Beginning Wednesday, August 25, a dozen Filipino short films will be shown to the public for free via the first ever Sine Halaga Film Festival. These 12 movies are anchored on the many facets of Filipino culture and impart essential values to young audiences.
The scripts of the films were screened and selected by an esteemed jury from over 100 entries. The festival is organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in partnership with the Negros Cultural Foundation (NCF).
The films include Zig Dulay’s “Black Rainbow” which mirrors the plight of many Aetas. The story is about a young Aeta boy named Itan who is unable continue with his education because his parents could no longer afford to send him to school. Until a scholarship gave him the hope to fulfill his dream—which is really to be able to read so that he can finally understand a document that is sending him and other Aetas away from their homes in the mountain.
The drama “Lorna” of Noel Escondo is about a single mother who defies the odds—and stereotypes—by being a “mangingisda” in order to feed her kids. Meanwhile, the comedy “Ugbos Ka Bayabas” of Manie Magbanua, Jr. revolves around circumcision rites or “tuli.”
There are also fantasy stories in the lineup, like Rod Arden Condez’s “Dandansoy,” which is about aging aswangs in Antique. It is believed these night creatures seek to find a mystical lake in Negros where they can just turn into ashes and disappear forever. Condez’s film is centered around a 78-year-old aswang and the young man who helps her find the elusive body of water.
Carlo Obispo’s “13 Feet” is about a man who starts to grow scales and gills after saving a drowning child 13 feet under the sea. Next is James Allen Fajardo’s “Looking for Rafflesias and Other Fleeting Things” which is about a tikbalang being blamed for the killings in a mountain community. One of the residents, Gubat, a tikbalang who transforms into a teenage boy, searches for the truth in the mountain where he meets Darren, an American botanist looking for rafflesias. This pushes Gubat to reveal his identity that puts his life at risk.
Other films included are “Bakit ako Sinusundan ng Buwan” directed by Richard Legaspi, “Hadlok” directed by Ralston Jover, “Masalimuut Ya Tiyagew Ed Dayat” directed by Jan Carlo Natividad, “Mina’s Family History” directed by Christopher Gozum, “Sa Balay ni Papang” directed by Kurt Steven Soberano, and “Salog ning Diklom” directed by Jordan Jose Dela Cruz.
The films were selected by the NCCA Committee on Cinema’s Chairperson Rolando Tolentino, film critic and educator Tito Valiente, award-winning filmmakers Jeffrey Jeturian, Roy Iglesias, Sari Dalena, National Study on Filipino Values author and lead researcher Arvin Villalon and co-author Jose Soliman, Jr.
According to Film Festival Director Elvert Bañares, the Sine Halaga Film Festival films will be used for classroom education as a tool to teach Filipino values. The group is organizing a series of webinars and preparing study guides to aid Filipino teachers in discussing the films to their students.
Supervising producer Tanya Lopez says aside from helping achieve the government’s values formation goals, the films are also NCCA’s contribution to the celebration of 100 years of Philippine cinema. To kick off this yearlong project, an opening program will be broadcast live on the Sine Halaga Facebook page at 6PM Wednesday to mark the world premiere of the films on Vimeo OnDemand.