For its fourth year, Cinema Rehiyon, the non-competition film festival organized by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) during the Philippine Arts Festival (also known as the National Arts Month every February), included video installations along with the regular fare of full-length films and short films by regional filmmakers.
Since Bacolod City was the host, the festival was called “Bacollywood.” A total of 68 films were shown.
Among video installations shown were those by Martha Atienza, Kiri Dalena and Kaloy Olavides.
An art exhibit of seven video installations titled “Killing Time” was showcased at the Negros Museum.
Atienza’s “Gilubong ang Akong Pusod sa Dagat” was shown at Gallery Orange of artist Charlie Co.
The installation was viewed through a three-channel video projection that took its audience above and below sea level.
The movie tackles the relationship between Filipinos and the sea. The documentary includes Filipino seamen working in international ships and ports.
“Cinema Rehiyon started with film and has now embraced video art,” said Bacollywood Cinema Rehiyon festival director Manny Montelibano. “It started in the movie house and is now in alternative public venues in the barangays through Cine de Barrio.”
This year, the venue for viewing some of the featured films were not only confined to the movie house (Robinsons Bacolod) but also included public areas such as art galleries and barangays.
Cine de Barrio, for example, transformed several barangay centers in Bacolod as film-screening venues.
Veteran directors Celso Ad Castillo and Peque Gallaga were the featured speakers in the special program on film masters.
Gallaga, who worked on mainstream and independent films, said independent films give filmmakers full artistic control.
“On indie films, you tell your own story without anybody taking control of what will it look like,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Castillo reminded filmmakers they should know their viewers and said that a film is worthless if an audience does not see it.
“Films should be watched by the people. They are not made to be kept and hidden, they are meant to be shown,” he said.
Actors John Arceo, Rez Cortez, Cherrie Gil, Mark Gil, Ronnie Lazaro, Joel Torre and Epi Quizon also graced the festival and took part in a forum about actors in cinema.
Torre said most actors find irresponsible directors their pet peeves.
“We, as professional actors, do our homework (before going to a scene). We except that the directors also come prepared,” he said.
Quizon advised the directors who are new in their craft not to be intimidated with veteran actors.
“[Directors] must always take control especially when directing these kind of actors,” he said. “If you’ll not step up and give in to your intimidation, the actors will surely take control of your film.”
Oldest Filipino movie
In Bacolod’s Art District, the silent film “Brides of Sulu” was shown. It was accompanied by a live audio performance by Bacolod musicians.
The 1934 movie was recently discovered and it tells the exotic story of forbidden love, similar to Flaherty and Murnau’s South Sea silent movie, “Tabu.”
According to Teddy Co, Cinema Rehiyon’s curator for Luzon, “Brides of Sulu” “may probably be the oldest existing Filipino film.”