The Philippines’ Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival has announced its competition line-up of ten features that will make their world premieres this July in Manila.

Now on its fifth year, Cinemalaya is the Philippines’ leading showcase of independent films. The competition has been a launching pad to discover new directors with no more than three feature films to their credit.

Each year, the Cinemalaya Foundation picks ten filmmakers to receive $10,600 (PHP500,000) grants as seed money for their next productions. One final winner is awarded at the end of the festival with an additional $4,200 (PHP200,000) and a trophy.

This year’s main competition titles are: 24K, directed by Ana Agabin, The Rapture of Fe, directed by Alvin Yapan, Astig, directed by GB Sampedro, Colorum, directed by Jon Steffan Ballesteros, If I Knew What You Said, directed by Mike Sandejas, Engkwentro, directed by Pepe Diokno, Last Supper No. 3, directed by Veronica Velasco and Jinky Laurel, Mangatyanan (The Blood Trail), directed by Jerrold Tarog, The Pawnshop, directed by Milo Sogueco and Ang Nerseri (The Nursery), directed by Vic Acedillo, Jr.

Cinemalaya - which means ‘free cinema’ in Tagalog - is held in the Cultural Center of the Philippines, a venue exempt from censorship. Dubbing itself “the big, small film festival”, Cinemalaya is a veritable bazaar of Filipino films shot on digital video and attracts hordes of mostly young audiences seeking lesser-known indie fare instead of the usual multiplex blockbusters.

Other Cinemalaya sections include the Lino Brocka Retrospective, Short Film Competition, World Premieres, Kids’ Treats, Gay/Lesbian Films, Documentary and Ani: Best of Last Year.

Starting this year, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) will give their award to one of the digital features outside the main competition.

Past Cinemalaya titles that have made their mark internationally include Francis Pasion’s Venice title Jay, Chris Martinez’s Pusan entry 100, Jim Libiran’s Berlinale title Tribe (Tribu) and Auraeus Solito’s The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros, the Philippines’ Oscar best foreign language film entry in 2006.

Cinemalaya will run July 17 – 26 this year.