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Active Vista Film Festival |


Active Vista Film Festival

WONDERBLOG - Ping Medina -

The Active Vista Film Festival has touched down in 17 major cities all over the country, from Baguio to Cebu to Davao. Armed with 20 local films, Dakila, a collective of the country’s most artistic minds, has pooled together with local filmmakers to bring the films that don’t usually reach the local schools and communities. Since it started September, Active Vista has been in more than 30 schools nationwide, with an estimated audience of 15,000 young people.

The festival director, Leni Velasco, also one of the core members of Dakila, recalls how it started small during one of their planning sessions back in 2008. Dakila recognizes the film medium as a very powerful art form. They also want to get the youth aware of human rights issues and a platform to exchange views.

The first Active Vista happened in 2008 — a week-long festival at Robinsons Galleria’s Indie Sine — that carried the initial tagline: “Cinema with a conscience.” The festival has grown considerably since then, as the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands and the Embassy of Australia have taken interest in making it a nationwide event.

Now, the morale is high to continue with the film festival. As the final Manila leg begins, it has warmed up to the new tagline: “True revolution begins in the imagination.”

Educating The Youth

The aim of Active Vista is to showcase films in those hard-to-reach places. As Leni points out, “There’s an argument that the masses only watch the popular films. This is not true. At the end of the day, you’re also talking about access — getting the films to the kids.”

A film screening is usually followed by an open forum with the director of the film. Among the brilliant filmmakers who have taken time out of their busy schedules are Brilliante Mendoza, Peque Gallaga, Ditsi Carolino, and even Supreme’s very own young filmmaker, Pepe Diokno.

Leni has observed the audience participation is better in the provinces, where students have shown tremendous hunger for alternative films. Their most memorable visit was at De La Salle-Bacolod where Ditsi Carolino, the country’s top documentary filmmaker, has shown her Negros version of Lupang Hinarang. The whole audience was crying when the film about their local farmers was shown to them for the first time.

Aside from giving talks, the filmmakers have taken a more active role by giving two-day seminars to the young filmmakers. In turn, they hope to spark interest in Active Vista’s Alab short film competition, which is a call for aspiring filmmakers to submit short films.

To See Is To Believe

I myself admit that I’m always uneasy when encountering the word activist. But the vista in Active Vista is just another word for point-of-view. You only have to take an active perspective of the things around you.

You don’t even have to care about human rights. All you have to do is try something creative and fun — like watching moving images — and maybe you will end up feeling something you never thought existed. Opening up the imagination will always bring great things.

In view of the good results, Leni remains optimistic: “We have a saying here in Dakila. If watching an Active Vista film can make you change the way you look at things, perhaps the things you look at will change.”

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Active Vista will hold a special advanced screening of Jerrold Tarog’s Senior Year, which has recently been rated “A” by the Cinema Evaluation Board. Catch the Manila leg of the festival at the UP Film Center from Dec. 8-10, as the last day marks the International Day for Human Rights.

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