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MIBF Top picks: 2017 book-to-screen adaptations

Earlier this year, the Netflix hit series “13 Reasons Why” sparked a controversy all over the globe for its portrayal of the most relevant yet sensitive issues we face today – bullying, sexual harassment and teenage suicide.

The series is about a teenage girl who killed herself and left tapes for some people to listen who she thought contributed and led to her suicide. Each episode focuses on every reason and every person involved, thus the title – 13 Reasons Why.

As much hype at it could get on social media, not everyone knows that this show was actually adapted from the book of Jay Asher that was published in 2011. That, the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast, 50 Shades Darker and many others make huge box-office hits are some proof that book to screen adaptations work!

Experience in full the grandiose world of your favorite movies and TV shows by leafing through the pages of its novels at this year’s Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) happening at SMX Mall of Asia in Pasay City from September 13 to 17. Listed below are some of the top picks on this year’s book-to-screen adaptations.

Smaller and Smaller Circles. Based on the Filipino crime novel of F.H Batacan, this groundbreaking story is now one of the most-sought upcoming movies in Philippine cinemas and is being produced by Tuko Film Productions and Buchi Boy Entertainment (same producer as “Heneral Luna”). The movie will star Nonie Buencamino, Sid Lucero and Carla Humphries. First published in 1997, “Smaller and Smaller Circles” became the Carlos Palanca Grand Prize Winner in English Novel in 1999.

Ang Larawan. Now set to be shared to the global audience, “Ang Larawan” is a film adaptation of the three-act English play of National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin “A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino” in 1952. The story will tell the plight of two sisters Candida and Paula Marasigan (Rachel Alejandro and Joanna Ampil), daughter of high-profile artist Don Lorenzo Marasigan, in the midst of the family’s financial crisis.

Let it Snow. Joining John Green (“Fault in Our Stars”), one of the most popular bestselling teen authors, are authors Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle in this holiday-themed comedy and romance novel. Set to be in theaters on November, “Let It Snow” compiles three stories each written by the three authors where in the midst of a snow storm in Gracetown, the teen characters of each story all find love and romance.

Murder on the Orient Express. “Murder on the Orient Express (2017)” is the fourth adaptation Agatha Christie’s detective novel in 1934. The film is about the private detective Hercule Poirot, who uncovers the mystery behind the murder on the train of a man called Mr. Ratchett, killer of Daisy Armstrong. As the investigation progresses, he discovers that the 13 people inside the coach are all related to the girl, and thus become the murder suspects. Poirot was played by English actor Albert Finney who is known to for his Shakespeare’s plays before he switched to becoming a movie actor. The film is set to be released in November.

The Mountain Between Us. Coming on theaters this October, “The Mountain Between Us” is a romance-disaster movie based on Chris Martin’s 2011 novel. Starring Kate Winslet as a photojournalist and Idris Elba as a medical professional, the lead characters are stranded at a remote snow-covered mountain after a plane crash and are forced to cooperate with each other as they embark in a journey of survival.

Everything, Everything. Written by the same author of best-selling book “The Sun is also a Star,” “Everything, Everything” is the story of an 18-year-old girl who has spent all her life in the confines of her home due to an immunodeficiency disease but later finds a risky romance with a guy who moves next door. Starring young artists Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson, “Everything, Everything” was shown last June.

The Circle. Starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, the movie is based on Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel of the same name. The story is about Mae Holland (Emma), an ordinary girl who lands a job in her dream company called The Circle. As she rises through the company’s ranks and is assigned to a project about its newest technology, she uncovers the company’s hidden agenda and now the future of humanity lies in her hands. The movie debuted in April this year.

The Shack. A year after it was published in 2007, this fiction novel by Canadian author William Young made it to The New York Times Bestsellers’ list and was shown in theaters last March. Grieved about the disappearance of his youngest daughter, Missy, Mack (Sam Worthington) finds an anonymous mail one day from a man who calls himself “Papa” asking him to meet at the place called “The Shack.” “Papa” is the term Nan, his wife, uses to refer to God.


Before I Fall. Also shown on the big screen last March, “Before I Fall” is based on the 2010 novel of the Delirium Trilogy’s author, Lauren Oliver, about the popular girl named Sam, played by Zoey Deutch, who finds herself reliving the day of her death for a week. As she takes this repeated journey, she is able to untangle the mystery of her fall and understands how the series of events led to the day, and how things that happen ought to happen.


A Dog’s Purpose. Definitely one of the best novels ever made for dog-lovers, A Dog’s Purpose, written by American newspaper columnist W. Bruce Cameron, became a highly grossed film early this year (January). It chronicles the reincarnated journey of a dog (voice over by actor Josh Gad) in his many lives where it continually seeks its purpose in each of its life.


A Series of Unfortunate Events. Since the publication of its first book in 1999, A Series of Unfortunate Events has already generated a film and a video game in 2004 and is now a Netflix. Starring Neil Patrick Harris, the series is about the Baudelaire children who after their parents’ death, are placed in the custody of their distant relative Count Olaf (Neil). The latter wants to keep the family’s fortune for himself but fails and in the process of eluding him, the Baudelaires uncover their parents’ death as well as the secret society their parents were part of.


Big Little Lies. Also began last January, this American comedy-drama HBO miniseries , “Big Little Lies” is based on the 2014 novel of Liane Moriarty. It is about the three mothers of first-graders who develop a close relationship with each other, leading to uncover some personal secrets and eventually, murder. The series cast Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley.

Find their book counterparts and more at the 38th Manila International Book Fair (MIBF), slated on September 13 to 17 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

The MIBF is organized by Primetrade Asia, Inc. in partnership with Asian Catholic Communicators, Inc., the Book Development Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Booksellers Association, Inc., and the Overseas Publishers Representatives Organization of the Philippines. For more details, call 896-0661 or 896-0682, or email [email protected].

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