Friday, December 18, 2015

A powerful cli-fi feature film from director Brillante Mendoza captures full fury of post-Yolanda recovery efforts

[REPOSTED from The Huffington Post UK website:]

by Bethan Forrest

The seats are only just cold, the china barely packed away and the carpets hardly swept from the close of COP21 climate summit in Paris, the supposed summit to end all climate summits, as 195 countries across the world came together to negotiate their first agreement on tackling climate change in 20 years. Much hullaballoo was made of the opportunity to place binding agreements and targets to strike at the heart of the issue of global warming; to manage, to reverse and to prevent. Like much other fanfare, it was premature, undeserved and much hollow talk left a painful familiar ringing in the ears. The agreement lacks legally binding directives, assures no firm penalties and guarantees no real resultant reduction in global CO2 emissions which, in turn, hastens the horror of global warming rather than mitigates its effects.

And how have those effects been displayed in the media? We're used to apocalyptic images of great melting ice caps and dried lakes but little of the human or emotional cost of those caught in the eye of the storms and their dreadful aftermath ever reaches us. The terrible power of these extreme weather events decimates not only the topography of the landscape but the landscape of people's lives. Yet the occasional, token depiction of these events in mainstream film seems to be little more than weather porn with a side pinch of story that ends as the noble politician determines to embark on a changed political direction or a family is reunited whole as the tsunami/typhoon/tornado subsides.

This does nothing to hammer home the reality of the dangers these weather changes pose to human populations and the genuine victims of increasingly severe climate events deserve a film that reflects the magnitude of such catastrophes. That's why instead of listening to the trite clichés of governments unhurried by the continued decline of our environment, we should be paying attention to creative products which more accurately reflect the immediacy and the grandiose horror of the threat to our communities.

''Taklub,'' the winner of the 2015 Cli-Fi Movie Awards for Best Picture is a devastatingly human and raw exploration of the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (called Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines) which hit Southeast Asia, causing particular destruction and death in the Philippines in 2013. The film is an intimate affair which focuses on how one family piece their lives back together.

The auteur at the helm is previous Cannes favorite Brillante Mendoza who receives the support of the Philippines government in forming this new work about disaster action.

While the idea of the British government directly financing a film about an issue as important as climate change would understandably raise a few eyebrows, this film appears to have escaped a level of dogmatism and propaganda about the subject, instead focusing on the inward torment of the people affected. Equally surprising as a piece of film financed by the government, the film also features Nora Aunor, a siren with gravitas and presence, celebrated in her own right in the Philippines and now on her second project with Mendoza.

This is not a straightforward moralistic piece of propaganda, these people are damaged and their lives not on a simple upward curve of improvement after the typhoon. Distributed debris of sentimental flotsam and jetsam hint at the life swept away with the waters, photos and keepsakes are strewn and abandoned and pain is etched along with bloody scars onto the Tacloban residents' faces.

Taklub highlights that the days which follow disasters are ones of fear, of poverty and of deprivation as ruined communities can no longer support themselves which is an issue much overlooked by the global elite. Climate change is not merely an immediate threat of dangerous phenomenon but a long-term and insidious catalyst for economic decline as our productivity and resources are laid to waste and we must assume an economic responsibility for those who are receiving the brunt of the force from the planet we've ruined. Through unnerving shots of young girls being ogled in the absence of their parents, Taklub hints at the dark underbelly of the crime that grows in poverty and the handheld camerawork goes a way to supporting the crushing claustrophobia of a world in decay.

The government here is no white knight saviour of these people - instead, acting as an useless mouthpiece telling people to relocate without providing alternatives - and tempers and grievances flow as the people grow evermore alone. This builds to a gritty crescendo without a sense of neat closure - indeed the opposite, as we sense that there are probably many communities that are another Taklub out in the world living these horrors.

Recipient of an Ecumenical Jury Prize at Cannes in May 2015, the film proves that one can make an intimate film that deals with large-scale and important issues in a way that still affords the opportunity for serious consideration in mainstream film and awards. Understated but gripping, moral without being preachy, the film demonstrates understanding of the spectrum of human emotion without melodramatically deifying the characters for their suffering. Taklub contains just the message we should be sending to the circus around COP21, that climate change action is about the prevention of suffering and not merely a war on the elements. It reinvigorates the debate around what we can do, what we should do and what we owe it to others to do.

Friday, July 31, 2015

2015 Cli-fi Movie Awards Winner ''TAKLUB'' to be screened at Gijon Film Festival in Spain in November

'Taklub' makes it to Gijon Int'l Film Fest in Spain [via tweet from director Mendoza]

Posted at 07/29/2015 5:14 PM | Updated as of 07/29/2015 5:17 PM

SPAIN – After winning the Ecumenical Jury Prize-Special Mention at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival last May and the 2015 Best Movie of the Year at the annual 2015 Cli Fi Movie Awards,, Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza's "Taklub" is still on a roll, this time competing at the Official Section of the Gijon International Film Festival in Asturias, Spain.
Starring Nora Aunor, the film is about the life of survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

The festival which will be held in November is famous for featuring independent films from around the world.

Last year, the festival invited Mendoza as its guest of honor.

Recently, his work was featured in a presentation by the Casa Asia in Barcelona.

TAKLUB was chosen as BEST MOVIE of the year in the 2015 CLI FI MOVIE AWARDS, dubbed the Cliffies.

Mendoza is considered as someone who continues the legacy of Lino Brocka, Kidlat Tahimik and other prominent directors who used their films to criticize social ills in the 70s.

Jorge Ivan Argiz, program director of the Gijon International Film Festival, said Mendoza doesn't surrender to what the market dictates. He maintains his identity as a director and continues to fight for cinema literacy and portrays reality.
Director Nacho Carballo of the Gijon International Film Festival added that Mendoza is a great filmmaker with fresh and unique films. Most importantly, his films tackle the real issues of Philippine society.
Aside from the praises he receives, the Filipino director knows how to interact with people, according to Gloria Fernandez, director of CineAsia, who wrote a book about him.
Mendoza is also behind the films "Masahista", "Foster Child", "Manoro", "Kinatay", "Lola", "Thy Womb", and many more. He said his stories are based on ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Report from Daniel Infante Tuaño, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

INTERVIEW: Honee Alipio, screenwriter for "Taklub" movie in the Philippines, starring Nora Aunor and directed by Brillante Mendoza

"Taklub" is a powerful cli fi movie directed by Brillante Mendoza in the Philippines, and was recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival where it won an Ecumenical Award for its humanitarin theme of climate change and communities coming together.
The movie won the Best Picture award at this 2015 Cli Fi Movie Awards, dubbed the Cliffies, and took awards on several other annual categories as well. The Best Screenplay award went to Honee Alipio for her script for "Taklub."
Wanting to know more about how Ms. Alipio went about preparing for her work on the movie and how she went about writing her screenplay, we reached out to her in Manila via email and asked a few questions about the screenwriting process and "Taklub." She graciously replied in Internet time, and here are excerpts from her answers:
  1. DAN BLOOM: Writing a screenplay is in many ways a team effort, because your words will be spoken by the actors in their own inflection and nuance and your words will be filmed by the cameraman in his or her own hand-held camera way, and your words will be given to the actors to speak under the directorial supervision of Director tell to start work on the screenplay and in the end how many pages did it come in at, if you can say, like 100 pages or 160 pages. And did you write the screenplay in English or Tagalog?

  • The script was 75 pages with 93 sequences.
  • I wrote the screenplay in Filipino.
  • I went to Tacloban City three  times to reseach, interview references, and observe the human, cultural and communal behavior of the survivors. I was then at the time working as a full-time communications specialist in one of USAID projects on family health. I only had weekends and extra work leaves to fly to Tacloban City.
  • My first visit to Taclonban was to research on the overarching situation of the people, the political scenario, the roles of the civil society, non-goverment organizations, church and local media. I also interviewed several survivors for possible subjects/referents, specifically mothers who lost their children and husbands. Later on I realized that the magnanimity of the havoc brought by Supertyphoon Yolanda in November 2013 could not suffice to only one story, it should be a story of a community. When I got back to Manila I told my mentor (and creative consultant for ''Taklub'') Armando “Bing” Lao and Direk Dante that the story could represent each survivors who lost their reciprocals - that is to say: a mother who lost her children, a husband who lost his wife, a son (with siblings) lost their parents. They gave me the greenlight to proceeed.
  • My 2nd research visit to Tacloban was to interview 2 references (which would be the characters in the movie named Larry and Bebeth), to study the geography aof the area and go to transitional sites, government institutions.
  • My 3rd research trip was to interview 2 more references (which would be Erwin and Kagawad/Councilor’s), and there I also bumped into one Tzu Chi volunteers activity, went to more locations.
  • For me, half of the bulk of screenwriting is researching and another half for the creative processing of the facts.
DAN BLOOM: When you write a screenplay, like for ''TAKLUB'', how much back and forth meetings and conferences did you have with director Mendoza, in order to get the story and dialogue right?

  • Together with my mentor and Director Mendoza, we would meet for every dramatic act that iIfinished (usually on a Sunday and this went on for 4 times). We discussed about the design per act, logic, drama, engagements with the institutions, rhetoric, etc.
  • Direk Dante was always there during the discussions providing insights and inserting some considerations or requirements but he never meddled with my writing process. He didn’t even read the drafts until my last revisions, and for his patience I thank him and I admire him for allowing me to fully write in peace, without any bias to his feelings or ideas.
  • The dialogues were not really an issue, we never discussed about the dialogues which were just almost an ad-lib, common, either driven physiologically or ecologically. Well, except for some scenes where i needed to put dialogues that are intentional for the character.
DAN BLOOM: Did you also write in the screenplay such notes as "CAMERA INSTRUCTIONS" such as close ups, pan left, cue music, or did you leave all those things to director Mendoza as he shot the movie on set and on location?
  • I did not provide camera instructions. That was all up to Direk Dante on how he would interpret the scenes based on the message/rhetoric that the scene wishes to assert. Also, descriptions were given to suggest or cue the director/camera that scenes/objects need to be close-up, wide shot, etc.

  • The diegetic music or songs (through radio and live singing) were used as a design in the script to interconnect the lives of the 3 main characters.
DAN BLOOM: The movie began with an idea. Not a documentary but a feature movie. Not an advocacy film per se, but somewhat like an advocacy feature film, sponsored and funded by the government. When Mr Mendoza first approched you about doing the screenplay, what was you initial reaction?
Of course I was excited and honored. The story of the survivors of SuperTyphoon Yolanda in 2013 is something that is absolutely part of the Philippine history, something that not only Filipinos but all of  humanity must remember and learn from the repercussions of neglecting the warnings of the nature, and therefore it is something thatI  wanted to give my best. Prior to that, I also got involved with two documentary projects on the Yolanda aftermath, and media training on disaster risk reduction in Tacloban through Peace and Conflict Journalism Network (PECOJON). So when Direk Dante said that I was being commissioned to write an ''advocacy film'' in a narrative form, I accepted the proposal because i knew my experiences in fieldwork, being grounded to the community, and being trained for social realism screenwriting would surely help me deliver ''Taklub'' on time and on message.
DAN BLOOM: Did you ever work with Mr Mendoza before on any earlier films? 
HONEE ALIPIO: This was the first time I worked with Director Mendonza. It was an honor.
DAN BLOOM: During the shooting, were you there on set every day, too, to write new dialog as the case might come up or did you stay back in Manila and just answer questions that Mr Mendoza might have had by telephone or emall or text? How did you work during the actual filimg?
  • I only stayed for 4 days during the shoot since I needed to get back to my regular day job in Manila.  Anyway, there were only few changes that came up, and Direk Dante and I share the same approach of story-telling which is ‘found story’ or rooted at social realism, so any commutation that he did wouldn’t ward away from the context of the sequences or script as a whole. And although Direk Dante  knows what alternatives he can replace (objects, scenes, etc) but he would still call and consult me as courtesy to being the writer.
DAN BLOOM: In the movie, Filipina actress Glenda Kennedy plays the role of a Tzu Chi volunteer. What was her role in the movie in terms of the theme of post-disaster recovery and resilience?
Ms. Kennedy’s role was as a local Tzu Chi volunteer facilitating the counting of donations and inspections of the  tent city.

DAN BLOOM: Sierra, the little girl who celebrates her birthday in the makeshift hut in the movie, I heard she is a non-professional actor. And a very good one, quite natural. As you know, she won the BEST CHILD ACTOR award for the 2015 CLI FI MOVIE AWARDS because we wanted to celebrate children as the next generation as climate change advances and gets worse in the future. When you wrote Sierra's part, did you talk to her beforehand at all, or did you meet her first time on set? How did Director Mendoza find her and cast her?  And what is the name of the girl she plays in the movie. I LOVED that scence when they sing happy birthday to her! THAT touched me.
I only met Sierra during the shoot. Zander was our casting manager and Direk Dante auditioned her for the role. She played the role of Erwin’s youngest sister in the movie.
DAN BLOOM:  The famous actress Nora Aunor, of course, is amazing and wonderful. Did you write the script with her in mind specificially or did her casting come later? And if you did write it with her in mind, in what way did you write it for Nora knowing her power in cinema and her past performances -- Ate Guy?
  • Direk Dante told me beforehand that he had Ms. Nora Aunor in mind as the main character which added to my excitement as it was my dream to write a screenplay that stars the Philippine cinema icon. My real-life referent to Bebeth embodies characteristics that Nora can surely deliver. Yes, I had Nora in mind while writing the script (together with Julio Diaz and Lou Veloso), it helped me see what they do, how they would behave, make their emotions photographable through, etc.
  • When I was asked by Direk Dante and Sir Bing who I might want to play the character should Nora Aunor not be avaible for the film, I had to say that I honestly couldn’t give the name of any alternative actress that I thought could deliver justice to the character of Bebeth. There are have ''name names'' in the Philippines film and TV industry that could it off, but I think no one can perfectly blend-in with the community, knows the operation of the day-to-day lives of the masses, and top it with suitable acting mechanics better than Nora herself. She was perfect for the role.
DAN BLOOM: In your mind and your point of view, what part of the script was the most powerful and meaningful to you, as sa criptwriter, which scene or scenes specifically and why?
Every scene that the characters attempt to empower themselves to face the institutions, and equally for every scene that the characters enfeeble themselves from desperation.
DAN BLOOM: And which part or scenes in the final movie on the screen most resonate with you as both screenwriter and human being?
 For me, the scenes where the characters engage themselves to each other as a social being. That when catastrophies like SuperTyphoon Yolanda hit us, and have taken almost everything from us -- including our loved ones and what little faith we have left, we still give and gather strength from the people around us. We managed to keep hope alive because somebody was in need of us, let alone that fact that mourning and grieving take time to wallow in, but for sure we will get back on our feet!

DAN BLOOM: We gave the BEST SCREENWRITER award to you for this year's 2015 ''CLIFFIES'' -- last year it went to the screenwriters of NOAH movie directed by Darren Aronofsky of which he was one of the two writers -- because you wrote a powerful story! And ....with the COP21 U.N. climate meeting coming up in late Novemeber, we wanted to draw worldwide attention to your movie and your script in hopes of maybe serving as a wake up call to world leaders. So yes, your little movie made in the Philippines is a worldwide wake up call, that is how good it is! Of course, ''TAKLUB'' is not about climate change exactly, it is about post disaster YOLANDA recovery and the resilience of the people of the Philippines. But in a way it is also a climate movie, and that is why it caught my attention as the BEST CLI FI Movie of 2015, better than anything from Hollywood or Europe. So congratuatlions.
How does getting a CLIFFIE feel?
I am truly happy and grateful for being awarded as the best screenwriter for a Cliffie in 2015. I hope that the film indeed serves as a springboard to recognize the need to do something about Climate Change and to protect our environment. ''Taklub'' is designed for that, and as a screenwriter I intentionally emphasized on what fire, water, and Earth can do to magnanimously affect the economic, social, political lives and even the foundation of faith of humans.
DAN BLOOM: Anything else you want to say to readers about how a scriptwriter goes about crafting a story in collaboration with a team of director/crew/casting director/cameraman/actors, PR and marketing/ sponsors?
As a screenwriter, first, I give most importance to respecting the lives of the references and the people whom I interviewed in my research for the movie. With this, screenplays will always show sensitivity to the characters. When writing, I make sure that emotions are photographable (through iconic objects) and varied so that actors can showcase their acting prowess, the locations are chromatic and detailed to facilitate production design team interpret the set and needed props. I provide suitable inflections and ironies to the characters vis-a-vis institutions that would widen, add density, and scale up or down the story for the director and cameraman process and interpret each scene.

THE WRAP website in Hollywood


Monday, July 13, 2015

A cli-fi movie from Vietnam in 2014 titled ''Water-2030''

Climate change film, US, MVFF, international awards, filmmakers
A still from ''Water-2030'', directed by Nguyen Vo Nghiem Minh in Vietnam.

''Water-2030,'' directed by Nguyen Vo Nghiem Minh, is a 98-minute film, which is a fusion of different genres (apocalyptic film, cli-fi, thriller and romance), and is set in the year 2030, when most of the cultivable land in southern Vietnam has been submerged by water due to extreme climatic changes.

It is a beautiful film that blends elements of romance, murder, mystery and tales of vengeance to dramatise the Mekong Delta's impending environmental nightmare.

In the near-future southern Viet Nam, where rising water levels have displaced 80 per cent of the people and vegetables are scarce, the human survivors live on houseboats and catch fish or whatever's left of them.

A corporation operates a floating farm nearby, using desalination methods, solar power and, it's rumoured, some methods of ominous significance. When her husband is found dead, young widow Sao gets a job at the farm so that she can find his killer.

"Though climatic changes have caused increasing concern worldwide, the issue has yet to get its due attention in several places, including Viet Nam. I hope my film would help raise an alarm among such communities," director Nguyen says.

Director Nguyen was born in Vietnam in 1956. He studied in France, and then moved to the USA. He worked as a physicist before embarking on his filmmaking career.

His directorial debut ''Mua Len Trau'' (Buffalo Boy) was screened at festivals including Toronto, Locarno and Busan.


2030 (Vietnamese: Nước) is a 2014 Vietnamese cli-fi movie written and directed by Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo. The film was in selected as the opening night film in the Panorama section at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2014.[1][2] It was awarded the Tribeca Sloan Filmmaker Award from the Tribeca Film Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. [3]


In the year 2030, water levels have risen due to global climate change. South Vietnam is one of the regions worst affected by climate change, which causes as much as half the farmland to be swallowed by water. To subsist, people have to live on houseboats and rely solely on fishing with a depleting supply. Huge multinational conglomerates compete to build floating farms equipped with desalination and solar power plants floating along the coastline to produce the needed vegetables that have become highly priced commodities. A young woman is on a journey to find out the truth about the murder of her husband whom she suspects has been killed by the people of a floating farm. In the process, she discovers the secret of that floating farm; it employs genetic engineering technology to cultivate vegetables that can be grown using salt water thus can be produced much cheaper. This untested technology can have dangerous health consequences for the consumers that the farm wants to keep as a secret. It turns out that the chief scientist of the floating farm in question; the main suspect of her husband's death was her ex-lover. She ends up finding out different versions of the “truth” about her husband's death and has to make a dramatic decision without knowing the absolute truth..[4]


  • Quỳnh Hoa as Sáo
  • Quý Bình as Giang
  • Thạch Kim Long as Thi
  • Hoàng Trần Minh Đức as Thủy
  • Hoàng Phi as Thành


External links[edit]


Thursday, June 18, 2015

When the Washington Times does a positive story on cli-fi movies, you know that the cli-fi genre has arrived bigtime!

When the Washington Times does a positive story on cli-fi movies, you know that the cli-fi genre has arrived bigtime!

When the Washington Times does a positive story on cli-fi movies, you know that the cli-fi genre has arrived. And that's just what happened on June 17 when Denver-based national reporter Valerie Richardson, with over 20 years experience reporting for the Times, published her article on the rise of cli fi in Hollywood, with a fair and balanced piece using quotes from a wide variety of people concerned with the issues: Joe Romm, Marc Morano, George Miller, Derek Alan Hunter, Alan Leiserowitz, Justin Chang among others quoted in her story.

That's a good sign, and as Professor Joe Huemann in Illinois said after reading the article: ''When the Washington Times does a positive story on cli-fi movies, you know that the Earth is in serious serious trouble." (Paraphrasing).

The reporter's lead sentence, called a lede in the new business, was perfect: ''Disney’s “Tomorrowland” may be bombing at the box office, but on the plus side, it could win a Cliffie.''

What are the CLIFFIES? see BELOW:

Nice way to start off a very good story!

THE HEADLINE was perfect:

George Clooney’s ‘Tomorrowland’ bombs at box office as Hollywood pushes 'cli-fi'

The Washington Times noted: "Even though the bad guy in "The Kingsman" is a "climate alarmist/eco-terrorist," the film is also in the running for a Cli-Fi movie award because it deals with climate fiction, said the journalist who started the Cliffies two years ago.'' The paper was referring to the Cli Fi Movie Awards, now in its second year, having started off as an aannual online event in 2014, with news reports from USA TODAY, the Associated Press and in the New York Times. Now the Washington Times has added to the popularity of the Cliffies, although the awards program still remains a quiet and mostly invisivle online event. Give it ten to 20 years, these things take time. And when a major sponsor or university comes forward to run and host the Cliffies as an annual event in Los Angeles or New York or Chicago or Boston, then watch what happens. This story has legs. The Cliffies have a long time span and reach forward over the next 100 years.

Why ao many cli fi movies now in Hollywood, the newspaper asked?

"Climate change issues are just in the air," one source was quoted as saying. "I think the newspapers every day are filled with climate issues, pro and con. It's just in the culture, and of course directors and producers are just picking up on this in some way."

He added, when asked why he thought the cli fi movie genre was gaining ground in hollywood and in literature, too as more and more cli fi novels are published each year: “Climate change issues are just in the air. I think the newspapers every day are filled with climate issues, pro and con. It’s just in the culture, and of course directors and producers are just picking up on this in some way.”

The Cliffie awards, the newspaper explained, go to films that exemplify “cli-fi,” or climate fiction, an emerging genre heating up this year as climate change themes seep from documentaries into big-budget Hollywood features, noting that
that means cli-fi films such as “Tomorrowland,” which has tanked despite an A-list director in Brad Bird and huge star in George Clooney, could be just the tip of the iceberg.

My PR pal Marc Morano, over at Climate Depot, gave a very qood quote too, noting: “The narrative for Hollywood is that global warming is a growing crisis, and it’s now set to permeate more and more of the pop culture. I’ve noticed that even in TV shows, there have been mentions of global warming.”

One source said that based on his informal research that he traced the evolution of climate change films to the granddaddy of them all, “The Day After Tomorrow” in 2004, followed by a series of cli-fi documentaries such as “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006, “Gasland” in 2010 and “Chasing Ice” in 2012.

“The first step was documentaries,” the source said. “But documentaries are facts, and because it’s such a contentious issue, people just end up debating pro and con based on ideology.”

On the other hand, “fiction hits people in an emotional way. Maybe documentaries paved the way, but documentaries can’t change the conversation very much because people take sides. Maybe Hollywood directors and screenwriters are thinking, ‘Maybe we can reach people with emotions,’ and maybe that’s what we’re seeing now.”

He added, “And I think we’re going to see a lot more in the next 10 years.”

Scheduled for release later this year is the cli fi movie titled “Chloe and Theo,” starring Dakota Johnson as a “young, homeless girl from New York who befriends an Inuit man, Theo Ikummaq (played by himself).”

“Ikummaq has been sent to New York by his elders on a quest to convince leaders at the United Nations that climate change is real before his home literally melts away,” according to an April 16 article from Brittany Patterson (@amusedbrit) at the ClimateWire on E&E Publishing.

There is evidence that climate change movies can sway public opinion, Valerie Richardson reported. In a 2009 study by Anthony A. Leiserowitz, about 49.01 percent of those surveyed said they were somewhat or much more worried about global warming after seeing “The Day After Tomorrow,” even though the film is set in a massive ice age.

“The Day After Tomorrow'' had a significant impact on the climate change risk perceptions, conceptual models, behavioral intentions, policy priorities, and even voting intentions of moviegoers,” said his study, which was published in the Yale School of Forestry & Environment publication Environment.

Follow the Washington Times on Twitter at : @washtimes on Twitter

It’s no secret that Hollywood is controlled and run by liberal, socialist Jewish people, according to those who dislike liberal open-minded Jews who care about a wide variety of social issues ever since Moses came down from the mountain top and handed the Ten Commanders over to his flock of Pharaoh-bashers and who often vote Democratic in national and local elections thus gaining animosity from antisemites all over the place, many of them on the right side of the aisles.
and Mr. Morano

One source told the Times that he expects to see more movies stoking alarm over climate change in the next 18 months as the next USA presidential election nears.

So there you have it: When the Washington Times speaks, the world listens. The Cliffies have arrived, and this year's Cliffies have been awarded for 2015 to a very important cli fi movie from the Philippines titled ''TAKLUB'' and directed by Brillante Mendoza and starring Nora Auron. For more information about the CLIFFIES awards and last year's winners and nominees for 2014, please go to

TAKLUB wins 2015 Cliffies awards: SEE LINK BELOW:


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

''TAKLUB'' (also called "TRAP") is a cli fi movie nomination to watch in 2015

HAT TIP to Paul Collins in the UK for finding this powerful 90-minute movie from Filipino director Brilliante Mendoza, and for nominating it for the annual Cli-Fi Movie Awards list for 2015. See the CLI FI MOVIE AWARDS site at




SUMMARY: After the Supertyphoon Yolanda, which changed the city of Tacloban in the Philippines into its horrendous state, the lives of Bebeth, Larry and Erwin intertwine. The survivors are left to search for the dead, while keeping their sanity intact, and protecting what little faith there may be left. A series of events continue to test their endurance.

NINA HUDSON writes :

Taklub (Trap) throws its viewers straight in at the deep end: flames, screams, chaos as a futile attempt is made to put out a fire.
Taklub shows the aftermath of Tycoon Hayan. Living in makeshift huts and shelters, the survivors are left to pick up the pieces and rebuild their homes amid the devastation. Among them are Bebeth (Nora Aunor), Larry (Julio Diaz) and Erwin (Aaron Rivera), each mourning those they lost in the disaster, and struggling to maintain morale as they attempt to resume their lives.
[Much of the story is filmed to create the effect of a hand-held camera in the style of a documentary, creating a sense of gritty intimacy as the three protagonists are followed about their daily lives. Combined with a set of breathtaking performances, this technique is what bridges the gap between the characters and the viewer].
''Filming through mud and torrential rain, Taklub offers just a taste of the misery wrought by the elements. However, as harrowing as the images of death and disaster may be, it’s the moments between the chaos that are the most poignant; those in which reality is given the chance to sink in that imbue Taklub with the most emotion.''
''It is a sad truth that the media’s sensationalist tendencies have gradually desensitised us to images of natural disasters, and the havoc they wreak on people’s lives. By approaching the matter from the inside out, Taklub offers an insight into the lives of such victims; it is no longer a matter of a newsreel set to dramatic music and replayed ten times a day, this harrowing account is a true eye-opener to the plight of those who are too often dismissed and ignored by the rest of the world.''

Jean-Baptiste Morain, in his review for Les Inrocks, one of France's most important culture magazines, said the strength of the film lies in its cinematic form and the audience is immersed in full communion with the people and events so that one is not quite sure if what he sees is the documentary or fiction.

David Poland, in his article for Movie City News, states "Brillante Mendoza's Taklub is also, really, a holocaust drama. The holocaust here starts with a specific family, but this becomes a symbol of the massive tragedy of tsunamis in the Philippines. Wonderful, understated performance by Nora Aunor. Slow. Painful. Real."

The Hollywood Reporter review by Clarence Tsui notes at how "by shunning straightforward melodramatic exposition of all the varied tragic back stories, Mendoza and screenwriter Honeylyn Joy Alipio allow their characters to slowly and gently reveal their anguish and pain."

REVIEWS: “Taklub,” a new cli fi movie by the well-known and much-admired (in Asia, for sure) Filipino director Brillante Mendoza, was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May in the IN A CERTAIN REGARD section of the festival, and reviews in Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and other sites are thumbs up for this quiet, sombre and elegant story about 3 surviving families in the Philippines a year after Typhoon Yolanda ripped through the city of Tacloban. TAKLUB is a nickname in Tagalog for the city, too. An alternative title in English is TRAP.

Says Variety's film reviewer Maggie Lee in Hong Kong: "Shot in a no-frills documentary style that echoes its subjects’ deprivation, the film is at once intimate and detached in its dramatic economy, though the finale will leave many viewers saddened yet humbled."

But she also says that ''[it will not be easy for ] this quiet work to make a dent in European [or American ] arthouse circles. Domestic response [in the Phlippines of course,] will be much warmer, given its relevance, but mostly thanks to the reverence that lead actress Nora Aunor commands.

In the closing credits, we read a ard that says, quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures that surely resonate in the Catholic nation of the Philippines, where people know the Bible inside and out: “A time to tear down and a time to build” -- Quoting Ecclesiastes 3:1-6

Director Mendoza -- and yes, Brilliante is his real first name in the Philippines, where first names are often unique and memorable -- ''reflects on the material and spiritual hurdles facing disaster reconstruction efforts, questioning whether faith, charity, stoicism and hard work are of any help when the tragedy is so random, the suffering so personal and acute," Lee adds. ":Certainly the film’s seemingly drive-by images of rubble everywhere testify to the havoc wreaked by Yolanda (aka Typhoon Haiyan in the West), one of the strongest tropical cyclones recorded in history and the deadliest ever to hit the Philippines. Tacloban was the economic center of the eastern Visayas region, a highly urbanized city with a population of more than 220,000 in 2010. It suffered a death toll of 7,000  when Yolanda struck on November 8, 2014, but many more are lost or unidentified.''

Cannes Film Review: 'Taklub'

Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (''Un Certain Regard''), May. 19, 2015. Running time: 89 MIN. (Original title: "Taklub")


(Philippines) A Center Stage Prods. Co. presentation and production in association with Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, Presidential Communications Operations Office Philippines Information Agency. (International sales: Films Distribution, Paris.) Produced by Loreto F. Castillo.


Directed by Brillante Ma. Mendoza. Screenplay, Mary Honeyln, Joy Alipio. Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Odyssey Flores; editor, Mats Serraon; production designer, Dante Mendoza; art director, Harley Alan V. Alcasid; sound (stereo), Addiss Tabong, Andrew Milallos; visual effects supervisor, Aileen Cornejo-Castillo; visual effects, Keep Me Posted; line producer, Carlo M. Valenzona; associate producer, Catherine Connell; assistant director, Charita Castinlag; second unit camera, Rogelio Flores Jr.; casting, Alexander H. Alviado.


Nora Aunor, Julio Diaz, Aaron Rivera, Rome Mallari, Shine Santos, Lou Veloso, Soliman Cruz, Ruby Ruiz, Sierra Perez, Maria Rosario Margallo. (Tagalog dialogue, Wayan-wayan dialect)
Tzu Chi Foundation Representative of the Taiwan religious group in Hualien

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Taklub Received Very Good Reviews Following Successful Premiere in Cannes

The advocacy film, Taklub, continues to receive good reviews following its successful premiere at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in France as part of the Un Certain Regard selection.
As Director Brillante Mendoza led the Taklub entourage during the premiere at the Debussy Theater, Senator Loren Legarda said she felt even prouder of this project, which she principally advocated.
The film has received positive comments from social media and good reviews from film critics. Toute La Culture gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, Cinematografo gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars, while Nina Hudson, contributor for online magazine The Upcoming, gave it perfect 5 stars.
Jean-Baptiste Morain, in his review for Les Inrocks, one of France's most important culture magazines, said the strength of the film lies in its cinematic form and the audience is immersed in full communion with the people and events so that one is not quite sure if what he sees is the documentary or fiction.
The same review commended the film's cinematography and production design, but stressed that it is the "overall controlled performances from the cast - ranging from veterans like (Nora) Aunor and (Julio) Diaz, to younger faces like (Aaron) Rivera and (Shine) Santos - which propels the film."
Meanwhile, Variety review by Maggie Lee stresses at how the film "is more concerned with their emotional devastation than with the physical aftermath. Shot in a no-frills documentary style that echoes its subjects' deprivation, the film is at once intimate and detached in its dramatic economy, though the finale will leave many viewers saddened yet humbled."
Legarda said she is happy with the positive reviews and noted that Debussy Theater was full during the official screening of the film.
"Filipinos should be proud of Taklub because through this film we are able to inspire by showcasing the resilient Filipino spirit and we also impart the important message of building resilience against disasters," she said, noting that it is the first time an advocacy film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes.
Taklub was produced by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in cooperation with the Presidential Communications Operations Office-Philippine Information Agency (PCOO-PIA), with the support of Senator Loren Legarda, principal advocate of the project.***
Here are the links to the film reviews:
4. The Hollywood Reporter - 'Taklub' : Cannes Review
6. Taklub review from

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

''Tomorrowland'' has been nominated by fans nationwide for the 2015 Cli-Fi Movie Awards (dubbed "the Cliffies")

Yes, ''Tomorrowland'' has been nominated by fans nationwide for the 2015 Cli-Fi Movie Awards (dubbed "the Cliffies")

Joining other cli fi movies in the nomination process:


How many [cli-fi] films of recent years have climaxed with anything other than massive conflict and conflagration? Whatever the number, Tomorrowland is one of the few to place far more emphasis on talk than action, which is what will probably contribute to what, for some, will make for a softer experience than the genre norm.
Time Out:
‘Tomorrowland’ is singularly unafraid of weighty concepts, tackling climate change, our ongoing [cli-fi] fascination with the [Climapocalypse] and the very Disney-ish idea of being ‘special’. It does get dry (some scenes feel suspiciously like TED talks) and the script’s fleeting efforts to unpick its dubious Ayn Rand-ish central ideology are completely undermined by a clunky, flat-as-a-pancake finale. [OUCH!]
Clooney seems to have been cast as much for his leftist liberal credentials as for his Hollywood Global Village star power, and it’s a choice that can’t help but leave a somewhat smug aftertaste; he’s almost too fitting a spokesman for a cli-fi movie that urges humanity to end all wars, take responsibility for the environment, and foster a greater, more alert engagement with the world around us. All worthy and admirable objectives, to be sure, but they can’t help but feel like platitudes in the absence of an adventure that compels and sustains dramatic interest on its own terms. Even when delivered with the best intentions, a lecture is a wretched substitute for wonder.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Charlize Theron: Cli-fi movie ''Mad Max'' landscape awaits unless we tackle climate change

via the GUARDIAN

The star of the new Mad Max movie, Fury Road, has spoken of the film as a cautionary tale which offers a premonition of a world ravaged by drought and hardship unless global warming is addressed

and 15 others follow
Charlize Theron at the Mad Max: Fury Road press conference.
Charlize Theron at the Mad Max: Fury Road press conference. Photograph: IAN LANGSDON/EPA

The actor Charlize Theron, who takes a leading role in the new Mad Max movie as a one-armed warrior driving five sex slaves to safety, has expressed her fears that a bleak future awaits the planet unless global warming is addressed.
Theron, Miller and Nicholas Hoult talk Mad Max: Fury Road
Hardy is reportedly signed up for three more instalments and a separate live action show is also apparently in the works. But Miller, now 70, suggested a pause might be necessary before work on follow-ups began.
“I feel like a woman who’s just given birth to a really big baby. And then someone says: ‘When are you gonna have your next one?’”