Re-imagining Baguio thru stills, motion pictures

THE best made the cut for the Ibagiw film competition.

During the premier of Reimagining Baguio: The Short Film Competition at Balanghay ni Ikeng Cinema at Ili-likha Artist Village, eight entries made it as finalists with awards to be given for best film, best director, best screenplay, best cinematography, and best actor (male or female).

Making the cut is "Babantay" set in 1941 in the Cordilleras featuring orphaned siblings whose parents have been murdered by soldiers.

Whang - un and his two other brothers are in a dilemma of bringing their sick sister Imang to the other side of the mountain for cure and risking getting caught and killed by Japanese soldiers.

Imang dies before they are able to cross, but not before wishing for her brothers to bring her to the other side no matter what happens.

This sets the stage for what will happen to the three brothers.

Another making it to the finals is "Death Wish," a dark comedy take on suicide where the titular character attempts to take his life via different methods — all failing due to various funny circumstances.

His search for identity and purpose is given credence by a muse who asks the question, “Ano ang dapat gawin—patayin ang sarili o ang problema?”

Also in the final eight is "For Sale" which delves into the dark underworld of prostitution and organ harvesting.

Lily is forced into prostitution to pay for their father’s debt. When little brother Raphael discovers this, he decides to do the ultimate sacrifice and have his organs harvested to pay the arrears.

The end is a question on just how much one is worth.

"Hangarin" is the story of a student with pipe dreams of fame, fortune, and a great relationship. His imagination runs through the whole story and his true situation is revealed through the unique twist at the end.

Hangarin is the story of 1/3 of Filipinos under 18 who live in poverty who leave their dreams to stay as dreams.

"Kaot" is a peek into the life of Lia who is haunted by her past and dreams of the child she once bore in her womb. The film exposes the plight of women who are forced into an unimaginable choice due to lack of accessible healthcare.

"Litrato" is a love letter of a photographer to his muse that is gone. It is also his love letter to Baguio. Will he still be coming up to Baguio if not for his muse? Will people still come up to Baguio if the cold climate, beautiful sites, and verdant hills are gone? The film is as much self-introspection as it is a look into what makes Baguio the city that it is.

"Manang Klara" is set in Spanish colonial Philippines and portrays the clash between indigenous spiritual beliefs and the western influence of Catholicism. It probes the life of Klara, a baglan or shaman who is ostracized in the town and is seen as a witch, much like how friars pictured the baglans/babaylans or spirit guides during the Spanish period.

"Siyudad na May Kaluluwa" is inspired by work from home friends and artists and details the story of a young man’s relationship with his partner and how it parallels with the unpredictability of Baguio’s weather.

Screenings are set at 6 p.m.from November 19-21 at Balanghay ni Ikeng Cinema at Ili-likha Artist Village.

The Ibagiw festival is led by the Baguio Arts and Creative Council (BACCI) and Baguio mayor Benjamin Magalong and festival creative director Karlo Altomonte.

Activities include busking, performances, product expositions and exhibitions over the span of nine days.

Other activities of Ibagiw are the “Creative Marketplace” at Dominican Heritage Hill, that will showcase the city’s creative industry sector’s crafts and folk art pieces for sale; the "Culture Bearers of Baguio" photo exhibit featuring portraits by local photographers of selected Baguio artists, artisans and cultural workers; and the “Jamming on a G-string”, a fashion show set against a background of live performances by local musical artists.

Starting on November 16 and culminating on November 24, the Ibagiw Festival shall also feature pockets of private and community led creative and art activities and galleries, and an international conference on Asean crafts and folk art. (With Richard Dean Basa, Ibagiw documentation team)


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