with them, but she declined every offer that would permanently take her away from Manhattan.
“I came here because of my mother. Why would I leave her?” Reyas said.
Reyas’s mother died in her Manhattan home in 1994, but Reyas doesn’t want to move back to the Philippines like her siblings. She hasn’t been back since 1975.
“They all go home when they get married because they have business in the Philippines,” Reyas said. “I did not get married. I stay here, that’s why. If I [got] married, [had] children and a family, then I [would have gone] home also.”
These days, Reyas says, she makes a meager living as a decorator, working only for select employers of her choosing.
“No more cooking,” Reyas said smiling. “ I cannot cook anymore. I’m old.”

Geisler's brother issues apology for QC incident

The brother of actor Baron Geisler has issued an apology for the incident on Monday evening in a resto-bar in Quezon City, according to the report of GMA News' Sandra Aguinaldo on "24 Oras."
"As family we would like to apologize for what's happening," said Donald David Geisler.
"Pero rest assured we will deal with this matter to get things right," he added.
The actor was charged with unjust vexation and alarm and scandal in inquest proceedings before the Quezon City Prosecutor's office on Tuesday for causing trouble in the resto-bar.
The actor had several skirmishes with the law in the past.
Baron Geisler figured in a vehicular accident in 2005 after he allegedly took the wheel from his driver while he was drunk, and was charged for acts of lasciviousness in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
In 2012, he was detained after allegedly punching a neighbor. Last year, he was removed from a movie and boycotted by the the Professional Artist Managers Inc. for urinating on actor Ping Medina during a movie shoot. — GMA News

Woody Allen reveals he only gets $35 allowance every 2 weeks

Woody Allen —Ruben V. Nepales
(First of two parts)
LOS ANGELES—One of the world’s greatest filmmakers only gets $35 allowance—not every week, but every two weeks—from his wife.
Woody Allen disclosed that—with glee, we should stress—when he gamely answered who’s the boss in his house. Is it him or his wife, Soon-Yi Previn?

“In my case, it’s unequivocally my wife,” began Woody, in one of his favorite attires—his frayed, old green sweater, checkered shirt, brown pants and shoes—at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park. Needless to say, our talk was peppered with constant laughter, in reaction to this cinematic genius’ witty quips.
The only somber moment came when we discussed the Harvey Weinstein sexual allegations.
“My wife has a very domineering, strong personality,” the quintessential New Yorker said. “She’s hypercompetent and I’m hyperincompetent. I can’t work the television set without calling her into the room. So, she clearly handles the money and runs the house.
“I get a small allowance, $35, every couple of weeks. I have in my pocket now what’s left of it. She’s the one who calls all the shots—and I’m fine with that.”
We couldn’t get over the fact that we get more allowance than this legendary auteur whose latest film, “Wonder Wheel,” stars Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Jim Belushi and Juno Temple (all very good). Well, by five dollars. We get 20 dollars a week, at least—not every two weeks.
Does he spend his allowance on the Yankees, of which he’s a fan? “I can’t afford the Yankees on my allowance,” Woody replied. He smiled as he said, “What I do with my allowance is, I leave my pants on the stool in the bathroom. I notice that my kids, on the way to school, occasionally come and take a five or a 10 (dollar bill). It gives me a thrill that they’re taking it.
“Then, I say to my wife, ‘I need money. I have to take a cab, or I have to tip a maître d’.’ But, I really let the kids gyp the money out of my pocket.”
We got curious about how his home looks like, as a result. Is it filled with whatever he collects?

“I’m not a collector at all,” came the quick answer. “I have no mementos of my work. There are no pictures of me with Kate Winslet or anyone. I don’t have programs from the theater or still shots from my movies. I just feel that once a movie is over, it’s gone.”
Woody stressed, “It’s not that I deliberately don’t have them. I was never interested in them. There are no traces (of my work). Someone once came over to my house, doing an interview with me and said, ‘You would never know what he did. It’s like the home of a literate lawyer.
“I don’t have DVDs of my movies. I wouldn’t know how to play them anyhow. In the library, there’s probably a copy of one or two of my books. It’s from apathy. I don’t look at my films, so I don’t need them. I don’t read my books, certainly.
“I’m giving my best shot all the time and if the public enjoys my film, I am thrilled. If they don’t, there’s nothing I can do.
“They have asked me at times to go on panels with Diane Keaton and Tony Roberts, where they would show ‘Annie Hall,’ and we would discuss it. I didn’t go because I don’t like living in the past all the time. You’re always talking about a film [made] 50 years ago and telling anecdotes about it.”
This Manhattanite who moonlights as a jazz clarinetist shared, “Another person writing about an interview with me wrote this sentence, ‘There are no great Woody Allen stories.’ I’m just not into any of that. I am interested in the Knicks, the Yankees, my clarinet, kids, wife…”
We begged to disagree about there being no great Woody Allen stories, of course. With his quotable answers and asides, Woody can inspire a thousand and one stories.
The bespectacled Brooklyn native quipped on the biggest misconception about him: “Probably that I am an intellectual. They think I’m an intellectual because I wear these glasses and that I am an artist because my films lose money. At home, I’m not upstairs with a book on Danish philosophy. It’s a great image, but it’s not me. That’s a misconception.
“And also, that I am a workaholic. They think all I do is work, but I don’t. I spend a lot of time fiddling with my clarinet, watching sports on television and taking walks with my wife. If anything, I’d say I’m lazy.”
For a lazy man, this 81-year-old has been prolific. He averages one new film each year. Last year, in addition to the film, “Café Society,” he also cranked out his first-ever TV series, “Crisis in Six Scenes.”
“Wonder Wheel,” his film this year, is an engrossing drama set in Coney Island in the 1950s that evokes the world of Blanche DuBois and Tennessee Williams.
Kate plays Ginny, a waitress who was once an actress; Justin is Mickey, a lifeguard who aspires to be a playwright; Jim is Ginny’s husband, Humpty, whom she resents; and Juno is Humpty’s daughter who’s being hunted by the mob.
Woody emphasized that “Wonder Wheel” isn’t his paean to Williams or “A Streetcar Named Desire.” “No, because I never do homage,” he asserted. “But everything I write, if it isn’t comedy, always has some ties to Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill. I see that all the time cropping up in my work.
“They say that the writer is every character in the story. I am a protective father, and I have a loving relationship with my two daughters. I can see myself as Justin’s character because I’m a writer who’d like to write like (August) Strindberg or O’Neill, but can’t.
“I can see myself as Kate’s character, always thinking that the next love affair or thing will turn my life around magically. But it doesn’t. Soon-Yi and I married 20 years ago. These have been the best 20 years of my life because of that. But I am all of those characters, for sure.”
(Conclusion on Sunday)
E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.

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