Text: Tiny Diapana
BINISAYA is making the rounds again this year, and as usual the film festival continues to go against the odds, fighting to bring Cebuano films to Cebuano audiences in an unwavering attempt to reshape our cultural identity heavily influenced by our colonial history and its trappings.
It’s a sad fact but a majority of local film viewers prefer Western media above films made by their fellow Cebuanos. Stymieing the growth of the local film culture even further is also the fact that most Cebuano films have to struggle to reach cinemas in Cebu.
“The films that have come from Cebu in the last 10 years have gained renown for breaking grounds, bending tradition and conventions, and critical acclaim for its artistic aspirations. But while this new wave has become celebrated among regional and independent filmmakers all over the country and abroad, it has barely penetrated the mainstream consciousness in the city of its birth,” this year’s Binisaya festival director, Ara Chawdhury explains.
In its seventh run this year, the movement’s organizers aim at deeper audience development, pushing against commercial restraints to bring Cebuano films home. Not only is BINISAYA working to screen Cebuano produced films in schools and in barangay communities here in Cebu, but they also aim to present the films in major mall theaters as well.
BINISAYA understands the relevance of framing in the presentation of media, and the organizers are striving to present local films in major local cinemas during the festival proper so that audiences will learn to recognize local films as much as they recognize Hollywood produced movies.
But that’s not all. The festival is also offering the community five months of BINISAYA with a series of pre-festival events to engage the audience and prepare the public for the film screenings.
The films to be screened during the festival include award-winning CinemaOne Originals Confessional (2007), Damgo ni Eleuteria (2010), My Paranormal Romance (2011),Di ingon nato (2011), Aberya (2012), Iskalawags (2013), Soap Opera (2014), Miss Bulalaca (2015), Lily (2016) as well as Regional Films like 2 Cool 2 Be Forgotten (2016), Forbidden Memory (2016), Women of the Weeping River (2016), Baboy Halas (2016), Ta Pug Imatuy ‘The Right to Kill’ (2017), and Salvage (2015).
The festival will also present Cebuano Orphan/Hybrid Features like Swap (2015), Patay na si Hesus (2016) Martes Martes (in production), The Muses (2013), and Waves (2015).
The film festival kicked off last May 19 with Millennial Matters, a Short Film Screening of a selection from the BINISAYA collection from festivals over the years. A similar screening was held during the Gabii sa Kabilin (May 26), at Sugbo Mercado (June 17), and at Vibo Place (July 15). Apart from screenings, the festival held a press launch last June 17 followed by a Concept to Screenplay Workshop with Chawdhury at A Space. BINISAYA will continue holding a series of activities until the festival proper in September.
Here’s a rundown of the Binisaya Film Festival Calendar of Events:
Student Caravan/ Film Appreciation/Criticism Workshop
BINISAYA believes that with a holistic appreciation of our own island‘s culture and art, the youth becomes confident in their identity as Cebuanos and Filipinos. It is in this spirit that BINISAYA has always approached its goal of audience development, and its school screenings. This year, we will also be conducting film film appreciation /criticism workshops with Mariya Lim, who attended the Salamindanaw Film Criticism Workshop in 2016 with acclaimed critic Chris Fujiwara, and USC Cinema teacher, Atty Grace Lopez.
A Space: Production Ethics
and Best Practices Workshop
As a budding industry, the Cebuano Film Scene needs to professionalize in order to attract constant investors and co-productions. With over 11 years of experience, Above the Line Productions‘ own Jill Anoba-Yap discusses what it means to be a professional filmmaker and how to act like one on set.
July 29 – August 4-6
Binisaya Film Lab 2017
This is an intensive workshop that aims to develop filmmakers and material through mentorship with battle scarred filmmakers. This year, the Film Lab aims to produce the omnibus feature, Martes Martes, the next part in the Adlaw Adlaw film series — an exquisite corpse project meant to showcase the sensibilities and sentiments of the year‘s generation of filmmakers condensed into a single day.
A Space: Film Screening
Short Film Screening of a selection from the BINISAYA collection from festivals over the years. General Patronage.
48-Hour Shoot Out
The 48-HR Shootout is a challenge initiated by the Motion Picture Society of Cebu to encourage experience-based learning in storytelling. This program will gather Cebu-based filmmakers to celebrate the art and craft, as well as the joys and pains, of making movies. Limitations are set to push the creativity of the participating teams in the hopes of cultivating a culture of pragmatic filmmaking and collaborative storytelling.
August 19 – Sept 2
Cebu Province: Film Caravan
With projector and laptop in tow, Keith Deligero has been bringing cinema to plazas, under bridge communities, posh moviehouses all over the country. This year, BINISAYA goes around Cebu within a span of 2 weeks.
A Space: Sound Production
and Post Production Workshop
Sound is one of the most important aspects of film, yet often the most overlooked by amateur filmmakers. Musician and Sound Engineer Gerald James D‘Lonsod will reveal how to take your film sound to the next level.