LAST September 21 to 24, the Municipality of Nabunturan once again hosted the annual Nabunturan Independent Film Exhibition or more popularly known as Nabifilmex.

About 24 short films from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were screened at the municipal plaza grounds. Screening facilities were courtesy of Open Air Cinema Foundation, an international NGO which supports open-air screenings across Asia.

Comvalenyo films such as Makaakar, Warak, Panggaw, Pamugas, Cash Register, Magpanaw, Belo and Asay were shown alongside other film entries from across the country. It goes to show that the province has an active film movement with the full support of the local government.

It was a milestone for Nabifilmex which is now on its fourth staging during the stakeholders’ forum. No less than the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chair Liza Diño attended the forum alongside representatives of the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) committee on cinema.

Liza promised Nabunturanons that she will build a cinematheque on a town property, as pledge by Nabunturan Municipal Mayor Chelita Amatong, which is to be financed by the FDCP.

The cinematheque will be the answer to the needs of a cinema facility for Nabunturan and Compostela Valley, which are vying to host the 2017 Cinema Rehiyon Film Festival- perhaps, the biggest film festival in the country.

No less than Provincial Governor Tyrone Uy has pledged support to the hosting of Cinema Rehiyon next year and in support of it, he declares Nabunturan as the center of music and arts in the province.

Apart from the screening and the stakeholders’ forum, Film professor Ed Cabagnot conducted a lecture “Paano ba manood ng Pelikula.” Also the much-anticipated awards night was held which capped the successful film festival.

Film professor Kei Tan, filmmaker Benjie Garcia and noted film critic Rolando Tolentino were this year’s juries. Aleia Garcia of the film Yanbu won the Best Screenplay award, Jelford Teves won best sound design for the mining film Makaakar and Ivy Rose Peralta of the film “Ang Alingawngaw sa Panahon ng Pagpapasiya” also bagged the best production design.

Bryan Jimenez won best editing for his work in Panggaw and John Renzo Wee copped best cinematography for the film Next Time while film director Kim Nayona grabbed the Best Director award. Gilbert Lloren Nunez won Best Actor for his performance in Makaakar. Jia Dollano and Bernice Paita both won the Best Actress plum for the film “An Kapinunan mga Alon sa Danaw.”

Jury Prize went to Jelford Teves for Makaakar and Nickle Lim for “One Day Isang Diwa.” The Best Student Film award went to Warak by Erl Niko Limos and the NCCA Sulyap Kultura Award went to student filmmaker Juvy Ann Clarito for her film Asay.

The short film “Panggaw” helmed by school teacher Mary Ann Gabisan won Gimadyawan Award for Best Film.

Nabifilmex had guests from Davao and Manila who came to the town just to support this noteworthy endeavor. Present in the event were acclaimed indie actors 37th Gawad Urian Best Supporting Actor, Junjun Quintana and Jesus Mendoza, who starred in the Comval shot QCinema entry “Iisa.”

Here’s hoping that my next visit to the center of the valley would be for next year’s Cinema Rehiyon which (fingers crossed) can be achieved.

Kudos to Nabifilmex! Congratulations to the film festival organizing team led by lawyer Karen Santiago-Malaki and also to the filmmakers, for a job well done. Hope to see you and your films at the Mindanao Film Festival.