Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sineng Pambansa

      I love going to the movies but I admit, I am not exactly an Indie Film fanatic.  I have only watched two Filipino indie films - Ploning and Zombadings. Though I loved them both, the opportunity to watch indie films in a cinema in Davao does not come by often. And you all know that I don't get to watch my own DVDs or channels at home. I have two toddlers who own the remote and the dvd player. 

   This year, I may get to watch a lot of indie films because they are invading Davao cinemas. The Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival, as organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines, will be in my beloved Davao City from June 29 to July 3, 2012.   The film festival is a joint undertaking of the FDCP and the City Government (we have a real cool Mayor).

   The film festival will be the culmination of the first National Film Competition and the finalists will be shown in the cinemas of the four participating malls: SM City Davao, Abreeza, NCCC and Gaisano Mall. These malls will be showing the films at a reasonable price of 50PHP to allow the greatest number of moviegoers to watch these high-quality films created by young Filipino filmmakers. 

     Highlighting the Opening Night on June 29 will be the special screening of excerpts from the latest film of Cannes Best Director Brillante Mendoza, Thy Womb, shot on location in Tawi-tawi. The movie stars Nora Aunor. 

     The festival will feature 17 films in three categories : Full Feature, Full Length Documentary and Short Animated. Twelve are competing in Full Feature. Three in Full Length Documentary. Two in Short Animated. 

         After reading the synopsis of the films as given in their press kit, I want to make time to watch some of the films. 

          I will watch these three films because they are about Muslims ... admittedly in the local cinema scene, they are a rarity. Too bad my boys are too young for the cinemas. 

by F. Alfad
IN BANGKA HA UT SIN DUWAH SAPAH" or "THE BOAT BETWEEN TWO RIVERS," a story inspired by an episode of Wish Ko Lang entitled "Nanay Langoy" which is about a mother, MARYAM (Sue Prado) who swims from one end of the river to the other using a makeshift bangka made out of banana stalks just to put her two kids, ABDEL (Jermaine Patrick Ulgasan) and AMIR (Malik Bunyi) to school. Problem arises when at the other side of the river, government military forces are holding camp while on the other side of the river are where the extremist Muslim rebels are holed up. What happens when these two forces clash? Will the mother still be able to give her kids a good education?
by N. Benito-Zacaria
The story is about Amir Solaiman, a doctor, a father and a husband. On one of his medical missions, he got reunited with an old family friend and a distant relative, Hadji Usman. Amir paid the old man’s family a visit for old time’s sake and was crushed to see their condition. It is a Maranao tradition to always help relatives which is evident in their clannish nature.
Life drastically changed when the old man died. Amir, being the last person he spoke to has to honor the death wish. He was bequeathed to marry Samira – Hadji Usman’s only daughter. Torn by the responsibility of respecting an elder’s death wish, Amir sought permission from his wife and advice from a Shariah counsel. Samira, agreed to marrying Amir after learning that the 1st wife, Nadja, consented to the marriage. Little did Nadja know that her decision will greatly affect her children and the dynamics of their once happy family. Much to Amir’s dismay, he thought he could provide justice to both wives and children.
Polygamy in Islam is allowed but it’s not always encouraged.
by G. Mangansakan
 One morning, residents of a rural village are horrified when the sun rises in the West. According to Islamic belief, this phenomenon signals the Apocalypse or Qiyamah. As folks react differently to the situation, a family reconciles with its own dark past as the village confronts its own share of secrets and myths. Then a tragedy strikes when a young woman is raped and her brother brutally murdered as he tries to avenge her. Steep in superstition, the villagers attribute these to the Devil himself.
          I don't really like documentaries but this one is tickling my fancy. If I still have the time, I would also want to watch this one. 

by D. Samarista
    Taguri: The Kites of Sulu is a documentary that will attempt to unveil the “Orang Suluk” (People of the Way), their way of life and perseverance amidst the landscape of bias and negative perception, through the exploration of this Kite culture, its processes, stories and myths and the personalities to be encountered. For what kind of people would develop and nurture the only remaining kite culture in the Philippine islands, and remain true to their traditions and spirituality through centuries of war and struggle, first against colonial powers and finally, against a gov- ernment whose values and systems which at the least appear to be at odds with their way of life

      The next one in my personal list is based on the book of the same title written by my College professor Macario Tiu. 

by O. Bantayan

Tambara is an adaptation of Macario Tiu’s Balyan, the 2005 1st Place winner for Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Short Story Bisaya Division. 
The story revolves around Lando, an elementary teacher who doesn’t believe in myths and asserts his modern sensibilities, and Datu Pikong, a tribal shaman who uses an imaginary cellphone to reach Apo Sandawa when someone wants to get healed from an ailment.
Lando, being educated, has ceased to acknowledge the tribal beliefs and practices of the Indigenous Peoples. He accuses Datu Pikong of capitalizing on the superstitious belief of the townsfolk and is furious when he sees the shaman take offerings from the people.
Swept by his fury, Lando destroys the tambara (an altar for the deities) when he found it under a Balete tree. Unknowingly, Lando angered many diwatas who want to take his wife and baby as punishment for what he has done. Lando was forced to face circumstances which pushed him to desperately resort to the Balyan only to realize that not everything in this world can be spelled solely with the human knowledge.

      There are also two animated films featured in the roster of finalist. I love how Filipino animators are now making Filipino animated movies. 

by Del Prado, Evangelista & Saporsantos

by B. Piluden

       I hope the organizers will release the Screening Schedule for the festival. There's none in their press kit. Let us support the indie film industry and take time to watch these films by young, independent filmmakers. 

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