NEW YORK – In a week-long Sinehan sa Summer , the Philippine Consulate General New York hosted the showing of Filipino films from August 11 to 15. Now on its seventh year, the Consulate organizes this event to showcase Filipino films for the entertainment and appreciation of the community including avid moviegoers, film buffs and wannabe critics. The Consulate partners with community organizations during movie nights.
At the opening night on August 11, which was co-sponsored by the Alumni Associations of All Ateneo, De La Salle University and Assumption, Eddie Romero’s 1976 classic “Ganito Kami Noon Paano Kayo Ngayon.” was shown. But before the lights were turned off to air the movie, Consul General Mario S. de Leon, Jr. spoke briefly to open the annual Sinehan sa Summer event. He credited filmmakers and the Philippine cinema industry which is experiencing a renaissance in recent years. He cited films that have been produced and received critical acclaims at film festivals in Asia, Europe and the U.S. In New York alone, he said, the work product of some filmmakers have been featured in local film festivals at the Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art citing a movie directed by Lav Diaz.
This year, the Screening Committee received many submissions which posed a challenge to members deciding which movies to screen. Two nights were dedicated to 20 short films, which ran from 3 to 20 minutes — many of which had a recurring theme of immigrant life and the Filipino diaspora. These films told stories of immigrants settling into a new home country such as the pre-feature documentary “To Manong Carlos”. “The Houseband’s Wife” presents the social costs of having an OFW mother and the “Ins and Outs” , a humorous take on a day-in-the-life of immigration police officers. The entries came from all over, too. “Erintes” was submitted by Filipino Erasmus scholar Panx Solajes from Hungary; “Mabuhay Ang Pilipinas” by director Bor Ocampo came from Australia where part of it was filmed.
Following the screening of two short films was a Q&A session, which allowed filmmakers to respond to queries from the audience. Festival Screening committee members Fiel Zabat (award-winning production designer) and film producer and writer Gil Quito moderated during the two nights and had a lively exchange of comments, reviews and musings between the panelists and the audience.
In recent years, the Filipino independent film movement has seen a steep rise and the organizers took note of this trend by featuring two indies. Ang Huling Cha Cha Ni Anita” (Anita’s Last Cha Cha), a big winner in acting awards during the first CineFilipino Festival in the Philippines, was well-liked by the audience and the partner organization Philippine American Friendship Committee (PAFCOM). “Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong” (The Road to Kalimugtong), which garnered 8 wins and 17 nominations from local and international award-giving bodies struck a chord with the viewers mostly from co-sponsor Association of Filipino Teachers in America (AFTA). The movie is a heart-wrenching story of rural children’s struggle to go to school. A simple cocktail reception and fellowship preceded the indie night screenings.
Permissions for films from the Philippines were provided by ABS-CBN, Kapatid 5 TV, Unitel Pictures, CineFilipino and Film Development Council of the Philippines.
A complete lineup of films may be accessed from the Consulate’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PHConsulateNY.