THE life of a farmer is one that is seldom told. These stories filled with joy, sorrow, trials and tribulations are seldom given a platform where these hardworking farmers are put on a pedestal, their voices being heard. But not anymore.

The first TOFARM Film Festival is the brainchild of Dr. Milagros How, Universal Harvester Inc.’s executive vice president. Lucky enough to have a business that led to different parts of the country and the world, How, in her travels, came to know the most hardworking people she has ever met—the Filipino farmers. And as she got to know them, she became more and more convinced that these farmers’ stories should be highlighted.

She consulted renowned film director Maryo J. delos Reyes on how to set up a film festival. It took them a year to prepare everything and the result is six beautiful films that depict the trials and triumphs of the farmers.

These six full-length narratives tastefully interpret the different facets of a farmer’s life: Zig Dulay’s Paglipay, Paolo Villaluna’s Pauwi Na, Jojo Nadela’s Pilapil, Vic Acedillos Jr.’s Kakampi, Dennis Marasigan’s Free Range and Maricel Cariaga’s Pitong Kabang Palay.

Ginawa naming misyon ang pagsisimula ng isang (It was our mission to start an) agricultural revolution. An effort to make the public aware about the struggles, the lives and the set-up of our farmers at mga kababayan sa industriya ng agrikultura (and countrymen in the agriculture industry),” How said.

These films are available for screening at the SM City Cebu’s Cinema 1 until Sept. 20. This is the first stop of TOFARM Film Festival’s provincial tour. Next month, it will be in Davao. The festival launched first in Metro Manila last July.

TOFARM Film Festival is now accepting scripts for a new set of films next year. The top six films will be given grants of P1.5 million each to produce the film. The film festival is open to all filmmakers so long as their story revolves around farming, fishing, animal husbandry and anything about agriculture. Last year, they received over 69 scripts and are hoping to receive more entries from Visayas and Mindanao.