Of Blockbusters and Indie Films

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By Art Tibaldo

Consumer Atbp.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


THERE was a time when the artistic hype in Baguio was notably high with a lot of creative undertakings such as art festivals, concerts, exhibits and performances not to mention cultural shows. It seems today that such spirit is being rekindled once again by both young and old creative talents who are into the varied arts like painting, dance, theater, music, photography and the most recent use of digital technology in producing animation and independent films. I believe that if there is one thing that we need to boost further to make Baguio what it was or used to be, it is the area of culture and the arts.

After the successful launching of 2011 Sineng Pambansa Film Festival and the establishment of a Cinematheque in Baguio by the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the City Government of Baguio, through its Tourism and Special Events Division saw a bright light in undertaking activities that promote the growth and development of the local film industry that can likewise boost tourism development. With the end goal to encourage artists and aspiring film makers to produce their own films as well as to motivate the people of Baguio to patronize Filipino films, the City Government partnered with the Film Development Council of the Philippines through a special agreement.

I was then tasked to coordinate between these national and local government units and help plan moves to concretize the first Baguio Film Festival that will likewise recognize locals and individuals whose talents and expertise contributed to the development, promotion and growth of film industry not only in Baguio but the country as a whole.

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A perceived innovation to the Baguio Film Festival is the participation of the various Sister Cities of Baguio as a member of sisterhood and twinning ties with various cities in other countries. One of the perceived goal of the film fest is to further understand and appreciate each other’s culture through the arts, particularly in the film industry.

2012 was also a year of breaking-in for the Baguio Cinematheque which can now be credited for hosting international film festivals with Argentina, Mexico, Japan, South Africa and the European Union. If a city like Baguio with the support of its local officials can look towards the goal of developing the film industry in the locality as a community based activity coupled with the holding of annual Baguio Film Festivals, I am sure that the best locally made indie films, directors, sriptwriters and other talents will surface.

Jocelyn Banasan-Kapuno won a film grant from FDCP and once again surprised the art community with her indie film "Kanana Kanu". Back in the late 80’s Jocelyn bagged the most coveted JVC President’s award in a Tokyo Film Festival. Her recent work follows a Kalinga epic about a warrior named Fanna who fights his way through obstacles and foes in a mission to win the hand in marriage of Uchen, the love of his life. Banasan’s film highlighted the rich culture of Kalinga and the local folklore of upland braves.

Martin Masadao’s “Anac Ti Pating”, a top awardee in the recent Davao Film Festival chronicles the life of a boy that happens in one school year from June to March. Sixto Mangaoang, the main character is a Grade 5 Math wizard who has a penchant for drawing and writing. For his English Class project, Sixto decides on writing a short story for children about a shark living in the forest in the Cordilleras. The character of Sixto develops a friendship with his Korean neighbor and a retired doctor who encourages Sixto to strive hard to pursue his dreams. The story reveals Sixto’s first love with his dance instructor and his discovery of the truth about his birth. The Baguio Cinematheque Baguio which is located at Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Rd. Baguio City was jam packed by school pupils, cine enthusiasts and relatives of the cast of Kanana Kanu and Anac ti Pating.

The showing of both locally produced indie films was truly a hype that the Cinematheque operator Mike Zarate himself blogged about it in his social media site saying...”it’s the first blockbuster indie movie ever that the Cinematheque has shown”. How I wish too that just like the Baguio and Benguet residents who at one time in the early sixties chartered a Dangwa bus going to Manila just to watch the screening of Ten Commandments, people from elsewhere would troop to Baguio to experience and be part of an art explosion hereabouts.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 08, 2013.

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