ISOLATION is nothing new to any artist. Once or more times in an artist’s life, he or she goes through this. But this Covid situation that we are all going through moved everyone into the forced homestay. These 16 Filipino filmmakers from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao weaved stories chronicling their struggles and triumphs during the pandemic in the way they know best -- through film.
ECQ: Eksena Cinema Quarantine (Covid-19 Filmmakers’ Diaries), a project under the National Commission for Culture and the Arts - National Committee on Cinema (NCCA-NCC), in cooperation with University of St. La Salle- Artists’ Hub, features 16 filmmakers, namely, Adjani Arumpac, Hiyas Baldemor Bagabaldo, Arbi Barbarona, Glenn Barit, Carlo Enciso Catu, Zurich Chan, Arden Rod Condez, Kristian Sendon Cordero, Khavn, Keith Deligero, Kyle Fermindoza, Bagane Fiola, Mark L. Garcia, Julienne Ilagan, Pam Miras and Guillermo Ocampo.
Sixteen short films made into two Omnibus Films – Eksena Part 1 of 2 and Eksena Part 2 of 2 – gives us a glimpse, as well as insights from these filmmakers on how they navigated and managed their lives during the lockdown. It will have its worldwide virtual launch on Friday, January 22, 2021, at 6 p.m. and will run for a week until January 28.
National Committee on Cinema (NCC) chair Rolando Tolentino said, “it is important to continue the filmmaking process especially in this time (Covid-19 pandemic) when it is very challenging to do films and art for that matter.”
“If we do not sustain art and culture, we would not have the testament that the pandemic indeed happened. These films will become testaments that we lived this way (now) – just like Noli Me Tangere – which gave us a glimpse of what happened during the Spanish colonialism because Jose Rizal wrote Noli Me Tangere. That becomes a powerful testament over time even after centuries,” Tolentino added.
I went through the list of the filmmakers and the films that they made, and my heart rejoices to know that there are really interesting stories. One that piques my interest is our fellow Visayan artist, Arden Rod Condez of Pandan, Antique, and the director of 2019 Cinemalaya’s Best Film, “John Denver Trending.” His film here is “Random People,” which is about ten couples from the filmmaker’s hometown. They allowed these cameras to chronicle their everyday life to “bare the truth of love and reignite the magic of its romance.”
Another one to watch out for is “Right to Life” by filmmaker and cinematographer Arbi Barbarona from Davao del Norte. This is film is about Manobo mothers who fled Talaingod and Kapalong out of fear from the paramilitary attacking them, only to find themselves in another lockdown in Davao City due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
From the 16 short films, there are stories of everyday life, triumphs, losses, frustrations, and joys. Personally, I love watching short films because they are a respite from the usual plots of twists of mainstream cinema or your regular Kdrama.
So, how to access these two Eksena Omnibus films? Go to Vimeo.com and register for a free account. You can also go through the Vimeo mobile app. The films are available on-demand from January 22, 6 p.m. until January 28, 11:59 p.m. Use the promo code NCCACinema to access it for free.
If you are interested to join the conversation regarding these films and the makers of these films, four webinars are set from January 25 to 28. For more details visit https://bit.ly/EksenaCQ or join at https://bit.ly/EKSENACinemaQuarantineLaunch for updates.
Follow me on Instagram: @tey.sev and visit my travel and art blog: www.thefatgoddess.com for more stories. Thank you, everyone!