Film Fest 101

We are already more than halfway through the year which means Manila has already enjoyed 2-3 film fests, both foreign and local. For those of you who caught last month’s Eiga Sai and the French one before that, kudos to you!

We here in Planet Slate always want you to have an easier way of enjoying the things we enjoy – including film fests (we love them!) – so you guys can maximize on the fun parts. So, here’s a short list of tips and tricks when it comes to film fest tripping – warning: these are lessons we’ve learned from our festival misadventures.

Tip #1 – YEARLY SCHED
A slew of film festivals run throughout the year and the schedule is practically the same every year. So, you can more or less bank on a film fest on a given month and write it down on your (Slate) planner to remind you. Majority of the festivals are held during the latter part of the year (June-December).
January – Chinese Spring Film Festival
June – French Film Festival
July – Japanese Film Festival and Cinemalaya
August – Silent Film Festival
September – Cine Europa
October – Korean Horror Film Festival, Spanish Film Festival
November – Cinema 1 Originals
December – Cinemanila International

Tip #2 – FESTIVAL FESTIVAL
Most of the foreign film festivals are tied with other forms of festivals like music, stage performances, plays, workshops. This is because a film fest is just one way of celebrating a country’s relationship with the Philippines! So it might be a good idea to check out their websites or better yet, check out the Slate website for news as we strive to always update you of cool happenings.

Tip #3 – SUBTITLES
Almost all featured foreign films are shown in their native language and supplied with subtitles. So be ready to read away! Don’t forget your glasses if you need them!

Tip #4 – VENUE
Film festivals are usually shown here in Metro Manila and most often, venue is Shang Cineplex along EDSA. However, some festivals have subsequent screenings in other cinemas and film institutes. Other possible venues are Greenbelt, UP Diliman Film Institute, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Ayala Center Cinema Cebu, and Gaisano Grand Citimall Davao.

Tip #5 – ADMISSION
Most of the screenings have free admission but tickets cannot be reserved. Also, it’s a “one ticket per person” policy for most of them. Those who do have admission, a ticket can range from Php 70-200 or Php 700-1000 for bulk screenings.

Tip #6 – BE EARLY!
Since tickets are free and there are no reservations – that can mean LONG LINES. Trust us when we say lines can get pretty long and tickets are limited. If you really want to watch a film, you better be early. Based on experience, the trick is to line up 2 hours in advance since they give out tickets an hour before screening time. Just bring ammunitions to survive the semi-long wait (lots of stories and jokes, gadgets, reading material, food, etc.) or make it a productive wait if you’re in line with friends (plan your next vacation, quiz each other for a test).
Or you can just ask a friend to line up for you and just treat her to popcorn and soda for the good deed.

Tip #7 – SCREENINGS
A film festival can run from a span of 2 days to 2 weeks. Usually, there are 3-4 screenings in a day and the films will be repeated throughout the festival on different schedules. Also, the films almost always start on time.

Tip #8 – BRING FRIENDS
Personally, we think film festivals are best appreciated with friends who seem to enjoy this kind of thing (and you get to digest it with them after). But don’t judge right away – a friend might just surprise you and you might find yourself a new festival buddy! So invite your friends and have fun.

Tip #9 – CHECK OUT SLATE!
We don’t want to reveal too much so you get to relish the festival experience yourself. So be sure to check out Slate for updates, screenings, and other cool news. You can also check us out on Facebook! Who knows, we might even see you in one of the festivals!

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