After announcing in early April its first two Filipino American winners in H.P. Mendoza’s Bitter Melon and Diane Paragas’s Yellow Rose, CINEMATOGRAFO Originals Contest — the new film competition launched this year by ABS-CBN International that provides seed grants for full-length features, documentary or narrative -– has unveiled its third winner in Loy Arcenas’s Ebb Tide.
Arcenas was born in the Philippine island province of Cebu, studied in University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City for pre-med, went to London for theater studies and found work in New York where he is currently based.
Like in the Philippines where he is known as a theater director, Arcenas also first made his mark abroad in theater as a stage set designer. His works are top class: the Steppenwolf productions of Topdog/Underdog, Beauty Queen of Leenane and Nomathemba, Goodman productions of Good Person of Setzuan, Cry The Beloved Country and The Night of the Iguana, the premieres of Love! Valour! Compassion!, Prelude to a Kiss, Once On This Island, Spunk, Dessa Rose, Blue Window, Corpus Christi, A Man of No Importance, and the off-Broadway and national tours of The Vagina Monologues, to name a few. He has received Drama Desk nominations, L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, Jeff Award, Bay Area Critics Circle Awards, and the Obie for sustained excellence in set design.
Arcenas also ventured into directing in theater in the U.S. and among his credits are Jorge Ignacio Cortinas’ Blind Mouth Singing for Teatro Vista and Victory Gardens’ The Romance of Magno Rubio, Warren Leight’s No Foreigners Beyond This Point, Lonnie Carter’s The Romance of Magno Rubio (Obie), Han Ong’s Middle Finger, Swoony Planet and Watcher, and Philip Gotanda’s Floating Weeds.
As a film director, he dazzled critics and moviegoers alike with his film debut, Niño, which won in 2011 the Special Jury Prize New Breed at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and the New Currents Award at the Pusan International Film Festival. In 2012, the same film won Special Mention of the International Jury and the Emile Guimet Award–Special Mention at the Vesoul Asian Film Festival.
Arcenas’s Ebb Tide is about a grieving widow who returns to her estranged husband’s family’s island estate to scatter his ashes. Seemingly the perfect couple, their marriage fell apart, marked by her being unable to bear children, which led to rumors of his infidelities and the illegitimate children he fathered with island women.
CINEMATOGRAFO was made open to all U.S. citizens and/or U.S. permanent residents of Filipino descent, 18 years or older. The contest awards a $100,000 production grant. This is a path to have stories realized on the big screen. CINEMATOGRAFO Originals Contest winners will highlight the CINEMATOGRAFO International Film Festival to be held this November in San Francisco.
The contest criteria are 40% Story and Premise, 20% Presentation, 20% Plot and Pacing and 10% Theme.
“CINEMATOGRAFO has been blessed so far with the works of H.P., Diane and Loy. We can’t wait till their films debut at the CINEMATOGRAFO International Film Festival this November,” said Film Festival Executive Director John-D Lazatin, also the Global Head of Theatricals of ABS-CBN International.