Jun Robles Lana’s latest film “KALEL, 15” will have its World Premiere under the Official Selection programme of the 23rd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival on November 29, 2019 in Tallinn, Estonia. It is the only Filipino film in the official competition, and it will be up against 20 films from all over the world.
“KALEL, 15” tells the story of a teenager who is the son of a priest and is HIV positive, and how he has to make choices no child should ever have to make. It stars the late Eddie Garcia, Jaclyn Jose, Elijah Canlas, Elora Espano, and Gabby Padilla, and was co-produced by The IdeaFirst Company, Octobertrain Films, and Cignal Entertainment.
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TheIdeaFirst Company co-president and director-producer Perci Intalan is looking forward to showcasing their film in Northern Europe for the first time. He shared, “We’re very excited about the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival because this is the world premiere of ‘KALEL, 15.’ We chose to premiere here because this is Jun’s first film in this festival. We feel the audience and market in Tallinn would be right for our film.”
He expressed that their team is lucky because their producing partners at Cignal Entertainment understood the importance of the world premiere status and knew the significance of having a good festival strategy. “Like for most films, it’s always tricky because you submit the film and hope it will be shortlisted, but at the same time, you have to decide carefully to whom you will give your world or international premiere.”
Last September, director Jun Robles Lana shared a still from the film on Twitter. “This is the realization of a passion project almost 5 years in the making from the time I pitched it at the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum. Looking forward to our world premiere soon.”
Prior to having its world premiere in Tallin, the drama film participated in various events until it finally took shape to the film that it is now. Director Intalan said, “’KALEL, 15’ is a film that has been in development since 2014. It was part of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum in 2014 under the title ‘Our Father’ and again in 2019 (in the Work-In-Progress Lab) under the title ‘Son of God.’”
Representatives from “KALEL, 15” will be attending the Tallin Film Festival. According to Director Intalan, the team hopes to apply for travel assistance from the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the country’s national film agency. “Since we’re in the main competition and the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival is one of the few festivals where the main competition offers a wide range of awards that include Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Cinematography, traveling to Tallinn are our director Jun Robles Lana, our producer Ferdinand Lapuz, our cinematographer Carlo Mendoza, and our lead actor Elijah Canlas (who will be participating in an international film festival for the first time).”
Director Intalan also noted, “Jun has premiered films in Tokyo (‘Die Beautiful’ and ‘Barber’s Tales’) and in Karlovy Vary (‘Shadow Behind the Moon.’)” Director Lana’s previous films “Shadow Behind The Moon,” “Die Beautiful,” and “Barber’s Tales” brought home awards at various film festivals, including the 13th Pacific Meridian Film Festival, 20th International Film Festival of Kerala, and 29th Tokyo International Film Festival, among others.
“KALEL, 15”’s world premiere screening will be followed by a Q and A session with Jun Robles Lana, Elijah Canlas, Carlo Mendoza, and Ferdinand Lapuz.
Other Filipino Films Participating in the 23rd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
Aside from “KALEL, 15,” four other Filipino films are part of the lineups in Tallin Film Festival.
Cinemalaya 2019 Best Film “John Denver Trending” by Arden Rod Condez is the only Asian film in competition under its category and is set to have its European premiere under the Just Film Youth Competition programme, Tallin Film Fest’s biggest sub-festival. The Quantum Films-produced film stars newcomer Jansen Magpusao and Meryll Soriano.
On the other hand, “Mindanao” by Brillante Mendoza, which had its European premiere at Tallinn Film Festival last November 15, is part of the Signature section. The film was produced by Center Stage Productions, and it features Judy Ann Santos and Allen Dizon. It was also part of the programmes in the Busan International Film Festival, Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, Kolkata International Film Festival, and Cairo International Film Festival.
Meanwhile, after competing at the 32nd Tokyo International Film Festival, Paul Soriano’s “Mañanita” had its European premiere under the Rebels with a Cause Competition programme at Tallinn Film Festival last November 25. The film was written by celebrated filmmaker Lav Diaz and produced by Ten17P, and stars Bela Padilla and Ronnie Lazaro. Filipino audiences can anticipate for the film’s scheduled wide release in Philippine cinemas on December 4.
Completing the Filipino entries for Tallinn Film Festival is “Verdict,” Raymund Ribay Gutierrez’s feature debut which was produced by award-winning filmmaker Brillante Mendoza. It screened under the Festival’s Current Waves programme last November 16. The film features Max Eigenmann, the late Kristoffer King, Lourdes Javelosa-Indunan, Vincent Aureus, Jorden Suan, and Rene Durian, and was produced by Center Stage Productions and Films Boutique. It was also shown in Philippine cinemas last September during the third Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP).
The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival is the only competitive feature film festival in Northern Europe with the accreditation of International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), making it the only A-film festival in Northern Europe which shares the status with the world’s leading festivals, such as Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Karlovy Vary, Warsaw, and San Sebastian.
On the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival website, Festival Director Tiina Lokk said that the Festival aims “to find talented and strong films from amongst the whole world’s film production, to discover new films and filmmakers, and to promote smaller filmmaking countries that simply cannot otherwise get their foot in beside the renowned countries.”
The 23rd Black Nights Film Festival runs from November 15 to December 1, 2019 in Estonian cities of Tallinn and Tartu.