Nurturing regional voices
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - February 27, 2020 - 12:00am

Amid coronavirus threat, life goes on. Although there are hesitations, postponements and cancellations but we cannot hold important events in further abeyance. If we have to extend to a later date, this may conflict with other future events.

And here goes, I’m traveling for a very important cultural event. Our 2019 Sinulog Film Festival entry "Kwerdas" goes to Naga City in Bicol for the Cinema Rehiyon from February 23 to 29, 2020 at the Ateneo de Naga University.

What started as a small film festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) with 28 delegates, 46 short features, and six full-length films, has grown considerably through the years to today’s 12th edition.

The flagship project of the National Commission for Culture and the Art’s National Committee on Cinema, the Cinema Rehiyon showcases short feature and full-length films from regions outside Metro Manila.

This is an exceptional celebration since it shows films portraying stories that for Manileños who typically don't find a good pace they have the sort of film and media that are normally very Manila-driven and center around the Tagalog speaking region. What they have been missing for a long time of filmmaking are stories originating from the regions and Cinema Rehiyon is a stage for getting every one of these stories in a single venue.

Film choice for the festival is done per region. These territorial film celebrations sort out their own little film competitions in the provinces. From that point, they help select which to consider for the celebration, ttypically having a choice of pretty much 100 titles. The full-length films, then again, are chosen from significant festivals, for example, Cinemalaya, Cinema One Originals, and Sinag Maynila. The celebration stays a non-rivalry that transforming the celebration into a challenge would as opposed to advancing Philippine film, would begin advancing regionalism.

All these efforts (film festivals) are designed to develop an alternative cinema — not to replace the mainstream because it will always be there — but to provide a venue for other voices to be heard and other kinds of filmmaking. When you put all of these films together, it creates such a rich tapestry that shows the diversity of what the Philippines is all about. This is so important in developing and nurturing regional voices thus allowing unique yet creative voices to be heard.

It remains a continuing encouragement for producers and directors to take risks in creating films that connect audiences regardless of their regional hometown. If we are to grow as a nation, we are to have more stories that paint a complete picture of the Filipino, not just the Manileño. If stories are part of identity formation, then our identity is incomplete without the stories from the regions.

The principal component considered in filmmaking is knowing the various needs of every region. The necessities and the comprehension as far as our own individual films are totally different from one another. How about we keep on creating film training programs for nothing out of pocket or for a minimal fee for producers in various regions?

The industry and audiences ought to have the option to grasp local film close by films with stories set in context in Manila. Philippine film has been very Manila-centric. There must be a concentration and unique consideration given to local producers. These are the things we should appear outside that is a portrayal of what our identity is.

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