GRAHAMSTOWN (July 17) — For the first time in its presence in South Africa, the Philippines took part at the 2009 National Arts Festival held in this town from July 2-11, 2009. The South African National Arts Festival is one of the most important events on the country’s cultural calendar, and the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent.
UP Professor Dr. Arminda Vallejo Santiago represented film dierctor Clodualdo del Mundo, in the Main Film Programme of the Festival where seven Philippine films were shown at the Olive Shreiner Hall of the Monument. The Filipino movies screened include “Manila in the Claws of Darkness” (Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag), directed by the late Lino Brocka; “Baler” by Mark Meily, “Peeping” (Silip) by Elwood Perez; Mike De Leon’s “Third World Hero” (Bayaning Thirdworld); the comedy “Crying Ladies” by Mark Meily; Laurice Guillen’s “Santa Santita”’; and “Manoro” of Brillante Mendoza. “Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag” was the opening film shown on July 3.
Before the screening of the film “Maynila…”, Ms. Helen R. Firme-Subido, the Philippine Embassay’s Cultural and Information Officer, delivered a speech on behalf of Ambassador Virgilio A. Reyes, Jr., who was on official leave. Professor Santiago then made an introduction of the film and talked about film director Lino Brocka.
The Philippines also participated in the Main Music Program of the Festival through Grahamstown-based Filipina pianist Mariel Ilusorio, with Chilean-born violinist Juan Luis Muñoz, a senior lecturer in music at Rhodes University, and three South African vocalists.
In their Music of the Philippines, they presented a programme of works for solo piano, voice and violin introducing Philippine culture and classical music at the Beethoven Room in Grahamstown.
Now in its 35th year, the Festival began in 1974 and has grown to be one of the leading arts festivals in southern Africa. Its objectives are to deliver excellence; encourage innovation and development in the arts by providing a platform for both established and emerging South African artists; create opportunities for collaboration with international artists; and build new audiences.