Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nominees for 16th SAG Awards

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabby Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Diane Kruger, Inglourious Basterds
Mo’Nique, Precious

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nominees for 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards


"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Up in the Air"

"(500) Days of Summer"
"The Hangover"
"It's Complicated"
"Julie & Julia"

Jeff Bridges - "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney - "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth - "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman - "Invictus"
Tobey Maguire - "Brothers"

Emily Blunt - "The Young Victoria"
Sandra Bullock - "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren - "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan - "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe - "Precious"

Matt Damon - "The Informant!"
Daniel Day-Lewis - "Nine"
Robert Downey Jr. - "Sherlock Holmes"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - "500 Days of Summer"
Michael Stuhlbarg - "A Serious Man"

Sandra Bullock - "The Proposal"
Marion Cotillard - "Nine"
Julia Roberts - "Duplicity"
Meryl Streep - "It's Complicated"
Meryl Streep - "Julie & Julia"

Kathryn Bigelow - "The Hurt Locker"
James Cameron - "Avatar"
Clint Eastwood - "Invictus"
Jason Reitman - "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino - "Inglourious Basterds"

Matt Damon - "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson - "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer - "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci - "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz - "Inglourious Basterds"

Penelope Cruz - "Nine"
Vera Farmiga - "Up in the Air"
Anna Kendrick - "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique - "Precious"
Julianne Moore - "A Single Man"

Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell - "District 9"
Mark Boal - "The Hurt Locker"
Nancy Meyers - "It's Complicated"
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner - "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino - "Inglourious Basterds"

"Baaria" (Italy) - Medusa Film; Summit Entertainment
"Broken Embraces" (Spain) - El Deseo SA; Sony Pictures Classics
"The Maid" (Chile) - Forastero; Elephant Eye Films
"A Prophet" (France) - Chic Films; Sony Pictures Classics
"The White Ribbon" (Germany) - Wega Films; Sony Pictures Classics

"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs"
"Fantastic Mr. Fox"
"The Princess and the Frog"

Michael Giacchino - "Up"
Marvin Hamlisch - "The Informant!"
James Horner - "Avatar"
Abel Korzeniowski - "A Single Man"
Karen O, Carter Burwell - "Where The Wild Things Are"

"Cinema Italiano" from "Nine" - Music & Lyrics by: Maury Yeston
"I Want to Come Home" from "Everybody's Fine" - Music & Lyrics by: Paul McCartney
"I Will See You" from "Avatar" - Music by: James Horner, Simon Franglen; Lyrics by: James Horner, Simon Franglen, Kuk Harrell
"The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart" - Music & Lyrics by: Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett
"Winter" from "Brothers" - Music by: U2; Lyrics by: Bono


"Big Love"
"Mad Men"
"True Blood"

"30 Rock"
"Modern Family"
"The Office"

Simon Baker - "The Mentalist"
Michael C. Hall - "Dexter"
Jon Hamm - "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie - "House"
Bill Paxton - "Big Love"

Glenn Close - "Damages"
January Jones - "Mad Men"
Julianna Margulies - "The Good Wife"
Anna Paquin - "True Blood"
Kyra Sedgwick - "The Closer"

Toni Collette - "United States of Tara"
Courteney Cox - "Cougar Town"
Edie Falco - "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey - "30 Rock"
Lea Michele - "Glee"

Alec Baldwin - "30 Rock"
Steve Carell - "The Office"
David Duchovny - "Californication"
Thomas Jane - "Hung"
Matthew Morrison - "Glee"

"Georgia O'Keeffe"
"Grey Gardens"
"Into the Storm"
"Little Dorrit"
"Taking Chance"

Kevin Bacon - "Taking Chance"
Kenneth Branagh - "Wallander: One Step Behind"
Chiwetel Ejiofor - "Endgame"
Brendan Gleeson - "Into The Storm"
Jeremy Irons - "Georgia O'Keeffe"

Joan Allen - "Georgia O'Keeffe"
Drew Barrymore - "Grey Gardens"
Jessica Lange - "Grey Gardens"
Anna Paquin - "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler"
Sigourney Weaver - "Prayers for Bobby"

Jane Adams - "Hung"
Rose Byrne - "Damages"
Jane Lynch - "Glee"
Janet McTeer - "Into The Storm"
Chloe Sevigny - "Big Love"

Michael Emerson - "Lost"
Neil Patrick Harris - "How I Met Your Mother"
William Hurt - "Damages"
John Lithgow - "Dexter"
Jeremy Piven - "Entourage"


Monday, December 14, 2009

Nominees for 15th Critics Choice Movie Awards


An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air


Jeff Bridges – “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney – “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth – “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman – “Invictus”
Viggo Mortensen – “The Road”
Jeremy Renner – “The Hurt Locker”


Emily Blunt – “The Young Victoria”
Sandra Bullock – “The Blind Side”
Carey Mulligan – “An Education”
Saoirse Ronan – “The Lovely Bones”
Gabourey Sidibe – “Precious”
Meryl Streep – “Julie & Julia”


Matt Damon – “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson – “The Messenger”
Christian McKay – “Me and Orson Welles”
Alfred Molina – “An Education”
Stanley Tucci – “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz – “Inglourious Basterds”


Marion Cotillard – “Nine”
Vera Farmiga – “Up in the Air”
Anna Kendrick – “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique – “Precious”
Julianne Moore – “A Single Man”
Samantha Morton – “The Messenger”


Jae Head – “The Blind Side”
Bailee Madison – “Brothers”
Max Records – “Where the Wild Things Are”
Saoirse Ronan – “The Lovely Bones”
Kodi Smit-McPhee – “The Road”


Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Up in the Air


Kathryn Bigelow – “The Hurt Locker”
James Cameron – “Avatar”
Lee Daniels – “Precious”
Clint Eastwood – “Invictus”
Jason Reitman – “Up in the Air”
Quentin Tarantino – “Inglourious Basterds”


Mark Boal – “The Hurt Locker”
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – “A Serious Man”
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber – “(500) Days Of Summer”
Bob Peterson, Peter Docter – “Up”
Quentin Tarantino – “Inglourious Basterds”


Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach – “Fantastic Mr. Fox”
Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell – “District 9”
Geoffrey Fletcher – “Precious”
Tom Ford, David Scearce – “A Single Man”
Nick Hornby – “An Education”
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner – “Up in the Air”


Barry Ackroyd – “The Hurt Locker”
Dion Beebe – “Nine”
Mauro Fiore – “Avatar”
Andrew Lesnie – “The Lovely Bones”
Robert Richardson – “Inglourious Basterds”


Dan Bishop – “A Single Man”
Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg – “Avatar”
John Myhre, Gordon Sim – “Nine”
Naomi Shohan, George De Titta Jr. – “The Lovely Bones”
David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds Wasco – “Inglourious Basterds”


Dana E. Glauberman – “Up in the Air”
Sally Menke – “Inglourious Basterds”
Bob Murawski, Chris Innis – “The Hurt Locker”
Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua, James Cameron – “Avatar”
Claire Simpson, Wyatt Smith – “Nine”


Colleen Atwood – “Nine”
Janet Patterson – “Bright Star”
Sandy Powell – “The Young Victoria”
Anna Sheppard – “Inglourious Basterds”
Casey Storm – “Where the Wild Things Are”


District 9
The Road
Star Trek


District 9
The Lovely Bones
Star Trek


District 9
The Hurt Locker
Star Trek


Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog


District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek


(500) Days of Summer
The Hangover
It’s Complicated
The Proposal


Gifted Hands
Grey Gardens
Into the Storm
Taking Chance


Broken Embraces
Coco Before Chanel
Red Cliff
Sin Nombre
The White Ribbon


Capitalism: A Love Story
The Cove
Food, Inc.
Michael Jackson’s This Is It


“All Is Love” – Karen O, Nick Zinner – “Where the Wild Things Are”
“Almost There” – Randy Newman – “The Princess and the Frog”
“Cinema Italiano” – Maury Yeston – “Nine”
“(I Want to) Come Home” – Paul McCartney – “Everybody’s Fine”
“The Weary Kind” – T Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham – “Crazy Heart”


Michael Giacchino – “Up”
Marvin Hamlisch – “The Informant!”
Randy Newman – “The Princess and the Frog”
Karen O, Carter Burwell – “Where the Wild Things Are”
Hans Zimmer – “Sherlock Holmes”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fantastic Mr. Fox and Avatar

Two prestige films have managed to sneak into Philippine cinemas before the annual Metro Manila Crap Fest. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Wes Anderson, based on the novel by Roald Dahl, is already showing in Glorietta, Greenbelt, and Trinoma, and I saw it yesterday. It is, indeed, fantastic. If you've seen a Wes Anderson film (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), you know what type of quirky zaniness to expect. Except this one's with foxes. And opossums, and badgers, and rats, and more...and the occasional human. I loved it. My only beef with it is that they capitalized the first letter of the species epithet in the scientific names of the animals, but that's just the biologist in me talking. The film-otaku is crazy for it. This is definitely a banner year for animation, with Coraline being another amazing offering this year and Up, Astro Boy, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Ponyo all being films playing on varying levels of "great."

James Cameron's Avatar will start showing on 17 December. I absolutely CANNOT wait to see it. Since hearing some three years ago about how revolutionary a film it's going to be, I've been eagerly awaiting it. Now more than a few critics have seen it, and they're raving about it. Of all the ones I've seen, here's my favorite (from awards-watcher Kristopher Tapley of, so it has a bit of an awards bent, but he's also more of a regular movie-goer like us than the Siskels and Eberts):

"The embargo on Avatar has been essentially lifted by Fox so I could go on at length about how I could sit through it over…and over…and over again. Anne and I will dig in properly in tomorrow’s Oscar Talk and I’m sure I’ll have a review at some point, maybe Monday. But a few things…

"The visual effects race, if you couldn’t guess already, is over and done with. In all likelihood, the sound races as well. And there is a compelling argument to be made for the film editing as well. But that’s the expected tech bliss the film delivers.

"Wait, let me not undersell that. This is the most amazing cinematic experience I’ve ever had. There are, admittedly, story elements that give one pause. The film isn’t total perfection (though I’d argue this is a very mature, thematically beautiful screenplay from James Cameron). The filmmaker can’t help himself in a number of instances that are too on the nose.

"But so what? Seriously. This is why we all go into dark rooms to be transported to other worlds. Cameron gets it. And he delivers. A thousand times over. It’s the kind of film you want to take any and everyone with you to see. Not to be too cheesy — it is absolute magic."

So I'm gonna line up for it on IMAX and would like to have as many people as possible watching it with me.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

National Board of Review 2009

Best Film:
Up In The Air

Top Eleven Films (In alphabetical order):
An Education
(500) Days Of Summer
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The Messenger
A Serious Man
Star Trek
Up In The Air
Where The Wild Things Are

Best Director:
Clint Eastwood, Invictus

Best Actor:
Morgan Freeman, Invictus and George Clooney, Up In The Air (tie)

Best Actress:
Carey Mulligan, An Education

Best Supporting Actor:
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Best Supporting Actress:
Anna Kendrick, Up In The Air

Best Foreign Film:
A Prophet

Best Documentary:
The Cove

Best Animated Feature:

Best Ensemble Cast:
It’s Complicated

Breakthrough Performance by an Actor:
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Breakthrough Performance by an Actress:
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

Spotlight Award for Best Directorial Debut:
Duncan Jones, Moon, Oren Moverman,
The Messenger and Marc Webb, (500) Days of Summer (tie)

Best Original Screenplay:
Joel & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up In The Air

Special Filmmaking Achievement Award:
Wes Anderson, The Fantastic Mr. Fox

William K. Everson Film History Award:
Jean Picker Firstenberg

NBR Freedom of Expression:
Burma Vj: Reporting From A Closed Country,
The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellseberg And The Pentagon Papers

Top Ten Independent Films (In alphabetical order):
District 9
Goodbye Solo
In The Loop
Me And Orson Welles
Two Lovers

Top Six Foreign Films (In alphabetical order):
The Maid
A Prophet
Song Of Sparrows
Three Monkeys
The White Ribbon

Top Six Documentary Films (In alphabetical order):
Burma Vj: Reporting From A Closed Country
The Cove
Food, Inc.
Good Hair
The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg And The Pentagon Papers

Thursday, November 19, 2009

15 Documentary Features Shortlisted

Beverly Hills, CA (November 18, 2009) — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 82nd Academy Awards®. Eighty-nine pictures had originally qualified in the category.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:

  • “The Beaches of Agnes,” Agnès Varda, director (Cine-Tamaris)
  • “Burma VJ,” Anders Østergaard, director (Magic Hour Films)
  • “The Cove,” Louie Psihoyos, director (Oceanic Preservation Society)
  • “Every Little Step,” James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo, directors (Endgame Entertainment)
  • “Facing Ali,” Pete McCormack, director (Network Films Inc.)
  • “Food, Inc.,” Robert Kenner, director (Robert Kenner Films)
  • “Garbage Dreams,” Mai Iskander, director (Iskander Films, Inc.)
  • “Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders,” Mark N. Hopkins, director (Red Floor Pictures LLC)
  • “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers,” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, directors (Kovno Communications)
  • “Mugabe and the White African,” Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey, directors (Arturi Films Limited)
  • “Sergio,” Greg Barker, director (Passion Pictures and Silverbridge Productions)
  • “Soundtrack for a Revolution,” Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, directors (Freedom Song Productions)
  • “Under Our Skin,” Andy Abrahams Wilson, director (Open Eye Pictures)
  • “Valentino The Last Emperor,” Matt Tyrnauer, director (Acolyte Films)
  • “Which Way Home,” Rebecca Cammisa, director (Mr. Mudd)

The Documentary Branch Screening Committee viewed all the eligible documentaries for the preliminary round of voting. Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Source Interview with Neustadter & Weber, Screenwriters of (500) Days of Summer

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

There Will Be Five

The Academy has declared 20 animated features eligible for the Oscar in that category, four more than the number required for us to see five nominees in this banner year for animation. Hooray! Here's the press release:

Beverly Hills, CA (November 11, 2009) — Twenty features have been submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 82nd Academy Awards®.

The 20 submitted features are:

“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”
“Astro Boy”
“Battle for Terra”
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”
“Disney's A Christmas Carol”
“The Dolphin – Story of a Dreamer”
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”
“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”
“Mary and Max”
“The Missing Lynx”
“Monsters vs. Aliens”
“Planet 51”
“The Princess and the Frog”
“The Secret of Kells”
“Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure”
“A Town Called Panic”

“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” “The Dolphin – Story of a Dreamer,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Planet 51,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “The Secret of Kells” and “A Town Called Panic” have not yet had their required Los Angeles qualifying run. Submitted features must fulfill the theatrical release requirements and meet all of the category’s other qualifying rules before they can advance in the voting process.

Under the rules for this category, a maximum of 5 features can be nominated in a year in which the field of eligible entries numbers at least 16.

Films submitted in the Animated Feature Film category also may qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture, provided they meet the requirements for those categories.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin to Host the 82nd Academy Awards

Interesting choice. Reminds me of their SNL skits together. This could be really fun. Here's the press release:

Beverly Hills, CA (November 3, 2009) — Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will serve as co-hosts of the 82nd Academy Awards®, Oscar telecast producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman announced today.

“We think the team of Steve and Alec are the perfect pair of hosts for the Oscars,” said Shankman and Mechanic. “Steve will bring the experience of having hosted the show in the past and Alec will be a completely fresh personality for this event.”

“I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy Alec Baldwin,” said Martin.

“I don’t play the banjo but I’m thrilled to be hosting the Oscars – it’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Baldwin.

Martin hosted the 73rd and 75th Academy Awards shows, earning an Emmy nomination for the first stint. He has also served as a presenter on the show several times, most recently at the ceremony in February when he appeared with Tina Fey. He is currently touring with the bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers in support of his latest album “The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo.” In 1977 and 1978 Martin won Grammys for Best Comedy Recording. He earned a third Grammy in 2001 in the Best Country Instrumental Performance category. In 2007 Martin earned a Kennedy Center Honor.

Baldwin was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003 for his supporting role in “The Cooler.” That year also marked his most recent appearance as a presenter on the show. Baldwin currently stars as Jack Donaghy on the comedy “30 Rock,” a role for which he has won two Emmys (in 2008 and 2009). Baldwin earned a Tony nomination in 1992 for his performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman to Produce Oscar Telecast

Beverly Hills, CA (October 20, 2009) — Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman will produce the 82nd Academy Awards® telecast, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced today. This will be the first major Oscar show involvement for both men.

“I couldn’t be happier to have this talented team on board,” said Sherak. “I’ve known Bill for many years so it’s like putting Oscar in the care of a dear friend. Bill has a tremendous love and respect of film and will draw from his vast experience as a producer, a studio executive and a film historian to help make this year’s Oscar telecast a memorable one. And Adam’s experience in producing, directing and especially choreography will be a huge asset to the production.”

“I’m thrilled to be producing the Oscars with Adam,” said Mechanic. “I think Adam has the perfect background and spirit to make the show both unique and fun to watch. Together we will build upon the best traditions from the great shows of the past while helping pave the way to the future.”

“The last time I was on the show was as a dancer, and to come back as a producer is such an unbelievable honor,” said Shankman. “I look forward to collaborating with Bill to celebrate the world’s collective love of movies and provide a fun escape from the difficult times we’re living in. Simply put, there is no show like the Oscars and I am thrilled to be a part of our industry’s most treasured tradition.”

Mechanic is the chairman and CEO of Pandemonium Films and the former chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. While at Fox, the studio released titles including “True Lies” (1994), “Braveheart” (1995), “Titanic” (1997), “The Full Monty” (1997), “There’s Something About Mary” (1998), “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999) and “Cast Away” (2000) among many others. Prior to Fox, he served in executive positions at the Walt Disney Company and Paramount. Mechanic’s producer credits include this year’s animated feature “Coraline” and the thriller “Dark Water” (2005).

Shankman’s directorial credits include “Bedtime Stories” (2008), “Hairspray” (2007), “A Walk To Remember” (2002) and “The Wedding Planner” (2001). His upcoming projects include “Rock of Ages,” “Sinbad,” “Bob: The Musical” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” In addition to directing, Shankman, along with his sister, Jennifer Gibgot, produce films through their shingle, Offspring Entertainment. Together they are currently producing “The Last Song,” “Going The Distance” and “Step Up 3D,” all set for 2010 release.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.


65 Countries to Compete for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar

Beverly Hills, CA (October 15, 2009) — Sixty-five countries have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 82nd Academy Awards®, Academy President Tom Sherak announced today. The 2009 submissions are:

Albania, “Alive!,” Artan Minarolli, director;
Argentina, “El Secreto de Sus Ojos,” Juan Jose Campanella, director;
Armenia, “Autumn of the Magician,” Rouben Kevorkov and Vaheh Kevorkov, directors;
Australia, “Samson & Delilah,” Warwick Thornton, director;
Austria, “For a Moment Freedom,” Arash T. Riahi, director;
Bangladesh, “Beyond the Circle,” Golam Rabbany Biplob, director;
Belgium, “The Misfortunates,” Felix van Groeningen, director;
Bolivia, “Zona Sur,” Juan Carlos Valdivia, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Nightguards,” Namik Kabil, director;
Brazil, “Time of Fear,” Sergio Rezende, director;
Bulgaria, “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner,” Stephan Komandarev, director;
Canada, “I Killed My Mother,” Xavier Dolan, director;
Chile, “Dawson, Isla 10,” Miguel Littin, director;
China, “Forever Enthralled,” Chen Kaige, director;
Colombia, “The Wind Journeys,” Ciro Guerra, director;
Croatia, “Donkey,” Antonio Nuic, director;
Cuba, “Fallen Gods,” Ernesto Daranas, director;
Czech Republic, “Protektor,” Marek Najbrt, director;
Denmark, “Terribly Happy,” Henrik Ruben Genz, director;
Estonia, “December Heat,” Asko Kase, director;
Finland, “Letters to Father Jacob,” Klaus Haro, director;
France, “Un Prophete,” Jacques Audiard, director;
Georgia, “The Other Bank,” George Ovashvili, director;
Germany, “The White Ribbon,” Michael Haneke, director;
Greece, “Slaves in Their Bonds,” Tony Lykouressis, director;
Hong Kong, “Prince of Tears,” Yonfan, director;
Hungary, “Chameleon,” Krisztina Goda, director;
Iceland, “Reykjavik-Rotterdam,” Oskar Jonasson, director;
India, “Harishchandrachi Factory,” Paresh Mokashi, director;
Indonesia, “Jamila and the President,” Ratna Sarumpaet;
Iran, “About Elly,” Asghar Farhadi, director;
Israel, “Ajami,” Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, director;
Italy, “Baaria,” Giuseppe Tornatore, director;
Japan, “Nobody to Watch over Me,” Ryoichi Kimizuka, director;
Kazakhstan, “Kelin,” Ermek Tursunov, director;
Korea, “Mother,” Joon-ho Bong, director;
Lithuania, “Vortex,” Gytis Luksas, director;
Luxembourg, “Refractaire,” Nicolas Steil, director;
Macedonia, “Wingless,” Ivo Trajkov, director;
Mexico, “Backyard,” Carlos Carrera, director;
Morocco, “Casanegra,” Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, director;
The Netherlands, “Winter in Wartime,” Martin Koolhoven, director;
Norway, “Max Manus,” Espen Sandberg and Joachim Roenning, directors;
Peru, “The Milk of Sorrow,” Claudia Llosa, director;
Philippines, “Grandpa Is Dead,” Soxie H. Topacio, director;
Poland, “Reverse,” Borys Lankosz, director;
Portugal, “Doomed Love,” Mario Barroso, director;
Puerto Rico, “Kabo and Platon,” Edmundo H. Rodriguez, director;
Romania, “Police, Adjective,” Corneliu Porumboiu, director;
Russia, “Ward No. 6,” Karen Shakhnazarov, director;
Serbia, “St. George Shoots the Dragon,” Srdjan Dragojevic, director;
Slovakia, “Broken Promise,” Jiri Chlumsky, director;
Slovenia, “Landscape No. 2,” Vinko Moderndorfer, director;
South Africa, “White Wedding,” Jann Turner, director;
Spain, “The Dancer and the Thief,” Fernando Trueba, director;
Sri Lanka, “The Road from Elephant Pass,” Chandran Rutnam;
Sweden, “Involuntary,” Ruben Ostlund, director;
Switzerland, “Home,” Ursula Meier, director;
Taiwan, “No Puedo Vivir sin Ti,” Leon Dai, director;
Thailand, “Best of Times,” Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, director;
Turkey, “I Saw the Sun,” Mahsun Kirmizigul, director;
United Kingdom, “Afghan Star,” Havana Marking, director;
Uruguay, “Bad Day for Fishing,” Alvaro Brechner, director;
Venezuela, “Libertador Morales, El Justiciero,” Efterpi Charalambidis, director;
Vietnam, “Don’t Burn It,” Dang Nhat Minh.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

11th Cinemanila International Film Festival

*click on the titles for the screening schedule


Lola (Philippines | 120min)


Himpapawid (Philippines | 107min)


Independencia (Philippines/Germany/France/Netherlands | 77min)

Mammoth (Sweden | 125min)
Ricky (France | 90min)
Tulpan (Kazakhstan | 100min)
Cheng Du, I Love You (China | 78min)
Samson and Delilah (Australia | 101min)
Hunger (UK | 96min)
Tony Manero (Chile/Brazil | 98min)
Pandora’s Box (Turkey/France/Germany/Belgium | 112min)
Milk of Sorrow (Peru | 95min)
Machan (Italy/Sri Lanka | 109min)

Mammoth (Sweden | 125min)

Ricky (France | 90min)

Tulpan (Kazakhstan | 100min)

Cheng Du, I Love You (China | 78min)

Samson and Delilah (Australia | 101min)

Hunger (UK | 96min)

Tony Manero (Chile/Brazil | 98min)

Pandora’s Box (Turkey/France/Germany/Belgium | 112min)

Milk of Sorrow (Peru | 95min)

Machan (Italy/Sri Lanka | 109min)


Bakal Boys (Philippines | 111min)

Jermal (Indonesia | 88min)

Talentime (Malaysia | 120min)

Woman on Fire Looks for Water (Malaysia | 75min)

Adrift (Vietnam | 110min)

Here (Singapore | 86min)

A Moment in June (Thailand | 106min)

Karaoke (Malaysia | 75min)


69 1/2 (Philippines | 80min)

Anacbanua (Philippines | 102min)

Ang Beerhouse (Philippines | 111min)

Biyaheng Lupa (Philippines | 90min)

Dolores (Philippines | 80min)

Iliw (Philippines | 104min)





Adam Resurrected (USA | 106min)

A Year Ago in Winter (Germany | 129min)

Baby Doll Night (Egypt | 180min)

Black Dynamite (USA | 90min)

Inglourious Basterds (USA |153min)

Let the Right One In (Sweden | 115min)

My Suicide (USA | 105min)

Engkwentro (Philippines | 60min)

Coco Avant Chanel (France | 105min)


Call If You Need Me (Malaysia | 104min)

Macabre (Indonesia/Singapore | 95min)

Caramel (Lebanon | 95min)

Waltz with Bashir (Israel | 90min)

Jeonju Digital Project 2009 (Korea/Japan/Philippines | 106min)

Passion (Japan | 122min)

My Magic (Singapore | 75min)

Beautiful (Korea | 88min)

Little Zizou (India | 111min)

Non-ko (Japan | 105min)


Milk of Sorrow (Peru | 96min)

Independencia (Philippines | 77min)

The Sky, the Earth and the Rain (Germany/France/Chile | 111min)

Pandora’s Box (Turkey | 112min)

Jermal (Indonesia | 88min)


Chavez (78min)

Lake Tahoe (89min)

Los Bastardos (90min)


Female Games (70min)

Flooding In The Time of Drought (68min)

My Magic (75min)

White Days (95min)

Here (86min)

Singapore Shorts


Chavez (Mexico | 80min)

How Green Was Our Valley (Iran | 32min)

Peeking Inside the Chungking Mansions (China | 15min)

Malaysian Gods (Malaysia | 70min)


Panahon Na



When Timawa Meets Delgado (as chosen by Oggs Cruz)

Serbis (as chosen by Bienvenido Lumbera)

Engkwentro (as chosen by Rolando Tolentino)


River of Dreams

Silent Odyssey

Dinig Sana Kita (Philippines | 122min)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Shortlisted Documentary Shorts

Beverly Hills, CA (October 9, 2009) — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that the field of Documentary Short Subject contenders for the 82nd Academy Awards® has been narrowed to eight films, of which three to five will earn Oscar® nominations.

Voters from the Academy’s Documentary Branch viewed this year’s 37 eligible entries and submitted their ballots to PricewaterhouseCoopers for tabulation.

The eight films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:

  • “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province,” Downtown Community Television Center, Inc.
  • “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner,” Just Media
  • “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant,” Community Media Productions
  • “Lt. Watada,” Chanlim Films
  • “Music by Prudence,” iThemba Productions, Inc.
  • “Rabbit a la Berlin,” MS Films
  • “Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak,” Outside Productions
  • “Woman Rebel,” Women Rebel Films

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wayans Replaces Murphy in Pryor Biopic

Will we be seeing one of the Wayans brothers getting an Oscar nomination soon, maybe even winning it? Marlon Wayans has replaced Eddie Murphy as comic legend Richard Pryor in the biopic to be directed by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, Dreamgirls). Next year's Oscar race just got more interesting.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Roman Polanski arrested in Switzerland

Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski has been arrested in Switzerland--where he is to be feted with a lifetime achievement award--for his decades-old child rape case.

Here's the news.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Film-Otaku: Finalist for the Philippine Blog Awards!

Film-Otaku is a finalist in the "Best Entertainment Blog" category of the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards! Thank you to the PBA selection committee!

Here is the link to the list of finalists in all the categories:

Pinoy Film Focus: Kinatay (2009)

(The Execution of P)

Director: Brillante Ma. Mendoza

Writer: Armando Lao

Cast: Coco Martin, Mercedes Cabral, Julio Diaz, Jhong Hilario, John Regala, Maria Isabel Lopez

Runtime: 105 minutes

Kinatay, the film that won Brillante Mendoza the Best Director award at this year's Cannes Film Festival, can be (and has been) called many things: indulgent, violent, in need of trimming, to name only a few. But one thing that cannot be said of it is that it is senseless.

Peping (Coco Martin), a criminology student and recently married, accepts the invitation of Abyong (Jhong Hilario) to join him in assisting Kap (a police captain; Julio Diaz) in an unexplained operation. Drawn by the need for money and other benefits that would come along with getting on Kap's good side, he accepts. What Peping does not know until it it too late for him to turn back is that it involves a long journey out of Manila with a kidnapped prostitute/junkie (Maria Isabel Lopez), who in the name of vengeance guised as justice is brutally abused and ultimately butchered. Peping is shocked by what he is made to go through, and he does not seem to be able to recover by film's end. His eyes are glazed, expression dead, and we know that the experience will for a long time haunt him.

The protracted trip out of Manila may be slightly overlong, though it is effective in setting a dark, chilling mood that would permeate until the end. It is thus with a sort of morbid anticipation that the viewer, having been made familiar with the primary plot of the film (it is difficult to think of a casual viewer going into a screening of this controversial film without prior knowledge of that), awaits the scenes of butchering. Peping knows--or at least has an idea of--what is about to happen, and so do we. Ultimately, those who expect unbearable amounts of blood would be disappointed, as the much-hyped scenes are not nearly as monstrous as we have been led to believe, but the tension, the sense of waiting, never dissipate...for both Peping and the audience. This power of the film rests in the unfortunate fact that these things do happen in the Philippines. Whereas foreign journalists are quick to dismiss the film and its contents as gratuitous and senseless, it is all too real for us.

The film is not an easy one to watch (much like Lars von Trier's Antichrist, this film's competition in Cannes), but there are rewards to be had for the effort. Notwithstanding the raw strength of the message and the images used to convey them, Brillante Mendoza has given us a film that shows that Filipino films and their makers could go places where many have not dared to go. May this challenge and motivate them to do so soon.

Image source

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Official: Ded Na Si Lolo is Philippine Entry

Ded na si Lolo, one of six films produced by APT Entertainment and the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) under its Sine Direk project, was chosen as the country’s entry to the Foreign Language Film category of the 82nd Oscar Awards scheduled next year.

The six-man committee, which was headed by National Artist for Film Eddie Romero, chose Ded na si Lolo (directed by Soxie Ropacio) over In My Life (directed by Olive Lamasan), a Vilma Santos starrer still being shown in local theatres.

Local films exhibited in theaters for at least seven consecutive days within the period of October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009 were eligible for selection.

Lola, a film by Cannes best director winner Dante Mendoza which was the country’s entry in the recent Venice Film Festival, started its theatrical run on Wednesday, September 23 though it was pre-screened by the FAP Oscar-committee upon the director and producer’s request.

FAP Director General Leo Martinez allowed the committee to review the film for consideration provided that if it would be selected, announcement will only be done on its first day of exhibition.

Lola, together with Jay (a Cinemalaya project), composed the final four that the committee trimmed down from its short list of 13 films

In the final voting, Ded na si Lolo won over In My Life with a 4-1 vote. The committee chairman could only vote in case of a tie in the voting.

The main cast of Ded na si Lolo includes Gina Alajar, Elizabeth Oropesa, Manilyn Reynes, Dick Israel, Roderick Paulate, Perla Bautista and BJ Forbes.

The production staff is composed of the following: Director-Writer Soxie Topacio; Cinematogapher Journaline Payonan; Editor Danny Anonuevo; Production Designer Edel Templo-nuevo; Costume Designer Luming Medrano; Music Composer Noel Cabangon; and Sound Mixer Joey Santos.

The FAP Oscar committee is composed of the following; National Artist for Film Eddie Romero, senior adviser of the Academy and also the chairman of the selection committee; Actor/Director Robert Arevalo, FAP adviser; Director Jose Carreon of the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI); Director William Mayo of the Philippine Motion Picture Directors’ Association (PMPDA); Manny Morfe of the Production Designers Guild of the Philippines (PDGP); and Director Elwood Perez, (PMPDA).

The nine other films considered by the committee were: Pitik Bulag (ALV Entertainment); The Last Viewing (Davis Entertainment); Kamoteng Kahoy (APT Entertainment); Concerto (Solito Arts Productions and Seiko Films); Baler (Viva Films); Bente (APT Enterainment); 100 Martinez-Rivera Films);Manila (MJM Productions and Bicycle Pictures); and Adela (Bicycle Pictures).


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ded Na Si Lolo: Philippine Entry to the Oscars

No official word yet from the Film Academy of the Philippines, but various web sources are reporting that Soxy Topacio's indie comedy film Ded Na Si Lolo (literal translation: Grandfather is Dead) has been selected as the entry of the Philippines to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 82nd Academy Awards. If this is true, FAP chose to ignore Lola, directed by Cannes winner Brillante Mendoza, shown recently in the Venezia, and generally praised critically. Ded Na Si Lolo has yet to be shown outside the Philippines or win any award here. Could this be another in the long line of careless selections made by the FAP? We'll see, but I'm personally not optimistic.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lars von Trier's Antichrist

It's a supremely beautiful film...but also monstrous and deeply unsettling.

Lars von Trier, one of my favorite filmmakers, has done it again.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Winners of the 66th Venice International Film Festival

Venezia 66
- Golden Lion for best film: Lebanon by Samuel MAOZ (Israel, France, Germany)
- Silver Lion for best director: Shirin NESHAT for the film Zanan Bedone Mardan (Women Without Men) (Germany, Austria, France)
- Special Jury Prize: Soul Kitchen by Fatih AKIN (Germany)
- Coppa Volpi for Best Actor: Colin FIRTH in the film A Single Man by Tom FORD (USA)
- Coppa Volpi for Best Actress: Ksenia RAPPOPORT in the film La doppia ora by Giuseppe CAPOTONDI (Italy)
- “Marcello Mastroianni” Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress: Jasmine TRINCA in the film Il grande sogno by Michele PLACIDO (Italy)
- "Osella" for Best Technical Contribution: Sylvie OLIVÉ for the film Mr. Nobody by Jaco VAN DORMAEL (France)
- "Osella" for Best Screenplay: Todd SOLONDZ for the film Life during Wartime by Todd SOLONDZ (USA)
- Orizzonti Prize to Engkwentro by Pepe Diokno (Philippines)
- Orizzonti Prize for Best documentary to 1428 by DU Haibin (China)
- Special Mention to Aadmi ki aurat aur anya kahaniya (The Man’s Woman and Other Stories) by Amit Dutta (India)
Controcampo Italiano
Controcampo Italiano Prize to: Cosmonauta by Susanna NICCHIARELLI (Italy)
Kodak will offer to the awarded director 40,000 euros in negative film stock - 35 or 16mm, chosen by the winner - to shoot a new feature film.
- Special Mention: Negli occhi by Daniele ANZELLOTTI and Francesco DEL GROSSO (Italy)

Corto Cortissimo (Prizes awarded on 10th September 2009)
- Corto Cortissimo Lion for Best Short Film to Eersgeborene (First Born) by Etienne Kallos (South Africa, USA)
- Venice Nomination to the European Film Awards 2009 to Sinner by Meni Philip (Israel)
- Special Mention to Felicità by Salomé Aleksi (Georgia)
“Luigi De Laurentiis” Award for a Debut Film
- Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film to Engkwentro by Pepe DIOKNO (Philippines) - ORIZZONTI
as well as a prize of 100,000 USD, donated by Filmauro, to be divided equally between director and producer

Persol 3-D Award for the Best 3-D Stereoscopic Film of the Year (Prize awarded on 11th September 2009)
- Persol 3-D Award: The Hole by Joe Dante (USA)


Friday, September 11, 2009

Open Letter to the FAP Oscar Committee

Dear Sirs:

Good day! We have been informed through an official press release on your website of the films shortlisted for consideration as the official Philippine entry for this year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

As a fan of Philippine cinema and the owner of the Film-Otaku blog, I had recently reviewed our country's submissions to the Oscars in this category over the years. I have written an article on it, which I have entitled "Why the Philippines Has No Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Nomination." Here is the link, in case you would like to read it:

As I have noted in the article, an aspect of the films being chosen from every year that FAP and the other bodies concerned with the selection have failed to utilize thus far is their presence and performance in international film festivals. While this is of course not the only basis for the quality of a film (and indeed at times the choice of a film as a competition entry in some in these festivals can be questionable at best), it is important in that it brings significant amount of attention to a certain film among the international film community, which is essentially what we are targeting when sending a film for contention in such an arena as the Oscars. A great performance, as reflected by actual awards or critical praise, would certainly be desired and much needed bonuses.

In light of this, I would like to recommend, in my humble capacity as a fan of cinema and blogger on film, and with no disrespect to the other films being considered, that your committee view and ultimately select Lola as our entry to the 2010 Oscars. I am certain that you are aware that it was in competition at the 66th Venice International Film Festival. Its director is no less than Brillante Mendoza. A controversial figure, surely, yet for good reason. He did, after all, win the Best Director prize in the recent Cannes Film Festival (though for another film). The international film community knows and respects Mendoza. Venezia has historically been a great starting point for films vying for Oscar consideration. And there is already at least one good review out online (the link:, with more critics said to be generally pleased with the film.

Timing is key. While we may not be able to select Kinatay as our entry (and indeed, one would have to be wary of making it our selection despite the Cannes win, given the Academy's general distaste for violence in this category), its director, now world-renowned, has another film among your options, and it has been screened in one of the largest and most important film festivals in the world. Additionally, Lola's plot dwells on very humanistic themes that tend to go over well with Academy voters. The fact that the central performances are by two veteran actresses may also likely appeal to a panel that is of generally more advanced age than voters in the major Oscar categories. Please consider taking advantage of these factors and give the Philippines a fighting chance in the Oscar category that we have long dreamed of being nominated for.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,

Ronald Allan L. Cruz

The Philippines Choosing Its Oscar Entry

An eight-man committee of the Film Academy of the Philippines began reviewing a short list of for the country’s entry to the best foreign language film category of the 82nd Oscar Awards scheduled next year.

Scheduled for showing on Wednesday, Sept. 9 are the films Pitik Bulag of ALV Entertainment and The Last Viewing of Davis Entertainment.

Aside from these two films, seven other films were recommended by the selection committee members for review while screening for three other films was requested by their producers.

These local films were exhibited in theaters for at least seven consecutive days within the period of October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009.

Included in the short list are the following films: Kamoteng Kahoy (APT Entertainment); The Last Viewing (David Enertainment); Concerto (Solito Arts Productions and Seiko Films); Ded na si Lolo (APT Entertainment); Baler (Viva Films); Jay (Pasion para Pelikula Productions); Bente (APT Enterainment) and 100 (Martinez-Rivera Films).

The films whose producers requested the committee to review are Lola (Centerstage productions); Manila (MJM Productions and Bicycle Pictures); and Adela (Bicycle Pictures).

The FAP Oscar committee is composed of the following; National Artist for Film Eddie Romero, senior adviser of the Academy and also the chairman of the selection committee; Actor/Director Robert Arevalo, FAP adviser; Director Jose Carreon of the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI); Johnny Delgado of the Actors Workshop Foundation; Director William Mayo of the Philippine Motion Picture Directors’ Association (PMPDA); Manny Morfe of the Production Designers Guild of the Philippines (PDGP); Jess Navarro of the United Film Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (UFEG); and Director Elwood Perez, PMPDA.

The list of committee members had been forwarded before the August 3, 2009 deadline to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which conducts the Oscar Award.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Surprise Films in Venice Competition

Werner Herzog's My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? and Brillante Mendoza's Lola have been announced as two Surprise Films in Competition at the 66th Venice International Film Festival. This brings to 25 the total number of films in competition, with Herzog having two.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

On Alexis Tioseco

Remembering Alexis A. Tioseco
(Feb. 11, 1981 - Sept. 1, 2009)
By Quark Henares
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last updated 23:11:00 09/04/2009

"SO," he said, holding up his fist as if he were holding a microphone – "what's your favorite Stanley Kubrick movie?"

I was thinking to myself, "Oh my God. And I thought I was a dork," as I stared in bewilderment at this tall and lanky teenager with short cropped hair who crouched in attention and periodically looked away while talking to me.

He would then follow his older brother Chris around as they interviewed up-and-coming filmmakers for an Inquirer 2bu special on new Philippine Cinema.

It was the summer of 200 – the first time I met Alexis Tioseco.

After that I'd see him around the 2bu offices, since we both became writers for the section. Fellow writers nicknamed him Ardie, since he supposedly resembled an aardvark. Without fail, every time I'd run into him he'd do the same thing. He'd hold his fist up and go.

"Mr. Henares! Top 5 John Hughes films?"

"Mr. Henares! Godfather 1 or 2?"

"Mr. Henares! `The Lord of The Rings' is boring! Would you agree or disagree?"

Soon after we became part of a group who would gather in this food arcade in Ortigas every Wednesday to drink beer and talk about cinema and other people (mostly just other people). Since we were all very creative we came up with the most creative name: The Wednesday Group.

This was where Alexis and I became friends, talking about everything from cinema to who the hottest girl in his then-campus UA&P was, to hip-hop music.

Around that time I released my first movie and found it touching how, being the very naïve college kid he was, he'd champion it in forums and message boards like PinoyDVD and Pinoy Exchange.

Even then you could see how much he loved cinema, writing away and making argument after argument about movies that were read by a total of 15 people.

And then he saw Lav Diaz's "Batang West Side," and his life was changed forever. Watching Lav's opus prompted him to lead a life dedicated to furthering and promoting Filipino film.

He wrote to film festivals and critics incessantly, asking them to watch certain movies he felt strongly about. He championed filmmakers like John Torres, Raya Martin (also a former 2bU correspondent - ed) and Sherad Sanchez before they made their first features.

I asked him once why he didn't pursue his dream of becoming a filmmaker. "This is where I can make a real difference," he told me. "There are already so many great filmmakers. Why try to be one of them when I can help make their work known?"

A few years ago Alexis's father, Boy Tioseco, passed away. His loving and warm family asked him to stay with them in Canada, where he had grown up. After all, he wasn't that interested in the family business anyway and he didn't really have anything to stay for in Manila.

He opted to stay, because he knew his place was here, and his work was here.

He loved Manila so much that he even convinced his girlfriend, fellow film critic and programmer from Slovenia, Nika Bohinc, to stay with him.

And this, to me, was a legendary love story – of two wonderful people who didn't grow up here and didn't have to stay, made a decision to live in this country despite everything it was because of their love for each other, and their love for cinema.

And this is how we repay them.


I haven't been able to sleep. This all just doesn't make sense in my head. People who commit suicide have an air of finality around them, like they were ready to die. People who are sick give us time to grieve a little and be ready for their exit. Alexis and Nika were living life to the full, making plans and literally changing the world.

You don't just end a film in the middle of Act 2. Even the vaguest, most challenging film by Alexis's beloved Apichatpong Weera- sethakul wouldn't have that. It's not proper storytelling, and it's not the right way for two wonderful people dedicated to its masterful art to say goodbye.

It's weird when someone you love is suddenly gone. You get these snippets of memories, remember insignificant details, and that's what gets you crying. In the past two days I've had so many flashbacks, and they usually involve Alexis and Nika being really happy – Alexis with that wide-eyed, mouth-opened smile, and Nika with her sly grin and raised eyebrow …

Reels of memory

Alexis is making Lia and I edit his "Amazing Race" audition tape. In it, he and our friend Chris Costello go "I'm Chris. ½ Irish, ½ Filipino." "I'm Alexis, ¼ Chilean, ¼ Italian, ½ Filipino." "Together, we make one full Filipino!"

Nika sees a bunch of giggly Assumptionistas screaming at each other next to her at Mag:Net. She turns her head, looks at me, and mimics their faces. I laugh uncontrollably. Every time we see each other after that we make that face.

Alexis is raving about chocolate polvoron. "I've had polvoron before," he tells me, "but have you tried this chocolate polvoron? It's ridiculous." A few months later this obsession is replaced with one for Boy Bawang. That kind of lasts for four years.

I'm at Alexis's house early in the morning for a Super Noypi shoot. I'm surprised to see him up and about. He sits on his father's bed and puts in an obscure Eastern European film. He brings out his notebook and starts making notes. This is at seven in the morning.

I catch Alexis and Nika buying tickets for "Drag Me To Hell." I run up behind them and start shouting, "Are you two buying tickets for a film that is supposed to be entertaining? !" There is a look of shame in Nika's face, followed by a defensive "We love all cinema, Quark," declaration from Alexis.

Nika is complaining about food poisoning. "Oh my God my best friend for two days was the toilet bowl." The cute little blonde then starts making vomiting motions.

I'm with Alexis and Cecile. After much prodding by Tioseco, we watch Godard's "Une Femme Est Une Femme." He ends up falling asleep. He always falls asleep.

I'm sitting in Alexis's class, filled with eager students excited about the hot teacher and about being able to watch films in school. He announces that the first film will be a two-hour silent by Murnau. There is a collective groan.

Last dinner

"Have you seen this thing on the Internet? Keyboard cat? It's crazy," Alexis says, eyes wide, getting ready to launch another one of his monologues. Nika rolls her eyes and says, "Oh no. This is not even funny." He then goes on to talk about a scene from the gameshow, "Where in The World is Carmen San Diego," and how Keyboard Cat expertly appears in the youtube vid to play off an annoying contestant. He may be internationally respected Alexis Tioseco, but to me he was still that lovable dork.

At the height of his career, when Alexis was already flying around the world to judge for festivals, hanging with his idol Jonathan Rosenbaum and maintaining the renowned Asian cinema website Criticine, we weren't really seeing eye to eye creatively. He called me a sellout during a public forum and also didn't agree with me joining the Metro Manila Film Festival. Normally this would cause a rift between friends, but it didn't affect our relationship in the slightest.

Later that day we still ended up exchanging names to stalk on Facebook and debating on whether Wong Kar Wai really deserved all that praise. I think it's because we both knew that the other was coming from a genuine love of cinema anyway, and that was the only thing that mattered, really. Alexis would go against all odds and fight the biggest names tooth and nail for what he believed in, and I'm proud he did that till the very end.

I told him once, when he started petitioning against the Metro Manila Film Festival back in 2005, "Ano ka ba [What's wrong with you], Alexis? Don't you know there's no hope for the film industry? "Wag na tayong maglokohan [Let's not kid each other]."

He answered, in his Canadian accent, "Hay naku [Oh], Quark. I will dedicate myself to changing your view on that."

And he did. He really did.

Thank you, Mr. Tioseco.

One of the few
By Philip Peckson
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last updated 23:16:00 09/04/2009

A LITTLE more than a year ago, I handled Alexis a draft of a film review I had written. I did so with pride for in this review I had powerfully exposed, I thought, the film's many failures. He liked some parts, recommended changes to several, but asked me this question: "Isn't it much harder to write about what you love than what you hate?" And then I stood like a man whose vanity has been called and worsens his shame because he envies the sincerity of another. Most critics love to criticize and a few criticize because they love something else. Alexis, you were one of the few.

Alexis the Great
By James Gabrillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last updated 23:13:00 09/04/2009

ONE of the greates minds of the day, a stem in the heartening flow of contemporary writing and criticism, has passed on. Last Tuesday, Alexis Tioseco and his partner Nika Bohinc were shot dead inside their Quezon City home.

Alexis, film critic and teacher, possessed a clear and remarkable voice that championed local culture. Brisk reviewing would never suffice for him: He surveyed the possibilities of the medium and always kept the crucial – instead of the trivial – at the center of his analyses.

But more than that, he was an immensely kind man with a talent for friendship. His colleagues and students describe him as a shy gentleman, but he always exuded a kind of warmth and exuberance for the people around him. He had a rare combination of ability and modesty.

Alexis promoted his fellow countrymen's reappraisal of their outlook on local film culture. The journey was never easy, but his tireless spirit was a reminder of the power of reason as a force for good.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that a writer "ought to write for the youth of his generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward." Anyone who reads Alexis' work comes away astonished by his intellect and taste. A number of us come away changed forever.

The flowering of true film criticism in the country is unimaginable without him. Then again, his writing spoke for the moment and beyond. So Alexis Tioseco may have died, but his words endure.

A world without Alexis
By Philbert Ortiz Dy
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last updated 23:14:00 09/04/2009

I WOULD like to talk about courage.

Despite us having many of the same friends and working in the same field, I met Alexis Tioseco only this year. It was January, in Rotterdam. We were both there for the festival; I as trainee of the young critics program, he as festival guest, as the accepted authority on the films of our region.

I told him I didn't know what to expect, and I was kind of scared. It's one thing to be panning the latest Joel Lamangan movie at home. It's another thing to suddenly be in an international film festival, talking with people who have a lot more experience and knowledge about film.

"Don't worry about it," he said.

Over the next few days, every time I ran into Alexis, he would be introducing me to another critic, another festival programmer, another obscure filmmaker whose work I had to see. He would introduce me by talking about my work. "He sat through Melancholia and blogged the entire thing," or "he did a set report on a Joel Lamangan film." And people would give a knowing chuckle, and let me into their circle. Alexis vouched for me, after all.

I do not know what I would've done without Alexis. Holed up in my hotel room, perhaps hiding from the Germans berating me for not having seen much Skolimowski, just trying to get through writing my festival reports, I could not imagine what it must have been like for Alexis just a few years ago, taking on this criticism thing all on his own, being sent to strange lands, having his opinions questioned, challenged and asked for by people with decades of experience above him.

We all know, of course, that Alexis did swimmingly, and that he had become one of the most respected and beloved critics of the region. Soft-spoken, eloquent, and so confident in what he had to say, Alexis easily won over the international critics' community.

Fighting for change

I would like to talk about courage.

A few months back, Erwin Romulo asked me if I could write a cover story for the Philippines Free Press about the Cinemalaya Film Festival. I told him there wasn't anything to write about, since Cinemalaya hadn't screened the films for the press.

Then he proposed I write an opinion piece about the failings of Cinemalaya, reassessing the festival's goals. I replied, "I could do that, but that sounds like Alexis territory."

See, while I have spent most of my career simply writing about movies, Alexis was the guy you'd go to for the bigger picture. He was the guy who would fix things, going after the systemic flaws of the industry as a whole. He once rallied some of the industry's top filmmakers to put their names on a position paper critical of what the Metro Manila Film Festival had begun. He's been the champion of our cinematic heritage, fighting for a way to keep prints of old films from disappearing completely.

And he'd been talking about the flaws of Cinemalaya long before I even became aware there were problems. Again, it was Alexis territory, and I feared encroaching on that space.

Erwin urged me to write it anyway. When it was published, Alexis made sure that it was read by everyone who mattered. He was interviewed on TV, and he kept quoting my article as if I had said things he couldn't have said any better.

But though I talked a good fight, I was never the one at the vanguard of the argument.

Alexis was. Everytime.

He stayed

I would like to talk about courage.

I always cringe a little when people talk about a senseless death, because it implies the existence of a sensible death, of which there is no such thing. Life, for all its drama and irony, is the sensible way to be.

Every death, be it noble, natural, random, painful or quick, is like a tear in the very fabric of our consciousness. There is a void left where a person used to be, and no level of understanding will ever make that better.

On the morning the news broke of Alexis and Nika's death, the term was used liberally. By it, of course, people meant that the circumstances of their death were by no means logical, that they could not trace a line between the previous events of the couple's lives that would lead them to such a horrible fate.

But even that is not accurate. The line is actually pretty clear.

They are gone because they stayed.

Alexis could've gone back to Canada, or used his credentials to get a job pretty much anywhere else in the world. He could've, like so many others, taken one look at the insurmountable tasks facing anyone who genuinely wants to change things in this country, and abandon it all for greener pastures, brighter shores.

And Nika could've stayed in Slovenia, closer to her family and everything she'd already worked for in her country.

But they were here. Out of love. Alexis stayed out of love for our cinema. Because there was so much he wanted to fight for, because he was brave enough to fight for all of it. And Nika, dear Nika, stayed out of love for Alexis, finding the courage to leave almost everything behind for a dreamer and his dreams.

Love gives us courage, after all.

I would like to talk about courage, because I am afraid of a world without Alexis. He was a colleague, an ally, a friend, someone who gave me courage to keep doing what I do, even if no one is listening.