Asia is having its rightful moment in the international film scene, and so it’s fitting that the upcoming QCinema International Film Festival, the official film festival of Quezon City, will open its sixth year with Shoplifters by Hirozaku Kore-eda. The 2018 Japanese drama premiered and then won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in the summer, and is Japan’s entry for the 91st Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category.

“Shoplifters” tells the story of a family of criminals scraping a living in downtown Tokyo whose story takes an interesting turn when they adopt a little girl despite their impoverished livelihood.

Running from October 21 to 30, QCinema has a wide line-up of films to cater to the varied tastes of the local movie-going crowd. The Asian Next Wave is an exciting selection, though, as it brings to select local cinemas a number of award-winning works by promising Asian filmmakers.

“A Land Imagined” by director Siew Hua Yeo is set in Singapore and focuses on social realism. It won the Golden Leopard Award for Best Film at the 71st Locarno International Film Festival.

Bi Gan’s ICS Cannes Award-winning “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” is the noir love story of Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue), a man who returns to his hometown in search of his long-lost love, Wan Qiwen (Tang Wei).

Kamila Andini’s directorial debut “The Seen and Unseen,” which is a Tokyo Filmex Grand Prize awardee, focuses on Balinese mythology and is a story of a young girl seeking out different ways to cope with the death of her twin brother.

Thai writer/director Anucha Boonyawatana depicts the fragility of life and the inescapable path towards death with “Malila: The Farewell Flower,” which won lead actor Sukollawat Kanarot the Asian Film Award for Best Actor and Boonyawatana the Best Director Award at the 2017 Singapore International Film Festival.

Taiwanese director’s Huang Hsin-yao first feature film expands on his short film of the same title, which tells the story of a night security guard of a Buddha statue factory and a recyclables collector who stumble on unsavory videos of the factory’s owner. “The Great Buddha” won him the New Talent Award at the 2017 Hong Kong Asian Film Festival and the NETPAC Award at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

Director Ashleigh Mayfair’s feature debut film “The Third Wife” explores the realities of late-19th century Vietnam and the harsh realities of child marriages. It won the NETPAC award at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

But these are just a portion of what QCinema will offer, as the film festival will screen more than 40 films during its 10-day run, divided into distinct sections.

The Circle Competition, a section for independent feature films from both new and seasoned homegrown storytellers, will feature five movies: Samantha Lee’s Billie & Emma, Timmy Harn’s DOG DAYS, Dan Villegas’ Hintayan ng Langit, Gutierrez Mangansakan’s Masla A Papanok, and Dwein Baltazar’s Oda sa Wala. The selected films are also given production grants of Php1.5 million each.

A still from “Oda sa Wala”

For the non-competition section DocQC, which also provided seed grants of Php300,000 to selected filmmakers, documentary films All Grown Up from Wena Sanchez and Pag-ukit sa Paniniwala from Hiyas Baldemor Bagabaldo will be screened.

LGBT representation will have a platform with the RainbowQC section, presented by QCinema in sponsorship with the Film Development Council of the Philippines. Among the featured films will be Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon’s Tinta Bruta, John Tengrove’s The Wound, Marcelo Martinessi’s The Heiresses, Christophe Honoré’s Sorry Angel, Yann Gonzales’ Knife + Heart, and Yen Tan’s 1985.

John Tregove’s “The Wound” delves into the traditions of Xhosa, the second largest cultural group in South Africa. The coming-of-age drama speaks about the Xhosa initiation into manhood, striking issues of masculinity and sexual identity. It is the Jury Award winner at the 2017 World Cinema Amsterdam.

Several critically acclaimed films worldwide will be showcased in the Screen International section of the festival: Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, which won the 2018 FIPRESCI Award at Cannes; Agnés Varda and JR’s Faces Places; Gaspar Noé’s Climax, which won the director the C.I.C.A.E. Award at the Cannes 2018 Directors’ Fortnight; Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, which merited the director the 2018 Best Director Award at Cannes; and Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s Manta Ray, which won the 2018 Best Film at Venice Horizons.

Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning” tells the story of a man who goes into a deep spiral of confusion after he hears a confession from the best friend of a woman he likes. The film took home the FIPRESCI Award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

It’ll be a throwback celebration for the Digitally Remastered section, with the screening of some iconic films from the ’70s and ’80s: Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz, Herbert Ross’ Footloose, and John Badham’s Saturday Night Fever, and more.

QCinema will also pay tribute to the richness of French cinema by highlighting memorable titles in the French Classics section, such as Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Diabolique, Roger Vadim’s And God Created Woman, and Pierre Rissient’s Five and the Skin.

A film by French filmmaker (and ex-husband of both Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda) Roger Vadim that pushed the boundaries of sexuality in American cinema, “And God Created Woman” is a seductive and appealing story of an 18-year-old woman who teases her husband, his brother, and a Riviera millionaire.

For the Special Screenings section, five films from China, Austria, France, Denmark, and Japan will take the spotlight: Elephant Lying Still by Hu Bo, Ala Changso by Sonthar Gyal, Kater (Tomcat) by Klaus Händl, La Priére by Cédric Kahn, and Come On, Irene by Keisuka Yoshida.

In the Austrian movie “Kater (Tomcat)”, two men are leading a happy life with their beloved tomcat Moses, when an unexpected and inexplicable outburst of violence suddenly shakes up the relationship and calls everything into question. “Kater” won the Teddy Award as the best LGBT-related feature film at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.

QCinema will also have a free screening for children’s films from Denmark: Ask Hasselbach’s Antboy, Renée Simonsen’s Karla’s World, and Esben Toft Jacobsen’s The Great Bear.

Esben Toft Jacobsen’s computer-animated debut feature film “The Great Bear” is a story of a boy who must venture into a forbidden forest to rescue his little sister from the clutches of an ancient, massive bear.

To close the 10-day film festival and in celebration of Halloween, QCinema will screen on its final evening the film Piercing, a story of a man who checks himself into a hotel room to accomplish his long-time dream of executing the perfect murder. It stars Christopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska.

QCinema will have dedicated cinema houses at the Gateway Mall (Cineplex 10), Robinsons Galleria (Robinsons Movieworld), SM City North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Manila, SM Mall of Asia, and the Ayala Malls Cinema in TriNoma and U.P. Town Center, making it possible for even non-Quezon City residents to enjoy all these films—just one of the reasons why QCinema was recognized in 2017 as one of the best film festivals in the country.

To know the full schedule of the QCinema International Film Festival and where to buy tickets, visit the QCinema website.