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Philippines is 1st Southeast Asian nation in focus in Mexico’s Guanajuato International Film Festival

Philippines Mexico's Guanajuato International Film Festival
Mexico’s Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF) features 30 Filipino films in celebration of the 100 years of Philippine Cinema. Photo from FDCP

The Philippines is the first Southeast Asian nation to be given the spotlight at the celebrated Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF) in Mexico, marking another milestone for Philippine cinema’s 100 years anniversary.

The focus on Philippine cinema at the 22nd GIFF will run until July 28.

The biggest and most celebrated film festival in Mexico launched the 2019 Spotlight Country featuring renowned Filipino film industry personalities such as award-winning director and auteur Brillante Mendoza, Ed Lejano, and Nick Deocampo who served in the Jury.

One of Philippine cinema’s finest award-winning actors Bembol Roco, who also starred in the feature film “Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag,” was the Guest of Honor for this year’s GIFF.

Philippine National Artist for Film and Father of Philippine independent cinema, Kidlat Tahimik, was given an international tribute alongside American and British film directors Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) and Terry Gilliam (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote) for their notable contribution to the cinema.

Philippine Ambassador to Mexico Demetrio R. Tuason spearheaded the Philippine Spotlight Program and the Philippines’ Guest Country participation at the GIFF, in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Department of Tourism (DOT), Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), ABS-CBN Films (Star Cinema), Cinematografo, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

“It is a great honor and perfect opportunity to bring the best of Philippine cinema and our culture to Mexico, a country which we share a long history with. FDCP is pleased to spearhead the participation of the country at such a big film festival,” FDCP Chairperson and CEO Mary Liza Diño said.

GIFF features a total of 30 Filipino films which falls under five different sections such as Philippine Cinema Retrospective: Cinema, Colonialism, Culture, Kidlat Tahimik, QCinema/Contemporary Films, Short Films from Philippine Archipelago, and In Special Program/Section.

The 30 GIFF featured films from the Philippines are comprised of the following:

Philippine Cinema Retrospective: Cinema, Colonialism, Culture

  1. A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino Lamberto Avellana, 1965
  2. Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila in the Claws of Light) – Lino Brocka, 1975
  3. Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? (As we were) – Eddie Romero, 1976
  4. Pagbabalik ng Lawin – Fernando Poe Jr., 1975
  5. Batch ‘81 – Mike De Leon, 1982
  6. Oro, Plata, Mata – Peque Gallaga, 1982
  7. Himala (Miracles) – Ishmael Bernal, 1982
  8. Noli Me Tangere – Gerardo de Leon, 1961
  9. Karnal – Marilou Diaz Abaya, 1983

Kidlat Tahimik

  1. Mababangong Bangungot (Perfumed Nightmares) – 1977
  2. Turumba – 1981
  3. Bakit Dilaw ang Gitna ng Bahaghari? (Why is Yellow the middle of the Rainbow? – 1994 (Documentary)
  4. Lakbayan – 2018, with Brillante Mendoza and Lav Diaz

QCinema/Contemporary Films

  1. Matangtubig – Jet Leyco, 2015
  2. Apocalypse Child – Mario Cornejo, 2015
  3. Manananggal sa Unit 23B – Prime Cruz, 2016
  4. Women of the Weeping River – Sheron Dayoc, 2016
  5. Pag-ukit sa Paniniwala – Hiyas Bagabaldo, 2018 (Documentary)

Short Films from Philippine Archipelago

  1. To Siomai Love – Remton Zuasola, 2009
  2. Boca – Zurich Chan, 2010
  3. Sanayan lang ang Pagpatay – Gil Joseph A. Sanchez, 2011
  4. Ang Pagpukaw sa akong Damgo – Arbi Barbarona, 2014
  5. Happy Fiesta – Joe Bacus, 2014
  6. Aliens Ata (Maybe Aliens) – Glenn Barit, 2017
  7. Bawod (Bent) – TM Malones, 2017
  8. Tembong – Shaira Advincula, 2018

In Special Program/Section

  1. Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon – Lav Diaz, 2014
  2. Alipato: The Very Brief Life of an Ember – Khavn Dela Cruz, 2016
  3. Eerie – Mikhail Red, 2018
  4. Yellow Rose – Diane Paragas, 2019

As the country of focus at the Latin-American film festival, the Filipino culture was not only celebrated through the film showing but also through other activities such as conferences, forums, masterclasses, a concert, and a dinner.

Now on its 22nd run, the GIFF continues to offer a diverse selection of screenings, conferences, and other activities that bring international film industry professionals together for networking opportunities.

SEND cheers in the comments below for the 22nd GIFF organizers for marking 100 years of Philippine cinema!

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Nicole Del Rosario
Nicole Del Rosario
Nicole Anne D. Del Rosario is a fresh AB Communication graduate with specialization in Public Relations. She is a former campus journalist and Rappler intern who loves to contribute to the society by writing the history-in-the-making. Nicole believes in the power of journalism and supports a free press.

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