Tuesday, June 30, 2015

World Premieres Film Festival 2015: Senior citizens and cancelled screenings

I had a surprisingly good time yesterday (29th of June) at the World Premieres Film Festival venue in SM North Edsa, Quezon City, Philippines. I was among those waiting for the 3pm screening of Son of Mine at Cinema 2. The crowd out there entertained and made me guffawed loudly with their wisecracks and antics.

I was shocked to see a fairly good number of viewers at the orchestra part of the theater. Have we finally built up a sizable audience for indie films and international film festivals? It was a Monday afternoon and there they are scattered in the orchestra section.

Monday afternoon? O, okay. I realized soon enough that it was a Free Movie day for Quezon City senior citizens. Probably half of the audience availed of free movie tickets. A visual scan of the section shows a handful of elderly males already snoozing in their seats. I overheard a senior citizen ranting that most of the films he’d seen were rubbish. Yet, he keeps coming to movie houses.  Of course, free movies are hard to resist.

An observant senior citizen noticed an usher guiding patrons to their seats. He asked if there were seat numbers on the tickets. A fellow viewer showed him his number, which was O7. All along he thought it was 07. When he realized that his rightful seat was way up at the balcony section, he blurted out loud that he be allowed to stay seated at the orchestra section. He reasoned out that he is no longer a teenager and that his creaky knees may not withstand the hazards of going to the balcony. And in resigned tone, he asked ‘who thought of giving me my seat number anyway?” “You!’ came the resounding reply from amused viewers.

On the other hand, canceled screening is no laughing matter.  The usual suspects at film festivals and film events were there to watch the film An Kubo sa Kawayanan by Alvin Yapan. Film lovers, cinephiles, cineastes, bloggers, and critics shelled out hard-earned money and allotted valuable time to catch up on a potentially good Filipino film. From out of the blue, the film listed at the theatre booths says Son of Mine instead. I later learned that the SM Cinema group uploaded in their system films from an early sked. An irascible Diliman-based programmer was fuming mad over the mix-up.

The screening of Son of Mine didn’t push through either but the senior citizens I’ve met and seen at Cinema 2 made my day. Shining brightly among them is the wizened, weather-beaten Sergio (Lou Veloso) from the film Da Dog Show. The name of his dog, Habagat, says a lot about the problems he faces in his autumn years.