Cinema Rehiyon in Nabunturan

CINEMA Rehiyon film festival is a flagship project of the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) cinema committee. It brings together the best of regional films from different parts of the country.

The 9th Cinema Rehiyon in Nabunturan is the seventh Cinema Rehiyon I attended (missing out the first and the fourth held in Bacolod). The first two editions of the Cinema Rehiyon were held in Manila at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, then in 2011 Davao City was the first venue outside Manila.

It was followed by Bacolod (2012), Los Banos (2013), Cagayan de Oro (2014), Cebu (2015), Dasmarinas, Cavite (2016) and now Nabunturan.

Despite the lack of a cinema or a theater in this part of Compostela Valley (Nabunturan’s lone cinema closed in the 1990s), the town managed to have a nurturing film community. Proof of which is the holding of the Nabunturan Indie Film Exhibition or Nabifilmex, a film festival that screens local shorts and other films from different regions in the country. It was first organized in 2012.

Just like in Nabifilmex the Cinema Rehiyon screening venues were done in different locations across the town, function rooms in hotels and restos, school halls and then there is the 20-foot inflatable movie screen donated by the Open Air Cinema Foundation.

The 9th Cinema Rehiyon is also the biggest staged so far with over 90 films being shown. Filmmakers, critics, programmers, students, teachers, film enthusiasts, NCCA/ FDCP officials trooped to the capital of the Compostela Valley province for the five-day event hosted by the Nabifilmex, the Municipal Tourism Council and the Nabunturan local government with the support of the provincial LGU.

I hopped in along the Mindanao Film and Television Development Foundation, Inc. (MFTDFI) team who was organizing the festival’s guerrilla filmathon, a 24-hour filmmaking race, with teams from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao racing to finish their films across several spots in Nabunturan.

I managed to catch several full-length films during the festival. There’s the Cinema One documentary “Forbidden Memories” by Teng Mangansakan which recalls the horrors of the Marcos-era Malisbong massacre where innocent civilians were killed by government troops in a remote town in Sultan Kudarat circa 1974.

I was also able to watch “Lando at Bugoy.” Inspired by a true-story of a man in Camiguin who returned to study high school to challenge his wayward son, who had no interest in studying. The film is directed by Vic Acedillo who recently returned to his hometown in Camiguin after many years working in Manila.

The third film I caught was the full-length “Paglipay” (Crossing) a story of a broken-hearted Manila coed and a love-struck Aeta in Zambales. Helmed by Zig Dulay, the film won best picture in the 2016 Tofarm Film Festival.

One of the highlights of the festival was the groundbreaking of the Nabunturan Cinematheque located beside the Nabunturan Comprehensive National High School. The cinematheque would provide Comvalenyos, Nabunturanons and also Dabaonons an opportunity to watch acclaimed Filipino and international films.

A usufruct agreement with the Nabunturan local government led by Mayor Chelita Amatong and the Film Development Council of the Philippines led by Liza Dino-Seguerra, this would be the first cinematheque to be built by the FDCP from scratch as previous cinematheques were actually refurbished existing structures.

The Nabunturan Cinema Rehiyon was a tremendous success with its well-attended movie screenings, forums, symposiums, parties and get-togethers hopefully which could inspire other film communities in striving powered by their passion in making cinema.

Kudos to team Nabifilmex, to Mayor Chelita Amatong of Nabunturan LGU and to the host team led by festival director Atty. Karen Santiago-Malaki.
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