Freedom Mov_E 2023 Leaves its Mark in Naga
FNF Philippines, in collaboration with the Naga City People's Council (NCPC) and several local partners, recently brought the curtain up on the sixth edition of Freedom Mov_E in Naga City. This annual film festival, which originated as a film-making competition in 2017, has matured into a robust platform for Filipino filmmakers to intertwine creativity with pressing socio-political matters. In the years since its inception, the festival has visited different parts of the country like Cebu, Palawan, Quezon City, and now in Bicol, to bring independent films on various social issues across a wide-range of audiences.
Over the course of two days, the festival showcased two feature-length films that delve into the intricacies of human rights and citizen participation. The films, a blend of documentary and narrative, communicated messages that resonated with the diverse crowd of students, film enthusiasts, and community volunteers. FNF recognizes how this influential medium can transcend being mere entertainment. Through authentic voices, it can also be an effective conduit for promoting democratic values and championing human rights.
This year, the festival's success reverberated in Naga City as it drew over a thousand people across four screenings. The event was held at the Bichara Cinema, Bichara Theater Mall in Naga, on November 25 & 26. From 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the festival provided a space that could foster a discussion on the value of empathy, even with forces that our former biases may have readily dismissed, and the strength that comes with organizing communities to fight for a common goal.
The festival featured the premiere of FNF Philippines' first full-length documentary, "In The Trenches of the Pink Revolution." This documentary provided an insider's perspective on the surge of volunteerism that reshaped electoral campaigning in the Philippines in 2022. It reflected on the strategies employed by the Leni Robredo campaign team and contemplated the landscape, one year removed from the results of the election, to offer a glimpse of hope for the future.
This premiere was made even more special by the attendance of Attorney Leni Robredo, the beacon of the Pink Revolution herself, during the 2nd day of screenings. Many in attendance cited how the film opened old wounds from the previous national campaign but also managed to provide catharsis for the many volunteers who participated in the movement that shared a collective grief in its aftermath.
Alongside the documentary, Freedom Mov_E 2023 also showcased the Cinemalaya film "Ang Duyan Ng Magiting," winner of the Cinemalaya 2023 Special Jury Prize & Best Ensemble Performance. The film is a collection of interwoven stories that showcase life and violence in the Philippines, urging viewers to reflect on courage, justice, and nationalism. Following the screenings, filmmaker Dustin Celestino and actor Joel Saracho joined FNF in a talkback discussion to answer questions, provide insights and details on the making of the film, as well as connect with the audience who identified several easter eggs and metaphors that they placed in the film.
"In The Trenches of the Pink Revolution" and "Ang Duyan Ng Magiting" were arguably two mirror narratives that sought to address the flaws within the current system and the shortcomings of past attempts to bring about change. Both films argued this while recognizing that the value remains in the attempt and the prevailing desire to hope even when the political landscape remains dim.
FNF Philippines hopes to continue the success of Freedom Mov_E 2023, and its past editions, as it seeks to venture to other parts in the country in the coming years. The aim of nurturing the intersection of cinema and societal discourse has remained its guiding principle in the 6 years since the festival started. The festival stands not just as an annual cinematic spectacle but as an avenue to amplify authentic voices who champion the intrinsic values Filipinos hold dear and inspire communities to share that message and remind each other how hope will always remain in the hands of those willing to fight for it.