Cinemalaya 2023 strives to illuminate; unveils new home

Happening from August 4th through 13th, the independent Filipino film festival moves to its new home, the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

After many years of presenting films virtually, Cinemalaya is reopening its doors to its throng of patrons eager to experience independent Philippine cinema. Carrying the year’s banner theme, ‘IlumiNasyon,’ the fest sets its sights on greater things, including a bigger space to showcase its films.

Cinemalaya has nestled at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) for its home, a handsome space with adequate amenities for the fest’s many screenings. This year, Cinemalaya is foregoing its iconic home for the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), a more expansive space with larger theaters that can hold thousands of moviegoers.

Going on its 19th year, Cinemalaya is set to program a breadth of new and established Filipino filmmaking voices, with ten full-length features and ten short films submitted for the official competition. This year’s volumes are vividly diverse; stories vary from lesbian romance to alien invasion. Our own Gian Arre debuts his first feature-length film. Meanwhile, this year’s shorts cast a family of zombies and sea creatures in a new, exciting light.

Scroll on after the jump to see the complete list of entries for both full-length features and short films at Cinemalaya 2023.

Cinemalaya 2023: Full-length films

Ang Duyan ng Magiting

Drama, Thriller | dir. Dustin Celestino

A collection of interwoven stories about life and violence in the Philippines, following a college professor, a university chancellor, a social worker, a police chief, two students, two mothers, and a lawyer. The film is an anthology of scenes among the protagonists, antagonists, and victims of war, terrorism, and politics in the country.

As If It’s True

Romance, Drama, Comedy | dir. John Rogers

A fading social media influencer and a struggling musician exploit each other in a not-so-fake relationship.

Bulawan Nga Usa

Drama | dir. Kenneth De La Cruz

After his beloved grandfather’s death, Makoy embarks on a soul-stirring expedition to a mystical mountain in search of the legendary golden deer that possesses the power to grant wishes. His journey takes an unexpected turn when he befriends a spirited young mountain boy who joins him in the quest for the mythical creature and self-discovery.


Drama, Romance | dir. Jopy Arnaldo

A young Filipina translator and a middle-aged Japanese director test the limits of language and discover the beauty of understanding during the unlikeliest of times: While creating subtitles for his film in a local Filipino dialect — Ilonggo — as they race to finish before the film’s Festival Premiere in the city of Bacolod.

Huling Palabas

Drama, Fantasy | dir. Ryan Espinosa Machado

In the summer of 2001, 16-year-old Andoy searches for his long-lost father in the most unlikely of things — VHS tapes. His reality becomes mystified when two movielike characters appear in their small hometown.

Iti Mapukpukaw

Animation, Drama, Romance, Science Fiction | dir. Carl Papa

When an alien comes back to take him, a mouthless young man’s life twists and turns as his memories untangle.


Documentary | dir. Sheryl Rose M. Andes

In the Philippines, where there is shrinking civic and democratic space; and a culture of impunity, three women named Maria are on the journey of seeking truth and fighting for justice.


Drama, Romance | dir. Samantha Lee

A tall, awkward teenager moves to a new town and is forced to join the volleyball team of her new all-girl Catholic high school. Everything changes when she falls for the volleyball team captain.


Drama, Romance, Thriller | dir. Gian Arre

After having a one-night stand, Eric and Kate discover that any kind of pain they inflict on themselves can be felt simultaneously by the other person. Slowly, with the balance of power upended, their relationship takes a dark turn.

When This is All Over

Drama, Music | dir. Kevin Mayuga

A disconnected desperate forges a deal with a group of privileged misfits to plan a secret party at the height of a global pandemic, for a chance to escape his reality.

Cinemalaya 2023: Short films

  • Ang Kining Binalaybay kag Ambahanon ko Para sa Imo (dir. Kent John Desamparado)
  • Golden Bells (dir. Kurt Soberano)
  • Hinakdal (dir. Alvin Belarmino)
  • Hm Hm Mhm (dir. Sam Villa-real, Kim Timan)
  • Kokuryo (dir. Diokno Manuel Dionisio)
  • Makoko sa Baybay (dir. Mike Cabarles)
  • Maudi nga Arapaap (dir. Daniel Magayon)
  • Sibuyas ni Perfectio (dir. Januar Yap)
  • Sota (dir. Mae Tanagon)
  • ‘Tong Adlaw nga Nag-snow sa Pinas (dir. Joshua Caesar Medroso)

Cinemalaya 2023 happens from August 4th – 11th, 2023 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay, Manila. We’ll keep you posted as updates become available.

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1 year ago
The theme this year is “ilumiNasyon.” =)

1 year ago
The theme this year is “ilumiNasyon.” =)