Director Marie Jamora’s Ang Nawawala enjoyed a successful run during this year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival, with positive word of mouth created by fans, receiving favorable reviews, and almost every screening selling out as a result.
At the close of the festival the film took home two prizes: Best Original Musical Score for composers Mikey Amistoso, Diego Mapa, and Jazz Nicolas; and Audience Choice (New Breed), an award determined by votes from the Cinemalaya audience. No mean feat, considering this was the best-attended Cinemalaya yet, with a 12% increase in viewership over last year. Over the span of the festival the hashtag #AngNawawala was found to be trending on Twitter twice.
Finally, Ang Nawawala will begin its commercial run this September 12. The producers have decided to self-distribute the film in cooperation with SM Cinemas, Robinsons Movieworld, Cinema 2000, and Gaisano. The MTRCB has given the film a classification of R13.
Participating SM Cinemas include SM Mall Of Asia, SM City North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Southmall, SM City Bacoor, SM City Cebu, SM City Iloilo, and SM City Pampanga.
Participating Robinsons Movieworld venues are Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Place Manila, Robinsons Metro East, and Robinsons Place Bacolod.
Participating Cinema 2000 theaters are Eastwood Mall, Festival Supermall, Newport Cinemas (at Resorts World), and Lucky Chinatown Mall.
Participating Gaisano malls are GMall Davao and GMall Cagayan De Oro.
Producers are currently in talks with Ayala Cinemas and Greenhills Theatre.
"No one's more excited than me that our film is going to be released in more cinemas," says Jamora. "All we want to do is share our labor of love with everyone. Every day, we get people on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr saying they couldn't watch because it was sold out, or because they live outside Manila, so now they finally have a chance to see it!"
The commercial release of the film is slated for one week, so those who didn't get to catch it during Cinemalaya are advised to reserve their tickets at the venue of their choice once they can.
An interesting thing to note (especially to audiences who have already seen the film) is that this is a new edit of Ang Nawawala. Jamora was able to spend time since the close of Cinemalaya to trim the film. "Our gala was technically the first time I had seen the film complete and on the big screen. The timetable was so tight, and color correction, sound design, and subtitling were done simultaneously. Cinemalaya served as almost a test audience for me: seeing which jokes worked, which scenes needed tightening, etc. I took down notes, talked to a few trusted friends, and sat down to re-edit the film. It's not a drastic change; I've literally just trimmed it so that the pacing is better. I believe that it's become a better film because of it."
Since so much of the buzz about the film is due to social media, it’s no surprise that the producers have begun a Twitter contest to celebrate the release of the film. Over three weeks followers will be encouraged to take photos of themselves enacting gestures from the film and send them to Ang Nawawala’s Twitter account (@AngNawawala). This first week, people are asked to do a “high five” that the characters use to greet one another. "We are SO grateful to the people who have supported the film-- from the donors on Artiste Connect who helped us complete our post production, to the fans who talked about the film online, to the audience members who gave relief goods for Habagat during our Ang Nagwawala Afterparty/Concert.
Before our theatrical release, we want to get everyone involved again, so we came up with these fun weekly contests where they can win autographed merchandise from the film. We're trying to find ways to thank our supporters, because it's because of THEM that we have such good buzz around the movie. It's because of THEM that we have a general release at all, because the people who liked it talked about it and told their friends to see it."