WE MUST not be prisoners of traditional folk culture. Culture must evolve and progress to keep its relevance so that it can be cherished by contemporary audiences. Each generation is building and enriching our culture. What they inherited from us will be passed with modification to those who will follow.
In the 80s, there was the renaissance of zarzuela in Silay. We were assisted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. That was good for Silay because “Matam-is Man Gali Ang Kalamay” of Hacienda Adela was chosen to be presented at the Cultural Center of the Philippines with the sugarcane workers as actors. The zarzuela mania lasted up to 1996 only with my script “Dalimuos” (about Cinco de Noviembre Revolution) sponsored by the Silay City Arts Association Inc. (SCAAI). After that, Hiligaynon zarzuela hibernated.
In 2016, Silay City Government sponsored “Photo Walk” (photography competition). The local artists suggested that it would be more challenging if they would shift to film-making. A low-budget project was put to a test. There were nine film entries with Silay as the location based on the theme related to culture, heritage, values, and tourism. Director Peque Gallaga and friends were there to assist. It turned out to be very rewarding. The Department of Tourism representative was there during the Awards Night.
Encouraged by the turn of events, this year’s “Cine Kahirup: The Silay City Film Festival” is given more support by Mayor Mark Golez as his way of promoting and marketing Silay. The mayor is assisted by Councilor Neil Solomon Locsin, Andy Javelona, Frances Dane Cobrado, Gerle Sulmaca, Eddie Osorio, and Edmar Villanueva, among others. This year, there are several entries coming from different groups: freelance local film enthusiasts, school-based, church-based, community-based theater groups, and hobbyists. The location is Silay but stories could go around life and its complexities (no restriction on the theme). The organizers respect the “freedom of artistic expression” of the film makers by presenting the uncut version to be viewed by the judges. The organizers reserve the right to cut the scenes deemed inappropriate for the general audience during the showing at Senator Jose C. Locsin and Civic Center (free entrance) on March 28 and April 1 (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
We have the following prizes: 1st place, P20,000; 2nd place, P15,000; 3rd place, P10,000. Special awards will be at P5,000 each: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Script, Best Musical Score, and Best Poster. The minimum duration of the film is 10 minutes and maximum is 20 minutes. All entries must be either in Hiligaynon, Tagalog or English. Films done in Tagalog and Hiligaynon should have a copy with English subtitles.
The film will be judged based on cinematography, audio and visual, originality and style, direction and overall content. The Awards Night with red carpet reception will be held on April 1 with Mayor Mark Golez and Vice Mayor Joedith Gallego. Other guests attending are councilors, film makers, actors, and VIPs. The “After Party” follows at The Mansion at Jose Ledesma Street. Those attending are expected be in their upbeat casual attire.
We are negotiating that the winning films will be shown at the Panaad Park during the Panaad Festival through the Provincial Tourism Office. Some films that suit the K to 12 Program of Department of Education-Silay could be borrowed later for the Mother Tongue classes. As part of the public relations and tourism program, some of these films (including that of last year) could be shown also in the barangays during fiestas and special events.
Cine Kahirup will provide exploratory approaches for film makers to find their forte: nail-clinging scene, spine-tingling music, fantastic fiery climax, cheesy humor and wisecracks, techno-thrillers, realm of unbelievable, kinetic power, whimsical tale, bravado performance, cinematic conundrums, stoic stances, high-speed maneuvers, passionate romance, or anything that could be awe-inspiring. You will find popcorn acting also.
Here are the titles to thrill your imagination: “Panakayon,” “Importante Busog ang Tiyan,” “The Five Sorrowful Mysteries,” “Halad,” “Sa Pihak nga mga Kabuhi,” “Pagpatak sang Ulan sa Tig-ilinit sang Abril,” “Brandon,” “Pagtimalos,” “Suba sang Malogo,” “Scratch,” “Again,” “Pitik sang Suloksulok,” “ Si Lola Marit kag Lolo Tisoy,” and “Kislap ng mga Ngiti”.
Dr. Cecille Nava has documented our Silay zarzuela. We are inviting her to see the evolution of the work of our artists in Silay. This is part of Silay culture. Culture is what you are by what you are not. This is how we promote our Silaynon identity and solidarity. This is what we do for Negros and for the country. This is how we support our tangible and intangible heritage. Welcome to Silay City Film Festival!