Two Filipino Movies Selected for Competition at Osaka Asian Film Festival

OSAKA – The 19th Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF), scheduled to run from March 1 to 10, will feature two Filipino films making their Japan premiere and competing for top honors. Carl Joseph Papa’s “Iti Mapukpukaw (The Missing)” and Jopy Arnaldo’s “Gitling (Hyphen)” will vie against 12 other films for the Grand Prix and Most Promising Talent Award in the festival’s Competition section.

“Iti Mapukpukaw” is a Filipino-Ilocano animated film that stars Carlo Aquino, Gio Gahol, and Dolly de Leon. Recognized as the Best Film at the 2023 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, it has been selected as the Philippines’ official entry for the Best International Feature Film category at this year’s Oscars.

The film’s synopsis on the OAFF website describes Eric, an animator in Metro Manila, who, despite lacking a mouth, navigates life with a whiteboard and text. He, with a crush on coworker Carlo, appears set for a date until his mother, Rosalinda, interrupts, asking him to check on his missing uncle. A grim discovery ensues, leading to Eric’s abduction by an alien who had visited him in childhood.

On the other hand, “Gitling” tells the story of Japanese filmmaker Makoto and his translator Jamie, who find solace in their friendship during a film festival in Bacolod, escaping their respective relationship issues. Ken Yamamura and Gabby Padilla star in this narrative.

Meanwhile, the Japan-Philippines-Singapore co-production film “Blue Imagine,” directed by Urara Matsubayashi and featuring Filipino actresses Iana Bernardez and Stephanie Ariane, will have its Asian Premiere in the Indie Forum section of the festival. This youth drama explores the themes of women’s faith, solidarity, and conflict. - Florenda Corpuz

(Images courtesy of OAFF and ©Project 8 Projects)