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'Substantiate your opinion': Students join NCCA workshop on film reading |

Arts and Culture

'Substantiate your opinion': Students join NCCA workshop on film reading

Kathleen A. Llemit -
'Substantiate your opinion': Students join NCCA workshop on film reading
Students participate at the film reading workshop organized by the National Committee on Culture and Arts last March 8, 2024 in the Ateneo de Zamboanga University in Zamboanga City. / Kathleen A. Llemit

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines — In this day and age of social media, it is convenient and easy to share one's thoughts and opinion, including one's opinion on the latest blockbuster hit or an Indie film gem.

Students in Zamboanga, however, learned a few tips on how to appreciate or read a film better in a workshop facilitated by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts when the national agency visited the southern city last March 8 in celebration of the National Arts Month every February.

Two members of the National Committe on Cinema, which is under the subcommission on the Arts of NCCA, led the film reading workshop held in the Ateneo de Zamboanga University. 

Attended by students from all over the city, Vice Head Tito G. Valiente and Executive Committee member Jose Antonio W. Garcia, stressed some key points in film appreciation after screening three films, namely, "Sa Paglupad Ka Banog” by Elvert Banares, “Brand X” by Keith Deligro and “Naboc” by Rodel Artiaga Jr.

After the screening of "Naboc," Valiente and Garcia started the discussion about the author being dead. They introduced the theory about the author or writer being absent or inconsequential in relation to the reader's interpretation of his work. 

"Have you heard about the author being dead? That when you read the book, it doesn't matter whether the author is with you or whether the author agrees with you because you are free to analyze the book. You don't have to listen to him or her because the author is always dead. 

"'Pag nasulat na 'yung libro, wala na siya. Lumipad na 'yung libro and it has a life of its own," Valiente shared. 

Garcia added that it means that the viewer's interpretations are valid, whether he or she agrees with the filmmaker or has an entirely different interpretation. 

Garcia, however, stressed that when one puts put an opinion or interpretation, one must be able to substantiate it. 

"When you make a criticism, you are allowed to put your opinion or interpretation forward. It is valid, but this is now the big but. 

"When you make a criticism, when you make an opinion, when you make an interpretation of a work, you have to validate it. You have to substantiate it. Hindi pwede sabihin, 'I like the film.' Uwi ka na. 

"Substantiate your opinion, because, yes, the author is dead, and what the author wrote does not necessarily translate to what you read. But if you're gonna read it in a certain way, you have a reason why you read it that way," Garcia said. 

Valiente shared his way of teaching by asking a student to rate the film. His method involves giving a rating from a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being excellent. Upon reaching a rating, he asks for reasons behind the numbers that were deducted from a perfect rating of 10. 

This was the same exercise that he and Garcia did with the students who gamely participated and gave insightful comments during the film reading workshop in Zamboanga. 

"You just don't say I don't like it. Ad hominem 'yan. Chismis 'yan. Dapat iva-validate mo 'yung what you like and you don't like," Valiente said. 

RELATED: NCCA holds art, upcycling workshops for students in Zamboanga City

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