6 Mindanao entries finalists in National Film Fest

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 June) – Six Mindanao films are among the 18 finalists in the First Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival that kicked off in the city on Friday.

The films are “Tambara” by Orvil Bantayan from Davao; “Duwaya” (Polygamy), by Najib Alyhar Benito-Zacaria from Marawi; “Malan” by Agustin Pagusara Jr. from Davao; “In Banka Halit Sin Duwa Sapah,” Fyred Alsad Alfad III from Jolo, Sulu; and “Qiyamah,” Gutierrez Mangansakan II from Maguindanao.

The sixth entry from Mindanao, a documentary entitled “Tagurih: The Kites of Sulu,” attempts to unveil the “Orang Suluk“ (People of the Way), their way of life and perspective amid a landscape of bias and negative perception, by exploring the kite culture.

The event, organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), will showcase the 18 finalists in the FDCP’s first National Film Competition held last year, which featured 120 entries.

Bantayan said his film Tambara is an adaptation of Macario Tiu’s Balyan, the 1st place winner of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Short Story Bisaya Division.

The story revolves around Lando, an elementary school teacher who doesn’t believe in myths and asserts his modern sensibilities, and Datu Pikong, a tribal shaman who uses an imaginary cellular phone to reach Apo Sandawa when someone wants to be cured of an ailment.

Duwaya is a story about the Muslim practice which is allowed in Islam but is not always encouraged, said Marawi-based filmmaker Zacaria.

In the story, Amir Solaiman, a doctor, father and husband is reunited with an old family friend and a distant relative, Hadji Usman in one of his medical missions. 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 culture.

“In Banka Halit Sin Duwa Sapa” (The Boat between Two Rivers) is a story inspired by an episode of Wish Ko Lang entitled “Nanay Langoy.” It tells about a mother, Maryam (Sue Prado) who swims from one end of the river to the other using a raft made out of banana stalks just to enable her two kids, Abdel (Jermaine Patrick Ulgasan) and Amir (Malik Bunyi) to reach school.

Set in 1967, “Malan” is a film is about a student named Anton from the Lyceum of the Philippines taking up political science, while working as a clerk in a furniture factory in Caloocan City.  He is later involved in activism and organizes a workers union in the factory to counter the company union formed by the factory owner. This angers the owner who soon starts to conduct “union busting activities” that result in the violent death of one of Anton’s members. Anton’s own life is endangered.

First Qiyamah Official Trailer from Bidadali House on Vimeo.

While Mangansakan said “Qiyamah”, an Islamic term for “The Reckoning”, 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,” he said.

The film also features director-writer Arnel Mardoquio and actress Tetchie Agbayani.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said as host, the city government distributed information down to the barangays to support the festival.

“We also need to encourage the artists. Hopefully, this event will encourage other artists not just in Davao City but as well as in other parts of the country,” Carpio said.

She also expressed support to the local filmmakers, saying the city government is willing to host the festival again next year.

FDCP Chair Briccio Santos noted that the film festival in the city was a milestone in several respects, saying that it showcased the finalists of the inaugural National Film Competition last year.

Santos added that the films in the festival do not only prove the precocity of the new generation of filmmakers across the country but also project the cultural complexity of the region.

For a P50 ticket, viewers may see the screening of the films at Abreeza Mall, Gaisano-Mall, NCCC Mall and SM City.

Finalists from Luzon are  “Ang Mga Kidnapper ni Ronnie Lazaro,” by Sigfried Barros-Sanchez of Manila;  “Qwerty”  by Eduardo Lejano Jr., also of Manila; “Kanana Kanu” by Jocelyn Banasan-Kapuno of Kalinga Apayao.

From Visayas, all from Iloilo, the finalists are “Ang Mga Aswang,” John Raymund Macahilas; “Beadworks,” Ronny N. Poblacion; “Gugma Sang Panahon Sang Bakunawa,” Peter Solis Nery.

The documentary films from Luzon are “Jingle Lang ang Pahinga,” Dominador Escasa Jr., Tagaytay; and “Illustrated by,” Levi “Pepper” Marcelo, Manila.

Documentary entries from the Visayas are “Ginabuhi It Bulig” (Binubuhay ng Pagtulong), Lester G. Babiera, Aklan; “Walay Tumo’y ng Punterya” (No End in Sight), Cierlito Espejo Tabay, Cebu.

The awarding ceremonies will be at Abreeza Mall on July 1. Schedules can be downloaded at the Davao City’s website (http://www.davaocity.gov.ph/davao/view.aspx?type=news&id=101) (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)