MANILA, Philippines ? ?Astig,? a movie featuring a dozen mainstream actors and bankrolled by an equally popular producer, tops the box-office receipts in this year?s Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, according to unofficial results released on Friday by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) sales and accounts division.
GB Sampedro?s ?Astig,? a tale of tough guys resolved to survive the squalor and cruelty of life in Manila, sold the most number of tickets at 2,512 amounting to P137,890, according to the sales report sent to Inquirer Entertainment by Gemma Marco, officer in charge of CCP sales and accounts division. The report is based on ticket sales from the time the festival opened on July 17 to July 22, Marco said.
The movie, with popular actor Dennis Trillo playing the lead, also features Glaiza de Castro, Sid Lucero, Edgar Allan Guzman and Arnold Reyes. It also has cameo performances by Ai Ai de las Alas, Gardo Verzoza, Keana Reeves, and Boy Abunda, who happens to be one of the film?s executive producers.
?It?s possible that viewers became interested in ?Astig? because they want to see these popular actors. But a box-office hit is not necessarily the best movie in the competition,? said Jim Libiran, director of ?Tribu,? 2007 Cinemalaya Best Picture. The top-selling movie in 2007 was Aureaus Solito?s ?Pisay,? Libiran added.
Libiran, who also appears briefly in this year?s full-length entry ?Engkwentro,? said what happened to ?Astig? is an example of what he calls the ?vanilla ice cream syndrome.?
?We know how vanilla ice cream tastes like. We buy it to play safe. We don?t want to experiment on other flavors,? Libiran explained. ?I hope the audience would be open to watching the other entries.?
A close second is Mike Sandejas? ?Dinig Sana Kita,? featuring his daughter Zoe and deaf performer Rome Mallari. Pop-rock band Sugarfree also makes a special guest appearance.
The movie, about a deaf boy who loves to dance and a troubled rocker girl who abuses her hearing, sold a total of 2,080 tickets, amounting to P125,480, said Marco.
Placing third is Alvin Yapan?s ?Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe (The Rapture of Fe),? which sold 1,436 tickets at P77,040. The film, with award-winning actress Irma Adlawan playing the lead role, is co-produced by the Women?s Crisis Center.
Veronica Velasco and Jinky Laurel?s ?Last Supper No. 3,? the only comedy film in competition, is on fourth place. It earned P70,160 for 1,193 tickets sold for the first six days of the festival.
The movie, a humorous take at the circuitous path that our country?s legal system takes to justice, also features a cameo performance by award-winning actress Maricel Soriano.
On fifth place is Milo Sogueco?s ?Sanglaan,? a story on hope and redemption for people working in a pawnshop. It sold 992 tickets and earned P56,870. The movie stars Tessie Tomas, Ina Feleo, and Joem Bascon.
Jerrold Tarog?s ?Mangatyanan,? the story of a woman forced to confront her demons, is on sixth place. It earned P53,540 for the 862 tickets sold. It features Adlawan, Pen Medina, Che Ramos and Neil Ryan Sese.
Pepe Diokno?s youth-oriented movie ?Engkwentro,? featuring Felix Roco as lead actor, is on seventh place, with 810 tickets, amounting to P46,910.
?Colorum,? by Jobim Ballesteros, is on the eighth slot with 716 tickets sold at P41,080. The move that takes a look at the paradox of the human condition features Alfred Vargas and Lou Veloso.
Ranking ninth is Vic Acedillo Jr.?s ?Nerseri,? about a 12-year-old boy who takes care of his older siblings while his mother goes to the province to look for money to pay the hospital bills of her three mentally sick children. The movie, with Jaclyn Jose in the lead role, sold 616 tickets at P36,810.
On the bottom slot is Ana Agabin?s ?24K,? which sold 179 tickets at P11,430. The movie, about a middle-class treasure hunter digging for Japanese treasures in Ilocos, features Julio Diaz, Alcris Galura and Jojit Alonso.
Short films A, which is comprised of Mark Philipp Espina?s ?Behind Closed Doors,? Maita Lirra Lupac?s ?Hulagpos,? Dexter Cayanes? ?Musa,? Nico Hernandez?s ?Tatang,? Sandejas and Robert Sena?s ?Wat Floor Ma?am,? fared better than Shorts B. The former sold 630 tickets at P39,340.
Shorts B?Ariel Reyes? ?Ugat Sa Lupa,? Hubert Tibi?s ?Si Bok at ang Trumpo,? John Paul Seniel?s ?Latus,? Milo Tolentino?s ?Blogog? and Borgy Torre?s ?Bonsai?? earned P23,350 for 405 tickets sold.
Meanwhile, non-competing films under the category of ?Netpac premieres/LGBT/Indi Ani/Exhibitions? sold 2,215 and earned P148,320. These films include Seymour Barros Sanchez? ?Handumanan,? Adolf Alix Jr.?s ?Karera,? Solito?s ?Boy,? Felino Tanada?s ?Fausta,? and Mel Chionglo?s ?Bente,? among others.
Films belonging to the ?Kids Treats? category sold 2,121 tickets at P106,050. Movies under this category include Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil?s ?Boses,? Tara Illenberger?s ?Brutus,? Solito?s ?Pisay,? Real Florindo and Florida Bautista?s ?Saan Nagtatago Si Happiness?? and Clodualdo del Mundo?s ?Pepot Artista,? among others.