11 things to know about QCinema’s 11th edition this year

The QCinema International Film Festival is now on its 11th year, and it’s bigger, better and way cooler.

Slated to run from 17 to 29 November, QCinema 2023 promises an impressive festival program never before seen in the local film festival circuit, hence its theme: “Elevated.”

Here are 11 things to know about the 11th edition of QCinema.

1. 60 titles. This year’s fest has 10 sections, 60 films in total and three competition sections — to be screened in 10 days.
The screenings will be held at Gateway Mall, Robinsons Magnolia, UP Town Center, Shangri-La Plaza and Power Plant Mall.

2. Superb opening and closing films. The 11th edition will open with celebrated Greek Weird Wave auteur Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things, which won the Golden Lion (Best Film) at this year’s Venice Film Festival. This Frankenstein-like sexy dark comedy stars Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe.

The closing film will be Anthony Chen’s The Breaking Ice, the Singaporean entry for this year’s Oscars. Starring Zhou Dongyu, Liu Haoran and Qu Chuxiao, the romantic drama was selected for the Un Certain Regard section of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Chen will visit the Philippines and will be present during the screening.

PHOTOGRAPH courtesy of canopy pictures

3. Letterboxd partnership. Every single film lover is on Letterboxd, an online social movie-cataloging service. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s become even better with QCinema now on the platform, so one can easily follow all the news and happenings about this year’s fest.

It’s also the easiest way to track all of the fest’s 60 titles divided into 10 sections during the fest, so logging in the ones you’ve already seen will be hassle-free. Planning and plotting one’s choice of screenings will also be a breeze with the help of the app.

4. Young Film Critics Lab. The fest truly supports film criticism. This year it launched a new program called the Young Critics Lab, which has selected eight young people in the country to help refine their movie-reviewing skills and boost their budding careers in film journalism.

5. QCSEA: New competition section. Apart from its main competition section, the Asian Next Wave and QCShorts (the grant-giving section to Filipino filmmakers), QCinema has added a new competition section called the QCSEA, which will showcase 10 shorts from Southeast Asia.

6. Dazzling Screen International section. This year’s Screen International section is set to dazzle with delectable films: Venice Grand Jury Prize and FIPRESCI Award winner Evil Does not Exist by Ryusuke Hamaguchi; Cannes Jury Prize winner at the Palme d’Or Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismäki; Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Perfect Days by Wim Wenders; and Best Director winner The Taste of Things by Tran Anh Hung. 

 Also part of the section is Berlin Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize winner Afire by Christian Petzold, Andrew Haigh’s talked-about All of Us Strangers and Sweet Dreams by Ena Sendijarević.

7. Project market. QCinema is setting the stage for promising film projects in Asia to facilitate international coproduction and funding. An extension of the fest’s original grant program, QPM will be handing out cash grants to the best film projects in the Philippines and the rest of Asia.

8. Liza Diño as new executive director. This year, former FDCP chair Liza Dino joins QCinema as its new executive director, bringing with her years of expertise in and passion for cinema.

Speaking of experts, the fest will also hold an International Film Industry Conference co-organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines. The conference offers an international platform for talks from film experts and professionals. 

9. Documentary section is back. The fest is bringing back its documentary section — but now renamed “QCDox.” This year’s section will feature three exciting documentary films: Divine Factory by Joseph Mangat, Nowhere Near by Miko Revereza and National Anarchist: Lino Brocka by Khavn.

10. QC Film Commission. At the QCinema press conference, Mayor Joy Belmonte announced that Quezon City has opened a “one-stop shop” film commission office at city hall.

“We hope local — and even foreign — production companies will choose our city in which to make their projects. So, gusto talaga namin na may tanggapan na sa city hall, kung saan lahat ng mga filmmakers ay doon na lang pupunta, at kami na po ang mag-aasikaso ng lahat ng shooting needs ninyo, para mapadali ang buhay ninyo, hindi pabago-bago ang mga tao na kailangan ninyong kausapin, hindi rin maraming binabayaran na bayarin na wala namang resibo (We really want an office at city hall that will cater to filmmakers. We’ll take care of your shooting needs to help make your work easier, so you don’t have to talk to different people and pay so many fees without receipts),” the Mayor said, to enthusiastic applause.

11. ‘Garapata’ collaboration. QCinema’s merchandise will be designed by Dex Fernandez, the creator of the iconic street art character Garapata. The artist will “infest” the festival with his cool contemporary street and graffiti art. Save up for these merch and take home cool souvenirs from a truly “elevated” QCinema year.