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Ida & K’na — dream weavers |


Ida & K’na — dream weavers

NEW BEGINNINGS - The Philippine Star

A new beginning, for writer and violinist Ida del Mundo, means dipping her feet in uncharted waters. She got wet, so to speak, and in the process was showered with courage to create a film that she is proud she has made: K’na, the Dreamweaver.

She had no background in filmmaking, Ida claims, but she grew up exposed to the film industry because of her father Doy del Mundo, who brilliantly penned the screenplays of the classic Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag, ‘Merika, Kisapmata and Batch ‘81. Doy is also the director of the internationally acclaimed Pepot Artista and Paglipad ng Anghel (graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board).

Now, Doy’s daughter, a newly minted filmmaker, is carving her mark in the industry and hers surely is a notable work because K’na, the Dreamweaver made it to the New Breed (full-length feature) section of the esteemed, and oftentimes hard-to-penetrate, Cinemalaya film festival.

“K’na is the name of the main character of the film. It means ‘dream’ in T’boli,” begins the young lady director and scriptwriter of K’na, the Dreamweaver.

The film posits on the story of K’na, a young T’boli princess, who is bestowed with dreams by the goddess of abaca. As her village’s dream weaver, she has the advantage of bridging together two clans that have been at war for decades. To do so, she must choose between bringing peace to her village and following her heart. 

“At the core, the film is a love story,” Ida succinctly explains.

It is her proclivity for epic films that started the germination of her love for making K’na. “I love watching epic films, especially Asian epics, so for years I’ve been thinking of writing a Filipino epic love story because I don’t think there is anything like that yet,” says Ida, a writer for this paper’s Starweek and a self-confessed admirer of the epic films of Zhang Yimou and the visually stunning works of Baz Luhrmann, Ang Lee and Terrence Malick.

While on a writing assignment at Lake Sebu, South Cotabato last year, Ida had the chance of witnessing the vibrant and colorful T’boli culture. The tribe’s tradition of dream weaving fascinated her that she started to become her own dream weaver, too.  

“Lake Sebu became the perfect setting for my epic. I was so inspired by my first visit there that the script really started to come together,” says Ida, who has a bachelor’s degree in Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing both from the De La Salle University.

In the beginning, she tried to muffle her muse to pursue writing K’na, thinking it would be not genuine to write an epic in Tagalog “because that would not be authentic.” Then she saw Transit at Cinemalaya last year, where the dialog was partly written in Hebrew. She realized that translating the dialogue (and having the actors learn the language) could realistically be possible. That was the last push she needed to write the script and join Cinemalaya. (K’na, the Dreamweaver will premiere on Aug. 2, 6:15 p.m. at the Main Theater of the CCP. It is top billed by Mara Lopez Yokohama, Nonie Buencamino, RK Bagatsing and Alex Medina.)

“It was difficult to do K’na because I did not have any background in directing. I’m a soft-spoken person, so I had to push myself to be more assertive during the shoot, while staying true to how I think it should be done. A director does not have to shout or be abrasive to make people listen. Despite some challenges, I enjoyed the process. I was lucky to be working with talented people who were enthusiastic about the film as well,” admits Ida, who, according to her father Doy, was only a few months old when she first “saw” a film (Platoon) in a theater in Iowa City where she was born (and lived until she was eight years old) and where Doy was finishing his PhD in Film Studies at the University of Iowa.

An only child of Doy (now a university fellow at La Salle) and Dreena del Mundo (an executive staff of Bankstreet Summit School and former principal of the Miriam College Child Study Center and chairperson of the Child Development and Education Department of Miriam College), Ida confides she is grateful enough to have parents “who encouraged my creativity from the start, whether in art, music, literature, and now filmmaking.”

“They are very supportive of me; especially because I was born 14 years after they got married,” Ida discloses with a smile.

Doy, says Ida,  only got to read the script of K’na, the Dreamweaver after she  submitted her final draft to Cinemalaya. He was there to give some pointers on directing to his daughter before she started shooting. “He would always give me advice during the shoot, but I was free to take it or do my own thing,” she says.

Ida is also a highly skilled violinist who plays for the Manila Symphony Orchestra. She has been playing the violin for 25 years now, starting when she was three years old.

Because Ida grew up in a family atmosphere that is always, always filled with love, the texture of her first film is also a reflection of who she is inside and out. “I just want to make a film that is honest and beautiful, something that is not pretentious. It is not a political film, nor a historical film, nor an advocacy film, though audiences are free to interpret and critique it in these ways, depending on their own background,” she says. 

Ida says, while pondering on K’na, the Dreamweaver, that dreaming is important, but people should not stop just there. “After dreaming, one must put in the effort to make it a reality. For the T’boli it is weaving the patterns that the dream weavers see. For me, it is making this film,” she says.

Ida and her major character K’na have similarities — their lives are filled with love, devotion and perspective. K’na’s characterization may not be based on Ida’s own life but one thing remains true: they are both dream weavers who will spin yarns and yarns of beautiful thoughts to become reality.


(For your new beginnings, e-mail me at I’m also on Twitter

@bum_tenorio and Instagram @bumtenorio. Have a blessed Sunday!)

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