Second Annual CINEMATOGRAFO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2018 returns November 8 – 11 to the AMC Kabuki 8 in San Francisco

This deceptively simple story unravels into a beautifully intricate portrait of small-town lives in isolation. Signal Rock depicts the villagers’ hopes and dreams shaped and tempered by the elements of nature, and will screen on Thursday, November 8, at 6:00 PM at AMC Kabuki. Go to for tickets.

Breaking Down Walls 

SAN FRANCISCO, October 31, 2018 — ABS-CBN is proud to announce the complete lineup of the 2018 Cinematografo International Film Festival. Events will return to San Francisco on NOVEMBER 8 – 11 at the AMC Kabuki 8 in Japantown.

Opening Night:  SIGNAL ROCK 
San Francisco Bay Area Premiere

The second edition of the festival will kick off renowned Filipino auteur Chito Roño’s SIGNAL ROCK, the official submission from The Philippines for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Academy Awards®. The film tells the story of Intoy (Christian Bables) who is left to care for his parents when his sister moved out to work overseas. He calls the remote island of Biri his home, wherein the only way he could contact his sister and the outside world is by taking his cellular phone and going up the strange rock formation known as “signal rock.”

The Debut tells the story of teenager Ben Mercado (Dante Basco) who comes to terms with his identity, heritage and what being a Filipino-American is all about all in one night. Go to for tickets.

Centerpiece: THE DEBUT Turns 18!
Special Anniversary Edition

Cinematografo is proud to launch the 18th anniversary screening of THE DEBUT, the first known Filipino American feature drama produced in the U.S., as the Centerpiece presentation. Gene Cajayon’s seminal film tells the story of teenager Ben Mercado (Dante Basco) who rejects his Filipino heritage. His contentious relationship with his immigrant father Roland comes to a head at his sister Rose’s 18th birthday party. In the span of one night, he comes to terms with his identity, heritage and what being a Filipino-American is all about.

Director Gene Cajayon and the cast are expected to attend. Preceding the program is a bonus screening of THE LITTLE FILM THAT COULD, a short documentary shot in 2001 that tracked the life of THE DEBUT as it toured on-the-road around the U.S.

The film was opening night presentation at both CAAMFest (known as SF International Asian American Film Festival) and Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 18 years ago.

The gripping thriller, A Land Imagined, from Singaporean filmmaker Yeo Siew Hua screens on Sunday, November 11 at 6:45 P.M. at the Kabuki 5. Go to for tickets.

Closing Night: A LAND IMAGINED 

True to their theme of “Breaking down Walls,” Cinematografo, is breaking down its programming walls to expand its reach beyond the borders of the Philippines and the U.S. As the second edition of the festival comes to a close, the festival will close with A LAND IMAGINED, winner of the top prize at the 2018 Locarno International Film Festival.The Singaporean drama examines the plight of migrant workers in a foreign land.

After a construction accident, a lonely worker from China goes missing at a Singapore land reclamation site. An insomniac police investigator tracks down the mystery of the missing migrant only to uncover more than he bargained for.

A LAND IMAGINED is preceded by the new documentary from New Zealand OBRERO by Norman Zafra.

Tribute to Visual Communications 

As the Los Angeles-based media arts organization prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in just over a year, Cinematografo is thrilled to honor VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS for its significant, lasting contributions to Filipino-American and Filipino culture and communities everywhere.

Visual Communications’ mission is to develop and support the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers and media artists who empower communities and challenge perspectives.  The organization is also home to the VC Vault, one of the largest photographic and moving image archives of Asian Pacific experiences in America.

Visual Communications amplifies the stories of AAPI communities, including championing Filipino and Filipino-American films and media.  In five decades, VC has produced classic works such as Linda Mabalot’s Manong (1978), Planting Roots (1984), Ugat Pilipino: Filipino Roots (1994).  Through its annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, VC has created a space to showcase films such as Lino Brocka’s Bayan Ko, Gene Cajayon’s The Debut, Ramona Diaz’ Motherland, and recently, PJ Raval’s Call Her Ganda.

This FREE PROGRAM honoring VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS includes a surprise SHORT FILM PROGRAM and HIGHLIGHTS of the media organization’s past five decades.

Cinematografo Originals
COMPLETED FILMS Special Programming
Feature and Short Film Co-Production Initiative
Presenting three feature films that were developed and co-produced through the inaugural initiative of Cinematografo Originals will be presented at this year’s 2018 festival:

H.P. Mendoza, 2018, USA, narrative

Drama del Rosario, 2017, USA, documentary

Cinematografo Originals 
(by invitation; not open to the public)

Feature and Short Film Co-Production Initiative
Cinematografo Originals is the festival’s initiative to discover, develop, nurture, co-finance, co-produce and showcase original films by emerging filmmakers.

Cinematografo Originals Pitch & Presentation Panel 
Presenting new film projects currently in production, three co-produced by Cinematografo Originals; additional surprise projects will be announced at the beginning of the program during which industry and potential distributors will have an opportunity to discover new films coming down the pipeline.

Additional Panels & Conversations

New panels for 2018 include: impact that Filipino-American films and makers continue to have on the political and social landscape of the world — including discourse on women filmmakers of color, leadership, colonial and economic

powers, climate change and ties between Asia-Pacific Island nations and cultures.

Forum Discussions
(open to the public FREE of charge, but ticket required)

Storytellers, Engagement, Global Impact

The screening of CALL HER GANDA will be followed immediately by a topical, dynamic PANEL DISCUSSION with its filmmakers (PJ Raval, Marty Syjuco), and joined in a conversation by the makers of other films that have recently ignited political and social storms: GIVE UP TOMORROW (Syjuco, Michael Collins) the Emmy-nominated 2011 film about the explosive trial of accused murderer Paco Larrañaga in the Philippines that has recently surged on several million social media circuits, creating renewed political interest in the case; DISINTEGRATION 93-96 (Miko Revereza), the cinematic, intimate visual essay about the filmmaker’s life as an ‘illegal alien’ observing his own personal disintegrating traditional family model.

The filmmakers will shine some light on their recent Filipino and Filipino American films that have made considerable impact on the socio-economic and geopolitical landscapes of the world. Whose voices are shouted from rooftops – who listens, who takes action – and whose lives are impacted?

Panel: Rewriting (Her)Story
Join us for a conversation on women of color in film and how the industry has changed in the past year. We move past gender politics and listen to personal stories of women on the ground whose struggles, until recently, have largely gone unnoticed. Diane Paragas, Zorinah Juan, Jess dela Merced and other women filmmakers will share their views, challenges and accomplishments.

Script to Screen: Financing Your Film

You’ve written your script. Now what?

International co-productions promote artistic collaborations, not only through financial support, but through creating partnerships and cultural exchange. Join us for a lively discussion with international producers from Europe and Asia as they talk about film markets, partnerships, and networking, and find out what exactly it is you need to get your film out there ready for the world.

Shorts Programs

The festival will present the following short programs that showcase a full, dynamic diverse range of stories from the Filipino diaspora around the world.

  • FILIPINX: LGBT/Queer Shorts (Total Program 107 min.) Showcasing diverse, tender, painful stories within the Filipinx and Filipinx American communities around the world, these films provide intimate looks into Queer Filipino life and love at all stages.
  • BY WAY OF AMERICA (Total Program 84 min.) Seven films from a variety of genres explore the daily lives of Filipino Americans and their personal experiences across evolving, modern, and often conflicted societies. Often hilarious, irreverent and occasionally heartbreaking, these gems hail from promising young storytellers, an emerging generation of Filipino-American talent not to be missed.
  • FROM THE MOTHERLAND (Total Program 87 min.) A diverse cross section of resilience, strength, compassion set in the Philippines showcase the lives and struggles of Filipinos living in a country grappling with change. This collection of work gives a rich voice to filmmakers confronting these issues in ways both touching and meaningful.

Additional Highlights

YIELD, a stunning, new ethnographic documentary by Victor Tagaro, Toshihiko Uryu, Philippines and Japan co-production.

YIELD documents the lives of nine children living in dire Third World conditions. Stonecutters April, Ariel, and Rommel are siblings living off selling rocks they hack off a menacing mountain.

Mikhail Red’s neo-noir thriller NEOMANILA, set in the in underbelly of Manila along the backdrop of President Duterte’s war on drugs.

RESPETO, a politically charged hip-hop mashup, filled with dazzling musical scenes and astute social commentary.

RESPETO creates unmistakable parallels between former Filipino dictators and the current regime in the country through rap.

CALL HER GANDA PJ Raval’s latest award-winning documentary that galvanizes a political uprising through the story of a trans-woman murdered by a U.S. Marine just beyond the walls of an American military base in The Philippines.

CALL HER GANDA is tells the story of Jennifer Laude, a Filipina trans-woman, who was brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine, and shows how one life galvanized a nation.

THE CLEANERS, Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck riveting portrait of the anonymous men and women in Manila who scrub the internet of obscene content.

CHEDENG & APPLE by Fatrick Tabada and Rae Red, a sold out hit at Frameline42 LGBTQ Film Festival – about two elderly, wise, willful women who take control of their lives and go on a poignant, hilarious road trip.

Bound by friendship, two elderly women, Chedeng (Gloria Diaz – left) and Apple (Elizabeth Oropesa – right), together with a severed head placed inside a Louis Vuitton bag, set off on a comical adventure in Fatrick Tabada and Rae Red’s absurdist black-comedy, CHEDENG AND APPLE.

Building on Cinematografo’s First Edition 2017
Its successful inaugural year exceeded organizers and public expectations, showcasing more than two dozen independent and international films, feature-length and short-subject docs and narratives from the U.S. and The Philippines, hosting more than 40 filmmaker and industry guests from N. America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region –  and turning the spotlight on Filipino-American filmmakers through its co-production initiative, Cinematografo Originals. 

A dynamic model of original film content developed and produced as a ‘Cinematografo Original,’ H.P. Mendoza’s newest feature BITTER MELON was platformed at one of several industry-focused workshops, pitch sessions and work-in-progress previews during the festival’s first edition, and recently premiered at CAAMFest 2018, followed by OutFest in July. Cinematografo 2018 is pleased to bring the film back to SF for an encore screening in this year’s edition.

A who’s who of Filipino, Filipino-American and Asian-American industry and filmmaker guests attended last year’s edition for screenings, industry panels, parties and pitch-presentations, and many are expected to return for the 2018 edition. They include: publicist and awards consultant David Magdael, Executive Director of Visual Communications Francis Cullado, producer and Sundance Film Festival programmer Ernesto Foronda, American Reframed series producer Carmen Vicencio, and film execs Malou Santos, Olivia Lamasan and Olivia de Jesus. Invited guests for 2018 include US and international filmmakers, industry tastemakers, distributors, film programmers and broadcasters.



About Cinematografo
The festival is named after ‘Cinematografo’ — the first movie theater in the Philippines, that opened in August of 1897. From this grand establishment was born a rich heritage of celebrating films and the venue introduced Filipinos to the custom of going to the movies. The new film festival in San Francisco aims to continue this tradition wherever Filipinos may be, and intends to draw in a wider audience of Asian American and independent cinephiles and movie lovers across the San Francisco Bay Area and internationally.

Cinematografo Originals
Delivering on its unique vision of ‘elevating talent’ to the international stage, the new banner was created to discover, develop, nurture, co-finance, co-produce and showcase original films in all genres. What started as a platform to

discover Filipino-American filmmaking talent has now evolved into supporting all emerging filmmakers regardless of race, belief or ethnic background.

ABS-CBN International
ABS-CBN International was founded in the U.S. in April 1994. Based in Daly City, California (San Francisco Bay Area), its flagship product, The Filipino Channel (TFC), made it the first and most successful Filipino content distribution company in the U.S. The company offers original Filipino content on cable, satellite, online audio and video streaming, IPTV, On Demand, live events, theatricals, retail, money remittance and cargo services, along with philanthropic support for Filipinos and the communities they now call home.


Pia Lopezbanos-Carrion

Corporate Affairs & PR

ABS-CBN International

2001 Junipero Serra Blvd, Suite 200

Daly City, CA 94014

[email protected]

Visit Link