By Tiny Diapana
STRUGGLE and material inadequacy often hang against the image of art and creativity. Though bearing a sense of romantic idealism, the personage of the starving artist is persistent and often times real. The warning cry from family and friends about how art barely pays the rent and how art barely feeds often echoes in a stream.
Dakila, the Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, understands that fine art, music, literature, and film all have little power over the ways of the world. In their opening line for their human rights education platform, the Active Vista International Human Rights Film Festival, Dakila writes that they recognize how art has never “stopped a tank, prevented a bullet, fed a hungry child, or overthrown a corrupt government.” However, despite its lack of direct action, art remains as one of humanity’s most powerful tools for change. Art speaks. Art influences perception. Art incites action. In the words of Jerzy Kosinski, “The principle of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.”
As an art form, film has been considered as one of the most powerful mediums of communication that can be used to evoke change. Film has the power to influence and educate by the thousands and Dakila believes that films can be used as a tool to help mould the consciousness of the new generation and help evoke social awareness.
Keeping this in mind, Dakila established Active Vista, offering a wide selection of films that foster social awareness and human rights education for the people. First organized in 2008 under the banner of “Cinema with a Conscience,” the festival continues to bring filmmakers, academia, businesses, civil societies, the government, and the youth together to gather and fuel the discourse on human rights and transformative social action.
After kicking off this year’s Active Vista under the theme “Projecting Truth” in February, Dakila then began hosting a special section of its program, the Dutch-Filipino Film Festival, which continues to offer human rights films. The Dutch-Filipino festival has been organized as a celebration of the 65 years of Diplomatic Relations and 150 years of consular ties between the Netherlands and the Philippines.
“This is the first Filipino-Dutch Film Festival in the Philippines and we are proud to be organizing this as part of Active Vista,” said Marrion Derckx, the Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines. “The theme we have chosen to celebrate our anniversary is sustainability. How can the Philippine-Netherlands partnership contribute to the sustainable world that promotes human dignity? We need innovation. And inspiration — which this film festival hopes to bring.”
Officially opening at Shangri-La Mall in EDSA back in July, the festival was taken to Cebu City where it began its run at Robinsons Galleria Movieworld on Aug. 20.
The starting program for the Cebu leg of the festival featured “Honor Thy Father,” the controversial 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival entry by “On The Job Director” Erik Matti and “Lucia de B,” the Dutch Entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards by Paula van der Oest.
“The Active Vista Screenings in Cebu City comes in a relevant time where in the people of Cebu, especially the youth need to be enlightened on different human rights issues they encounter in their everyday lives,” Danielle de los Reyes, the Managing Director of Dakila Cebu, said in a message during the Dutch-Filipino Film Festival opening at Cebu. “The films we present here present these social problems beyond statistics and headlines and actually tell human stories that Cebuanos can relate to.”
After its successful and jam-packed opening at Robinsons Galleria, Dakila then screened at the USC Talamban Campus SAFAD theater the Dutch Film “Those Who Feel the Fire Burning” by Morgan Knibbe on August 22, Filipino film “Iisa” by Chuck Gutierrez on August 24, and Cebuano film “Swap” by Remton Zuasola.
Along with the screenings of the films, the festival program also brought with it “Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Herman Puli” by Gil Portes and discussions about heroism in a road show for its segment “Bayani Ba To forum: Heroism X Pagibig.”
Though the screenings for the Cebuano segment of the Dutch-Filipino Film have long since been over, Dakila continues to bear the torch of human rights activism and enlightenment to other cities like Baguio and Manila where the festival will move on to until the end of October.
Those who have been inspired by the films offered by Dakila during the Dutch Film Festival can check out the Active Vista website at www.activevista.ph. Interested volunteers who would like to make a difference through Dakila can check out www.dakila.org.ph.