WPFF invigorates international cinema in Manila



Crustaceans, Our Hodja, and Autopsy of Love – these are some of the films that will be showcased in the first World Premieres Film Festival hosted by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

The first of its kind in Asia, the festival brings together over 40 films from 27 countries in various competitions and exhibitions over the span of ten days, beginning yesterday evening at the One Esplanade Event Center, where they held the festival’s opening night. The festival aims to highlight independent efforts from across the globe and bring these films to an audience that is clamoring for a growing number of film narratives, particularly in Asia.

“The Philippines’ first ever World Premieres Film Festival celebrates global cinema with global narratives,” says Briccio Santos, Chairman of the FDCP. He highlights the diversity that the film festival brings, saying, “Despite all of us coming from different countries, different ways of life and different socio-political circumstances, and despite the many changes the medium itself undergoes, film remains as one of the art forms that can mesmerize us all together.”

“The last time there was a festival of this grandeur was at the time of Marcos [and] of Old Manila,” explains Quintin Cu-Unjieng, head of the Media Desk of the FDCP.

The Philippines is proud to host the first incarnation of the festival, according to Santos. As one of the oldest film cultures in the region, the Philippines welcomes a number of prestigious filmmakers and actors, with many vying for the top prizes in two categories: the Main Competition and Cine Verde.

A total of eight films are competing in the festival’s Main Competition, with entries from Brazil, Ecuador, Iran, Turkey, and the Philippines. The jury includes various notable members and juries of the Cannes, Indonesia, and Hong Kong Film Festivals. The awards for the main competition are comprised of the Grand Festival Prize, the Grand Jury Prize, the Special Jury Prize, as well as awards for Best Performance by an Actor, Best Performance by an Actress, Best Artistic Contribution, Best Ensemble Production, and Technical Grand Prize.

Cine Verde, inspired by the ongoing global discussion on climate change and in light of recent events in Philippine history, showcases contemporary films that explore environmental themes. Film entries from Brazil, Canada, Iran, Italy, Spain, and Turkey are in the running for the Cine Verde Prize for Best Environmental Feature.

Aside from the two competitions, several collections of films are also featured in the festival. Among these are ASEAN Skies, featuring films from the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Nations; Euroview, showcasing European narratives; and Ibero America, featuring films from several Hispanic and South American countries.

“At the very core of each film is a real human story that we can all understand and relate to,” says Santos in his opening speech for the festival. “In this manner, the magic of film lies in our ability to communicate with each other and break cultural barriers.”

“Hopefully, the filipino audiences receive it well and enjoy it, so that next year’s festival will be even bigger,” says Cu-Unjieng.

All films will be screened in select cinemas in SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, SM Mall of Asia, SM Manila, and SM Sta. Mesa until July 8. A complete schedule of film screenings is available at their website: (link


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