With almost one year of existence this coming November 5, 2011 at Facebook, CINEPHILES! has become one of the most exciting destinations for all kinds of cinephiles: Filipino, half-Filipino and even an Indian cinephile named Vishal Verma! Aside from the unanimous interest of some of the active members to an eclectic array of films, from popular to more or less unseen films, it has also become an independent collective voice for the local independent film community here in the Philippines.


CINEPHILES have collected some of the best critics of Philippine cinema (Noel Vera, Oggs Cruz, Dodo Dayao, Arsenio Liao, Etchie Pingol, Mauro Tumbocon, Whammy Alcazaren, Manuel Pangaruy to name a few); emerging critics (Will Cabrera, Don Jacuian, Ira Lastrilla, Paolo Barazon to name a few); film authorities (Ronald Argueles of CinemaOne, Ramon Nocon of FDCP and SOFIA to name a two); film bloggers (Sani Ajero, Princess Kinoc, Queen Kinoc, Jo-Marie Bala, Jay-R Trinidad to name a few); film programmers (Chris Fajardo to name one); establish filmmakers, screenwriters, and technicians (Adolf Alix Jr., Khavn dela Cruz, Albert Banzon, Paulo Villaluna, "Redundante Mendoza", Alemberg Ang, Raymond Lee, Josel Garlitos to name a few); emerging filmmakers, screenwriters, and technicians (Sonny Lim, Epoy Deyto, Jzon Zulueta, Gino Santos, Jon Lazam, JP Carpio, Ramon Raquid, Jerome Morales to name a few); famous actors and actresses (Marife Necesito, Che Ramos to name a few), and the remaining deeply devoted cineastes who will die for the love of films. All of them have somewhat approximated the local film culture of not just Manila (since we have members all over the globe) but also current milieu of Filipino cinephilia, what Doug Cummings describe in his blog FILM JOURNEY four years ago as non-existent.

Just a little bit of history, CINEPHILES originated quite surprisingly from my irritation to the tagging game I played with some of my cinephile friends at Facebook, the game where you tag a post of your TOP 15 films to your 15 friends with different variations i.e. Top 15 LGBT Films, TOP 15 Filipino Films, TOP 15 Animated films. The lists went on and on and my wall got flooded. So I decided, one night, in between coffee breaks, why not make a facebook group for these guys? So I invited common tagging friends, I think there were 7 of them and they invited other film friends and the members got doubled, tripled and quadrupled overnight.

From time to time, some people walk out and some joined, and now with 498 members (active and inactive), the group has transformed itself from a harmless talk-a-talk film forum into an independent body giving, if not unsolicited, straight-from-heart, no-wooshy-hooey, even blunt commentary on local and international films which, to some people confided in me, have influenced outsider's point-of-view in films. Some have suggested the idea of making the group an official CRITICS' GROUP, an update of the now-aged Young Critics' Circle. But most of the CINEPHILES! chose not to muddle inside the complex world of the arts, celebrity gossips and the age-old onion-skinned attitude of the local film community to film criticism. They instead remained as what they are: a Facebook-based, stratified, eclectic, pluralist, informal and radical group nurturing and "destroying" each other, at their best intentions, via conversations, debates, and even gay-lingo crossfires about films and film-related gossips.

Occasional meet-ups were organized during film events such as festival and film screenings. Acquaintances became friendship and friendship became groupies. Somehow the trajectory of the group, as a result of pain-staking moderation and observance, aims towards the support of the local film industry, triumphantly championing independent and, occasionally, some good commercially released films of the studios. CINEPHILES! also converges towards the goal of reintroducing the younger Filipino audience to the classics of Philippine Cinema and old canonical films of other foreign countries, mostly European countries and the US. Film members also arrived at a commotion that there is a need to establish and nurture a Filipino audience who watches and appreciates Filipino films. CINEPHILES! have also received negative feedbacks and one of which is the air of elitism around it. Still in its infancy, the group grapples at establishing the available and most appropriate issues of the moment. I have never insisted the group to stop talking art films, avant-garde and exploitation films, nor did I encourage them to promote them. Each person has his own film experiences, and being a group itself, it is natural for someone to share these fleeting and sometimes, unforgettable moments with cinema.


Of course, we love any kind of film events around the Metro. And with 7th CINEMALAYA Independent Film Festival brewing last July to August of this year, some of our members have watched if not all, most of the CINEMALAYA 2011 films. We organized a poll to determine the top 10 CINEMALAYA films for this year. With twenty-two poll entries received, each of them casted their top 10 ranked votes. To determine the consolidated rank of the film, we get the average rannk of per film. To get the average rank, we sum the rank scores for each film and divide it with the total number of votes per film. The categories (New Breed, Directors' Showcase, Shorts, NETPAC, out of Competition) were also disregarded in ranking favoring new releases or premiere status over categories. The lowest average rank will be TOP 1, second lowest will be TOP 2 and so on.

And now, presenting the TOP 10 BEST FILMS OF CINEMALAYA 2011:

10 | Ligo na U, Lapit na Me | dir. Erick C. Salud | Ave Rank: 6.72 | Votes: 9

9 | Walang Katapusang Kwarto | dir. Emerson Reyes | AR: 6.5 | V: 6

8 | Ang Babae sa Septic Tank | dir. Marlon Rivera | AR: 5.10 | V: 15

7 | Boundary | dir. Benito Bautista | AR: 4.4 | V: 5

6 | Isda | dir. Adolf Alix Jr. | AR: 3.97 | V: 17

4.5 | Busong | dir. Auraeus Solito | AR: 3.94 | V: 17

4.5 | Amok | dir. Lawrence Fajardo | AR: 3.94 | V: 16

3 | Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa | dir. Alvin Yapan | AR: 3.62 | V: 19

2 | Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington | dir. Jade Castro | AR: 3.4 | V: 6

1 | Niño | dir. Loy Arcenas | AR: 2.41 | V: 17


Honorable Mentions
: Cuchera (Joseph Laban), Maskara (Laurice Guilien), Bahay Bata (Eduardo Roy Jr. & Jerome Zamora), Teoriya (Zurich Chan), Bisperas (Jeffrey Jeturian), Hanapbuhay (Gino M. Santos), i-Libings (Rommel Sales) , Immanuel (Grabriel Puyat), Gayuma (Alvin Yapan), Rakenrol (Quark Henares), Liberacion (Adolf Alix Jr.), San Lazaro (Wincy Ong), Nono (Milo Tolentino), Hazard (Mikhail Red), Un Diutay Mundo (Ana Carlyn V. Lim), Niño Bonito (Rommel Tolentino), Natural Phenomenon of Madness (Bebs Gohetia), Every Other Time (Gino M. Santos), Patikul (Joel Lamangan).

Congratulations to the films who made it to the top 10! This maybe a small poll from a small film group, but we sure have favorites that deserve to be publicized. Join CINEPHILES! now and get a chance to join the poll at the end of the year for TOP 20 BEST Filipino FILM of 2011!