Moro filmmaker shoots ‘Qiyamah’

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/1 March) – Independent Moro filmmaker Gutierrez Mangansakan II is coming up with Qiyamah, a movie with this city serving as the main setting, an official said on Wednesday.

Benjie Abarca, city tourism officer, said the cast started shooting this week, with the city government backing the movie for its potential to boost the locality’s tourism industry.

“We are supporting this movie by providing accommodation, transportation and security to the cast,” he said.

Mangansakan, a descendant of the late Salamat Hashim, founding chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, is a Maguindanaon who has produced well-acclaimed movies both in the country and abroad.

In 2010, Mangansakan’s full-length Moro narrative movie, Limbunan, was invited as the closing film in the International Critics’ Week of the Venice International Film Festival. Venice is considered the second most prestigious film festival in the world and is among the “Big Three” list together with Cannes and Berlin.

Limbunan is a film that “glimpses into the life of a bride-to-be as she is kept from public view prior to the wedding in her private quarters – limbunan.”

Mangansakan’s first film – “House Under the Crescent Moon,” a short film – won the grand prize for video documentary from the Cultural Center of the Philippines Prize for Independent Film and Video in 2001.

Last year, he produced Cartas de la Soledad (Letters of Solitude), a finalist to the Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival 2011.

In a separate statement, Abarca said that it is an honor that for the city to have been chosen as the main setting of the movie, with Tetchie Agbayani, an award-winning actress, playing a major role.

“This is a big help in promoting Cotabato City’s tourism. Makikita sa buong bansa, and hopefully sa buong mundo ang ating city and this is something we should be proud of,” Abarca said.

Aside from Agbayani, the other casts are veteran actor Perry Dizon, stage actress Hazel Orencio, actor Dax Alejandro (who went to the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 for the film Busiong), and directors Arnel Mardoquio, Lav Diaz, and some of the local artists in the city enrolled in the City School of the Living Arts.

Abarca said the film commenced shooting from February 25 to 28 and will resume on March 2 to 4, mainly at Barangay Kalanganan 2.

Qiyamah, an Islamic term for “The Reckoning,” is a film that contemplates on our humanity as well as reflects on the transitory character of our existence in the midst of both natural and man-made disasters the world over. It will depict a variety of people and how they react to news about doomsday. According to its director, it will not show any tragedy or mayhem but rather it will strike at the emotions and will leave a psychological impact to its viewers, the statement said.

“The film will be open-ended so it will be up to the audience how they would want the movie to finish. It will depict repentance, forgiveness, and other things that we think might be a human’s response to an end-of-the-world prediction,” Mangansakan was quoted as saying in the statement. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)