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ERIK MATTI’s (2018) and

(2013) are to be screened this week at the on­go­ing New York Asian Film Fes­ti­val (NYAFF). They and four oth­ers make up the largest lineup of Filipino films in the fes­ti­val since 2013, ac­cord­ing to the fes­ti­val’s web­site.

“This is a very big op­por­tu­nity to show­case what kinds of films are cur­rently in the Philip­pines,” said Film De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil of the Philip­pines (FDCP) CEO and Chair­man Mary Liza B. Diño in the ver­nac­u­lar dur­ing the send­off press con­fer­ence on June 10 at the Co­coon Ho­tel in Que­zon City.

“This is our big­gest film con­tin­gent in North Amer­ica so far. [ The re­gion] is re­ally, re­ally hard to pen­e­trate,” she said be­fore ex­plain­ing that di­rec­tors like Lav Diaz and Bril­lante Men­doza, among oth­ers, have al­ready made a name for them­selves in Euro­pean film fests like the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val and Ber­lin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, but very few Filipino films have made it through to the North Amer­i­can film mar­ket.

First held in 2002, NYAFF gen­er­ally fea­tures con­tem­po­rary pre­mieres and clas­sic ti­tles from Eastern Asia and South­east Asia with gen­res rang­ing from hor­ror to crime and ac­tion. The fes­ti­val is or­ga­nized by Sub­way Cin­ema and the Film So­ci­ety of Lin­coln Cen­ter.

This year’s fes­ti­val runs from June 29 to July 15.

Mr. Matti’s an ac­tion film about the drug war which stars Anne Cur­tis-Smith and MMA fighter Bran­don Vera, will have its world pre­miere at the fes­ti­val and also serves as the fes­ti­val’s clos­ing film on July 15 at the SVA The­ater.

“On the sur­face, it is struc­tured like an ac­tion film in the vein of [with] narcs tak­ing down a drug king­pin against in­sur­mount­able odds over one un­re­lent­ing rainy night. The film em­ployed 309 stunt­men and fea­tures a wildly am­bi­tious three-minute, one-cut ac­tion scene. Be­ing a Matti film, it also of­fers a sear­ing per­spec­tive on the on­go­ing drug war and broader is­sues of po­lit­i­cal cor­rup­tion,” noted the fes­ti­val web­site.

Three other Filipino films were cho­sen that also tackle the on­go­ing drug war: ( 2017) by Al­berto “Treb” Mon­teras II which is com­pet­ing in the fes­ti­val’s Tiger Un­leashed sec­tion and screens on July 14 at the SVA The­ater; Mikhail Red’s ( 2017), which was screened on July 5 at the Wal­ter Reade The­ater in Lin­coln Cen­ter; and Mr. Matti’s

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