• Cinema La Compagnia (map)
  • Via Camillo Cavour, 50/R,
  • Firenze, Toscana, 50121
  • Italy

Best of Filipino Filmmaking Highlighted in European Philippine International Film Festival

Anticipation and excitement intensify within cinema circles in Europe and the Philippines as seven Filipino-made film entries are declared as competition finalists in the upcoming European Philippine International Film Festival (EPIFF) to be held in Florence, Italy on March 7 and 8, 2018.

During the three-day Festival, the seven films in competition will enjoy the prestige of being screened at the historical Cinema della Compagnia of Cavour Street, which is a stone’s throw away from the world-famous Piazza Duomo. An international audience of cinema enthusiasts and film distributors will be immersed in the richness and intricacies of Philippine culture as each competition finalist presents its compelling story in a uniquely cinematic and masterfully-crafted approach that showcases the best of Filipino artistry.

Vying for the EPIFF awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Audience Award, Best Actor, and Best Actress, the seven films in competition are “Dagsin” by Atom Magadia, “Honor Thy Father” by Erick Matti, “Imbisibol” by Lawrence Fajardo, “Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story” by Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga, “Maestra” by Lemuel Lorca, “Broken Hallelujah” by Roland Sanchez, and “Magtanggol” by Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez.

According to EPIFF Director/Producer and President of the Jury Ruben Maria Soriquez, himself an Italian actor and director who has appeared in a number of Filipino soap operas and movies, many of the films selected by the EPIFF jury have already won many awards and recognitions abroad.

“Aside from the craft, another criteria of selection [used by the jury in choosing the film finalists] was the theme. We wanted to give the Italian audience several and different themes to better understand the complexity of the Filipino culture. There are almost 200,000 Filipinos in Italy and many others in the whole of Europe. The films will help them understand Filipino culture better, and this understanding is the basis for acceptance and friendship,” Soriquez added.

Atom Magadia’s “Dagsin” tells the tragic love story of a World War II veteran who survived the Death March, the Martial Law era, and has lived to become a brilliant yet retired judge who yearns for his deceased wife Corazon and begins to dig into her memories of the past when he gets hold of a box-full of her diaries. This is a critically-acclaimed film that has received numerous awards and distinctions, including Best Actor at the Cinemalaya Film Festival 2016 (Manila, Philippines), Best Narrative Feature at the World’s Independent Film Festival (San Francisco, USA), and Best Heritage Film and Best Director at the Urduja Film Festival 2017 (Philippines).

“Honor Thy Father,” a film by distinguished film director Erick Matti who has a number of multi-awarded films and blockbuster movies to his name, gives an in-depth look at the disturbing life of a couple whose financial problems led them into deeper trouble when they got enmeshed in a violent investment scam.

Lawrence Fajardo’s “Imbisibol” showcases the intricate lives of four Filipino migrants in Japan whose paths intertwine when they are caught in a situation where their survival in Japan is at stake.

Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga’s “Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story” is a documentary about 33-year-old Simone Rota, an Italian football player who returns to the Philippines (his country of birth where he lived until he was adopted from an orphanage and was raised in Italy), to look for his biological mother with the help of the media and the sport he loves.

“Maestra,” which is helmed by award-winning independent filmmaker and TV show director Lemuel Lorca, presents the story of three teachers who see themselves as agents of social change and share the mutual belief that, despite the inadequate treatment society gives to teachers like them, they are integral to nation-building.

“Broken Hallelujah” by Roland Sanchez is also an internationally multi-awarded film which won the Filmmaker of the Year Gold Award at the Filmmaker of the Year International Film Festival 2017 (Bali, Indonesia); Best Produced Screenplay, Best Film, Best Actor, and Best Actress at the World Premiere Film Awards 2017 (Canada); and Best Film at the UK Monthly Festival 2017 (United Kingdom). It is a story narrated by the film’s director, himself a line agent of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), about inhumane and violent cases involving human trafficking of women and minors in the Philippines.

Last but not least of the seven EPIFF finalists is the first-ever whodunit film in the Philippines, “Magtanggol” by established independent film director Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez, who won Best Director for the film at the Madrid International Film Festival (Spain). The movie, which also won the Audience Choice Award at the International Film Festival Manhattan 2016 (New York, USA), tells the story of the Magtanggol clan who has been fighting for oppressed Overseas Filipino Contract Workers for years.

Aside from the seven films in competition, the Festival also showcases two documentary films out of competition by two of EPIFF’s founders: “Dalisay” by Maurizio Baldini and “Of Sinners and Saints” by Ruben Maria Soriquez.

Hosting the Festival awards night is Philippine film ambassador and veteran actress Cherie Gil Eigenmann, who is also a member of the EPIFF jury.

EPIFF is organized by the Island Stream Cultural Association of Florence, Italy in partnership with the Philippine Italian Association (PIA) and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Inc. (ICCPI). The Festival is endorsed by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and supported in Italy by Fondacione Sistema Toscana.




At 07:45 PM - Festival Opening
At 08:15 PM - film in competition: Journeyman finds home-The Simone Rota Story by Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga (67 min.)

At 09:30 special screenings – Italian directors shoot the Philippines.
Dalisay by Maurizio Baldini


At 07:00 PM - film in competition: Maestra by Lemuel Lorca
At 09:00 PM - film in competition: Magtanggol by Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez



At 05:00 PM - film in competition: Honor thy father by Eric Matti
At 07:00 PM - film in competition: Imbisibol by Lawrence Fajardo


At 03:00 PM - film in competition - Broken hallelujah by Roland Sanchez
At 05:00 PM - special screening: Italian directors shoot the Philippines -
Of Sinners and Saints di Ruben Maria Soriquez
At 07:00 PM - film in competition: Dagsin by Atom Magadia (116 min.)


At 09:00 PM: AWARDING and Festival Closing



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