Film Screening
Freedom Mov_E x Cinemalaya film festival launched in Palawan

Cinemalaya x Freedom Mov_E Palawan screening 2

Back in September, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom - Philippines, in partnership with Cinemalaya and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, launched a special edition of its flagship human rights film festival in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Attended by more than 1,200 students, Freedom Mov_E x Cinemalaya featured the screening of award-winning short films, a short documentary, and full-length features that culminated in an engaging discussion on human rights issues pervasive in the region.

FNF Philippines recognizes how films can be an effective and powerful medium to promote human rights and liberal values. It can inform decisions, trigger ideas, spark discussion, and inspire positive change amongst its audience. Merging both learning and entertainment through film screenings have proven to be a more accessible way for less central communities to discuss relevant issues and champion advocacies for freedom.

Cinemalaya x Freedom Mov_E Palawan screening 3

Originally a film-making competition, Freedom Mov_E has provided a platform for Filipino filmmakers to promote their creative work tackling relevant sociopolitical issues. In its first iteration in 2017, filmmakers all over the country were invited to submit their films translating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into timely narratives. This theme continued into 2018. In 2019, the festival shifted its focus on narratives about women thriving despite challenges - women who broke glass ceilings and defied stereotypes.

For the first time in the festival's history, Freedom Mov_E x Cinemalaya combined two flagship projects to highlight newly awarded films from budding and established filmmakers. It featured two Cinemalaya 18 full length films, two Cinemalaya 18 short films, and a mini-documentary produced by FNF Philippines in partnership with Rappler.

Cinemalaya 18

The first full-length film, Carlo Obispo's THE BASEBALL PLAYER, follows Amir, a 17-year old Moro child soldier, who aspires to become a baseball player amidst an all-out war. Amir, whose father was killed in a war, yearns for a different life as he trains extensively with his coach to make it to the final tryouts of a local university. The film won best film, best editing, best screenplay, and best actor in the full-length category of Cinemalaya 18.

The second full-length film, Real Florido's BAKIT 'DI MO SABIHIN?, explores the relationship of a deaf couple slowly realizing that it is not their inability to speak or hear that is tearing them apart. The film follows Miguel and Nat, a deaf couple, as they struggle to keep their marriage given their differences in ambition and hopes for their family. The film was among the most watched titles in the Cinemalaya 18 festival line-up.

Cinemalaya 18 2

The short films featured included DIKIT by Gabriela Serrano which was loosely based on a lost silent film from Philippine National Artist Jose Nepomuceno. It follows a young woman afflicted with a dark curse who yearns for a human connection. The other short film, Zig Dulay's BLACK RAINBOW, is about an Aeta boy chasing his dream to go to school so that he would be able to read the legal documents given to their community and understand why they are being forced to give up their ancestral lands.

Also part of the lineup was the Rappler and FNF Philippines co-produced documentary POUNDING THE ROCK: THE LEGACY OF CHR CHAIRMAN CHITO GASCON that tells the story of the late chairperson of the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) in his fight for democracy and human rights.

Cinemalaya x Freedom Mov_E Palawan screening 4
Cinemalaya x Freedom Mov_E Palawan screening

Filmmaker and Director of THE BASEBALL PLAYER, Carlo Obispo, was in attendance during the event as well as his lead actor, Cinemalaya 18 Best Actor awardee, Tommy Alejandrino. They were joined by Ms Mae Caralde, Film, Broadcast, and New Media Division Chief of the Cultural Center of the Philippines; and Danika Sarion, Project Manager of FNF Philippines at the talkback session following the film screenings.

The talkback provided the students an avenue to voice out their understanding of freedom and the value of stories in communicating that freedom. Micah Mabel Magbanua, president of the SK Federation in Palawan, noted the rarity of cinemas in the Philippines being able to screen Cinemalaya films because of their non-mainstream narratives and storytelling. The event gave students in Palawan the opportunity to watch local independent films not usually distributed within their region and engage in the conversation of human rights examined by the films.

Cinemalaya x Freedom Mov_E Palawan screening 5
Cinemalaya x Freedom Mov_E Palawan screening 5