Davao Ngilngig

DAVAO.During the screening of Balangiga at Gaisano Mall of Davao. (Photo taken from Davao Ngilngig Festival Facebook page)
DAVAO.During the screening of Balangiga at Gaisano Mall of Davao. (Photo taken from Davao Ngilngig Festival Facebook page)

GROWING up, we have heard of countless town tales, superstitious beliefs, and urban legends that may have shaped our childhood storytelling and the way we perceived the place we grew up in. Anywhere in the Philippines, there will always be something creepy or extraordinary worth telling to someone new. Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter whether it really happened or it’s just a figment of someone’s imagination from several generations ago.

In Davao City, a group of filmmakers found inspiration from these timeless town tales and superstitious beliefs. They discovered that the cultural diversity and the ancient oral and written archive of tales and stories can be a good subject matter that can be explored and be advantageous for the nation’s film industry. Because of this, they tried to provide a venue for films with distinct voices.

They called the project “Ngilngig,” a Bisaya word which literally translates to gruesome, shocking, horrific, or in some sense “ngilngig” is also used to describe an unpleasantly fatty food. The word itself has a very diverse definition which the filmmakers found to be perfect.

“In 2010, they started screening the first short films in small venues. It wasn’t yet a festival, but a gathering of friends. Wala man gyud sa plano ang festival. Ang gusto ra gyud ato sa early Ngilngig filmmakers kay maghimo og films. Ning abot sa point nga nakaipon og more films kay na-encourage pud ubang friends na filmmakers na muhimo. The new batch of Ngilngig films then were not exactly based on town tales and superstitions but were stories set in Davao with local elements,” said Angely Chi, Pasalidahay convener.

Over the years, different partnerships had grown not only among the local filmmakers but also with other artists. Ngilngig started to be called Davao Ngilngig Festival (DNF). There were also a number of ngilngig-related projects that were launched by different partners.

“Ang nakanindot sa DNF with Pasaliday kay naka create siya og connections with other artists and art-based initiatives, hence a network of collaborating artists and volunteers. An example would be Panagtagbo, which is also a venue for visual and written artworks. This stronger collaboration doesn’t exactly ‘change’ the film scene. This only means that many have now realized that film is essentially a collaborative process,” said Bagane Fiola, Davao Ngilngig Festival director.

Pasalidahay is a collective of filmmakers advocating cinemas from the Philippine regions and fostering audience development.

Fiola also said through these collaborations, different functions had been well-distributed such as the works on visuals, sound and music, the story, the script, and so on.

“This is one of the things that make DNF proud—that it wouldn’t be what it has become now without the community; without the people that made it happen,” Fiola added.

Chi also said that it was last year that the DNF really expanded. It was last year that they decided to add a mall cinema venue in order to reach out to the mainstream audience of films. “It was also last year when we also decided to highlight works in other art disciplines through Panagtagbo. This is why this year, the Davao Ngilngig Film Festival is now called the Davao Ngilngig Festival to be expansive, not only highlighting film but also fostering other disciplines such as theater, visual art, and literary art,” said Chi.

For this year, the people behind DNF decided to jump off from the town tales and superstitions where the Ngilngig project started. It now branched out “to the weird, the eerie, the wazak, [and] mga di nato ma-pin down kung unsa exactly.”

Fiola also said for this year they have over 50 short films and five award-winning, critically-acclaimed, internationally-recognized feature films. These, he said, do not only transcend the meaning of Ngilngig but also the quality of Filipino film as well.

“This year, DNF features more full length films, and more mall cinema screenings. Last year, we only had two mall screenings for the opening and closing films. Now, we have three mall screenings. We also expanded the coverage of ngilngig. With the films, it’s the first time we have an animation screening block,” added Chi.

Aside from the Ngilngig film of competing filmmakers, the featured films for this year’s festival include Balangiga, How to Disappear Completely, Alipato: The Very Brief Life of an Ember, Jungle Love, and Baconaua.

Yesterday, Beyond Films: Collaborations Across Disciplines was also held at the Morning Light Art Gallery & Shop. This activity was organized in partnership with Panagtagbo featuring artist Shievar Olegario.

To be updated of the activities and other film screening organized by DNF, program guide is comprehensively listed here: https://davaongilngigfilms.com/festivalprogram/.


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.