FROM THE OUTSET, QCinema has been chasing one lofty goal into reality. Undeterred by its grand ambitions — the festival’s tagline is “one city to the world” — the fest has been gaining some renown as it decides to expand its programming beyond Filipino films. Now on its tenth edition, the festival is the Philippines’ premier truly international film festival, curating for its in-competition categories a proper mix of voices from its native Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and so on.
This evolution in QCinema’s roster is brought in under their new competition banner, Asian Next Wave — a collection of eight exciting films from emerging Asian filmmaking visionaries. Jopy Arnaldo’s Gitling represents the Philippines alongside films like Tae-yang Kim’s Mimang, Patiparn Boontarig’s Solids by the Seashore, Amanda Nell Eu’s Tiger Stripes, and more.
Check out the full list of QCinema 2023 entries after the bump.
Drama | 2023, dir. Jin Ong | 🇲🇾
Abang and Adi are undocumented orphans living in present-day Malaysia. While the older brother, a deaf-mute, has resigned himself to a life of poverty, his younger sibling burns with indignation. A brutal accident upsets the fragile balance of their relationship.
Drama, Romance | 2023, dir. Jopy Arnaldo | 🇵🇭
Jamie just called off her engagement from the one person who was supposed to. Makoto ran away to the Philippines to escape his wife, who cheated on him two years ago. Their paths cross in Bacolod, where they work together and create Ilonggo subtitles for Makoto’s film. Together, as they go through the filmmaking process, they find solace in a friendship they never knew they needed.
Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell
Drama | 2023, dir. Pham Thien An | 🇻🇳🇫🇷🇸🇬🇪🇸
After his sister-in-law dies in a freak motorcycle accident in Saigon, Thien is bestowed the task of delivering her body to their countryside hometown, where he also takes his nephew Dao, who miraculously survived the crash. Amidst the mystical landscapes of rural Vietnam, Thien begins a search for his older brother, who vanished years ago, to hand Dao over to him – a journey that deeply questions his faith.
Last Shadow at First Light
Drama | 2023, dir. Nicole Midori Woodford | 🇮🇩🇵🇭🇯🇵🇸🇬🇸🇮
Ami, haunted by recurring apparitions, embarks on a journey from Singapore to Japan in search of her missing mother. Amidst the transforming landscapes, Ami’s dreams, hauntings, and lost mother unveil their true form.
Love is a Gun
Drama | 2023, dir. Hong-chi Lee | 🇹🇼🇭🇰
Sweet Potato (Lee Hong-chi) spent some years in prison for working for a syndicate. He’s trying to go straight, but his past keeps catching up with him, trying to draw him back into a violent life. Lee Hong-chi, known for his work in acting, makes his feature film writing and directing debut with a sensitive portrait of directionless youth in Taiwan, exploring the life of a young man who wants to find a better life for himself, but is unable to find the opportunities to do so.
Drama | 2023, dir. Kim Tae-yang | 🇰🇷
Follows a man and a woman (Ha Seong-guk and Lee Myung-ha) as they walk the streets of Seoul, a city that seems to keep changing as time goes by. Kim Tae-yang and cinematographer Kim Jin-hyeong turn Seoul’s streets into a magical, amorphous landscape, changing in the way that memories can change, even between people with deep connections to a place, a time, and each other.
Solids by the Seashore
Drama | 2023, dir. Patiparn Boontarig | 🇹🇭
In a corrupted southern Thai town struggling with its major environmental damage, a young Muslim woman faces an inner struggle against the imposing wall of her cultural and religious background as she develops a relationship with a female artist from out of town.
Horror | 2023, dir. Amanda Nell Eu | 🇲🇾🇹🇼🇫🇷🇩🇪🇳🇱🇶🇦🇸🇬🇮🇩
Zaffan, 12, lives in a small rural community in Malaysia. In complete puberty, she realizes that her body is changing alarmingly. Her friends turn away from her when a mass hysteria hits the school. Fear spreads, and a doctor intervenes to chase away the demon that haunts the girls. Like a tiger harassed and dislodged from its habitat, Zaffan decides to reveal its true nature, its fury, its rage, and its beauty.
QCinema 2023 happens from November 17 – 26, 2023, in select cinemas nationwide. If you’re planning to watch the screenings, make sure to check out Unreel’s one-page guide to QCinema 2023.