SPOT.ph Roundup: Places to Watch Indie Films in Manila
They're all budget-friendly, too!
(SPOT.ph) With the increasing popularity of indie films—as well as their recent inclusion into the blockbuster giant that is the Metro Manila Film Festival—more and more people are beginning to appreciate Filipino cinema and all it has to offer. If you’re curious about what the hype is all about or you simply want to try something new on your next movie night, Manila has plenty of options.
Some small venues, such as Uno Morato, Blacksoup Café + Artspace, and even the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, play host to occasional film screenings. Instead, we set our sights on the spots that offer regularly scheduled screenings. Head to these places for a dose of vibrant and thought-provoking cinema!
Cinematheque Centre Manila
855 T.M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila
Contact: 256-9908 local 131
Created as an accessible and alternative venue for avid movie fans, the Cinematheque Centre Manila houses a 101-seater theater that screens classic and contemporary films of many genres. With a diverse indie film lineup that changes monthly—and tickets that often cost P150 and below—it’s easy to see why people head here in droves. Beyond its usual roster of local independent cinema, you can also expect the best of foreign films, done in partnership with different embassies around the Metro. Don’t forget to check out their Facebook page, as they also host film-related talks, seminars, and even workshops.
SM North EDSA, SM Fairview, SM Iloilo, SM Southmall, SM Cebu, SM Bacoor, and SM Mall of Asia
These days, you don’t even have to troop all the way to Kalaw to see an indie film or two. Thanks to a three-year partnership between the FDCP and SM Lifestyle Entertainment, the biggest SM malls nationwide will be screening must-see indie films all year-round. The FDCP will be curating a weekly roster of themed screenings, with tickets at an introductory price of just P120. Expect a lineup of award-winning local picks, as well as the occasional critically acclaimed foreign film. Tickets can be purchased via SM’s ticket booths or website.
Cinema ’76 Film Society
160 Luna Mencias Street, Addition Hills, San Juan City
For discerning folks who prefer a less crowded setting, the micro-theater at Cinema ’76 is as intimate as it gets. The cinema, which houses only about 60 people, encourages audiences to get cozy with their comfy throw pillows while watching some hard-to-find indie gems. Priced at just P150 a ticket, the movie lineup changes every week with a schedule that goes on past midnight—perfect for night owls or people who just can’t find the time to spare during the day. If you’re lucky, you can even catch a Q&A with the film’s cast and crew!
Alliance française de Manille
209 Nicanor Garcia Street, Bel-Air II, Makati City
Need to take a breather from your French lessons? Head to Af de Manille’s auditorium every Wednesday for a free French film screening! Their lineup is often composed of independent French films that come with English subtitles, but they also screen Pinoy indie movies every third Wednesday of the month. Keep an eye on their official Facebook page, as they usually post movie announcements a few days in advance.
UP Film Institute’s Cine Adarna and Videotheque
2/F Cine Adarna Building, Magsaysay and Osmena Avenue, UP Diliman, Quezon City
Contact: 926-2722 or 926-3640
A long-time favorite of indie movie fans, the UP Film Institute houses two screening venues: the 800-seater Cine Adarna and the 60-seater Videotheque. Whichever venue you prefer, you can be sure that their films are completely free from MTRCB censorship. Here, you can catch reruns of local film festivals such as Sinag Maynila, Cinema One Originals, and Cinemalaya a few weeks after their original run in theaters. Keep your eyes peeled, and you may even join a cast and crew Q&A session or a free film screening!
CCP Arthouse Cinema
Tanghalang Manuel Conde (CCP Dream Theater), Roxas Boulevard corner Pablo Ocampo Sr. Street, CCP Complex, Pasay City
Contact: 832-1125 local 1702 or 1704
If your schedule always seems packed every time Cinemalaya Film Festival rolls around, head to the Cultural Center of the Philippines for the Arthouse Cinema screenings. Their “Cinemalaya Presents...” series screens former Cinemalaya entries every second and last Thursdays of the month at the CCP Dream Theater. Beyond Cinemalaya, however, Arthouse Cinema also screens documentaries and classic Filipino flicks, with the occasional film discussion. Best of all, admission is always free!