Isang Minutong Katotohanan

Ilang-Ilang D. Quijano
Pinoy Weekly, Taon 6 Blg 29
Agosto 2, 2007

Mahigit– kumulang isang minuto. Ito lamang ang kailangang oras para paalalahanan kang mahalaga ang mga karapatang pantao – at ang pagkilos kapag sistematikong nilalabag ang mga ito sa panahon ng sinasabing di-deklaradong martial law.

Kamakailan, inilunsad ng Free Jonas Burgos Movement o FJBM ang “Rights,” inisyatiba ng iba’t ibang filmmaker na gumawa ng maiikling anunsiyo-publiko hinggil sa sitwasyong pangkarapatang pantao. Itinayo ang FJBM matapos ang pagdukot kay Jonas Burgos ng mga pinaghihinalaang militar noong Abril 28. Mga artista ang kalakhan sa mga bumubuo ng grupo – filmmaker, musikero, at potograpo – na hindi lamang desidido sa paghahanap sa kilalang desparecido, kundi sa paghahanap ng paraang itampok ang isyu ng karahasan ng estado.

“Hindi kasi masyadong pinag-uusapan ng mga tao. Hindi katulad noong martial law na deklarado simula’t sapul, ito medyo gradual ang horror (ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao) kaya mas nakakagulat,” sabi ni Sunshine Matutina, finalist sa Cinemalaya para sa pelikulang Panaginipan.

Marahil, gulat ng kaliwanagan ang hatid sa mga manonood ng mga anunsiyo-publiko. Walo ang nakalap ng grupo sa inisyal, kabilang ang kay Jon Red, tanyag na direktor ng mga pelikulang kapwa indipendiyente at mainstream.

Sa Ignorante, ginamit ni Red ang mga eksena mula sa Batas Militar, isang lumang pelikula. Angkop, dahil ang karahasang may pangalan noon ay walang pangalan ngayon, pero nananatiling bangungot sa esensiya. Katulad ng isang bangungot, ang anunsiyo ay malagim at madetalye. Kasabay ng grapikong mga pagsasadula, ipinapakita ang hindi maitatatwang mga datos ng pagpatay at pagdukot (Kung tutuusin, mababa pa ang mga bilang sa anunsiyo ni Red kumpara sa naitala ng mga grupong pangkarapatang pantao).

Samantala, nakapokus sa mga bagay na iniiwan ng mga dinukot at nawawala – sa dulo, isang batang anak – ang The Disappeared ni Matutina na nasa black-and-white.

Dalawa ang ambag na anunsiyo ng Southern Tagalog Exposure o STEx, alternatibong grupong multimedia.

Batay sa testimonya ng tortyur ng dinukot na pastor na si Berlin Guerrero ang naratibo ng Unang Araw (direksiyon at panulat ni King Catoy). Dahil dinadala ng kamera ang manonood sa punto-de-bista ng biktima, mahirap makawala. Sinadyang blurred ang mukha ng mga salaring naka-bonnet, pero maaaninag ang litrato ni Pangulong Arroyo sa dingding. Banat ng anunsiyo sa Human Security Act: maraming puwedeng mangyari sa tatlong araw na maaaring madetine nang walang kaso ang isang pinagsususpetsahang terorista sa ilalim ng bagong batas.

Samantala, sa pagbabalik-tanaw humugot ng reyalisasyon ang Where is Jonas? na nasa silent format (direksiyon at panulat ni Kiri Dalena). Lumang litrato ni Joe Burgos at mga anak na si Jonas at JL ang pinaglaruan. Sa dalawang pangungusap, ang pamana ng yumaong mamamahayag at aktibistang tumulong sa pagpapabagsak ng diktaduryang Marcos ay ikinabit sa trahedya ng kasalukuyan.

Dominado ng karakter ng nakaposturang TV announcer, sarkastiko sa umpisa at nakapangingilabot sa huli ang Good News ng digital filmmaker na si Pam Miras. Partikular na adbokasiya ng anunsiyo ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag na literal na nagwawakas sa bibig ng baril. Abangan na lamang ang tunay na pinagmumulan ng magagandang balita at limiin: “Ang totoong magandang balita ay balitang malaya.”

Sa Ikaw ni Niño Tagaro ng Ugat Lahi Artists Collective, dinadakila ang sakripisyo ng isang pinahirapang detinidong pulitikal, at sinasalungat ang kawalang pag-asa ng manonood. Sa Tanga ni Paolo Villaluna, direktor ng pelikulang Ilusyon, hinagod ang iba’t ibang eksenang pambansa mula noong dekada ’80, at hinahamon ang umano’y katangahan ng mga Pilipino.

Paliwanag naman sa enforced disappearance o terminong Ingles sa pagdukot ang Definition No. 1 ni JL Burgos.

Hindi malaking panahon at rekurso ang ginugol ng mga filmmaker sa paggawa ng “Rights.” Isang malakas na ideya, ilang oras na shooting, ilang araw na editing. Boluntaryo ang mga talento. Nagpahiram pa si Matutina ng kamera at editing machine sa mga nangailangan nito. “Ang mahalaga, masimulan ang pagmumulat sa hanay ng iba pang gumagawa ng pelikula at sa mas malawak na publiko,” aniya.

Ipinamamahagi ng FJBM ang “Rights” sa mga kakilala at ipinapalabas ito sa mga screening sa Cinekatipunan, Eksena, at Cinemalaya. Naka-upload ang ilan sa YouTube.com. At umano’y may network sa telebisyon na interesadong iisponsor ang mga anunsiyo. Marami pang filmmaker ang inaasahang sasama sa proyekto. Sa pagdiriwang ng Human Rights Month sa Disyembre, inaambisyon din ang isang pelikulang full-length.

Bukod-tangi ang mga anunsiyo-publiko na hindi lamang inilalahad ang katotohanan, kundi nanghihimok umaksiyon (“Hahayaan mo bang ikaw ang mawala bago ka magsalita?”, “Do not let their legacy disappear”). Ang magawa ito sa loob ng mahigit-kumulang isang minuto ang hamon ngayon sa pinakamahuhusay na filmmaker na nais maging makabuluhan sa panahon ng di-deklaradong martial law.

KONTRA-AGOS: A Resistance Film Festival

Robinson’s Galleria, IndieSine
Quezon City, The Philppines
December 5-11, 2007

The first question that arises when you call for support to a resistance movement is, of course, “what are you resisting against and why?” In the case of liberation movements, the simple and logical answer would be the need for emancipation from oppression, whether it is economic, political or cultural. The same case can be said of cinema. After all, as a film critic said, cinema is (both) a receptacle and symptom of a nation’s transformation. Cinema is a symptom of the state nation not only in the respect that it is a battleground of national representations. As a productive and social enterprise, it is also regulated by the same economic, political and other forces that govern a society. The same globalized economy that allows the avalanche of surplus goods from first world to third world countries, for instance, is the same force behind the proliferation of images and narratives manufactured by Hollywood. Similarly, domination of a certain stream of cinema effectively marginalizes and silences other facts, ideas and artistic sensibilities the way a certain economic order only serves the interests of a few. The government which allows the murder of activists and journalists can very well be the same institution to influence the decision of film censors. As such, the need for resistance becomes critical.

Literally meaning “against the stream/current,” Kontra Agos, thus operates within the context that the visual and the imaginary is recognized as a site of struggle. It recognizes that the dominant stream of fantasy production and representation in cinema manipulates the people’s desire, imagination, expectation and appreciation, to suit certain hegemonic and oppressive agenda. As in other similar and relative projects, Kontra Agos seeks to validate that the apparatus of cinema can be mobilized as a tool for social transformation.

The festival celebrates independently produced films that resist and subvert popular cinematic and political conventions. Featured in the festival are mainly short and documentary films, the flagship format of independent and alternative cinema in the Philippines. The films represent a wide spectrum of cinematic creations from emerging and recognized filmmakers. Veteran filmmakers like Clodualdo del Mundo will be screening their work alternately with those from a new generation of cinema artists like 14-year old Mikhail Red.

The festival also decentralizes the panorama of local cinema away from the capital as it hosts the screening of works from Visayas and Mindanao. An important selection of the festival is an anthology of short films from Mindanao organized for exhibition by moro filmmaker Teng Mangansakan. These stories about the Land of Promise as told by its children seek to subvert the otherwise distorted and sometimes demonized images of the south and its people. This homegrown collection and other films about Mindanao such as Walai (Adjani Arumpac) and Unconventional Warfare (Herbert Docena and Anna Isabelle Matutina), serve as an alternate route into the heart of the war-torn island.

Subversion is the most striking feature of the festival. Noriel Jarito presents in Bingo a story that his camera was not suppose to capture: a bingo game being played inside the church with no less than the priests officiating it. Films like Red Saga (Kiri Dalena), meanwhile gives as a glimpse of the national democratic armed struggle being waged in the countryside. Other films, on the other hand, subvert cinematic and storytelling conventions. In Hilo, subtle movements replace the almost theatrical staging of actions and emotions normally used to tell stories in the big screen. Formal poetic language and experimental designs and methods in cinema meanwhile are deftly used in Divine Wind (Sari Dalena), Threshold (Mikhail Red), Simula (Ruelo Lozendo) and Voice, Tilted Screens (John Torres), among others.

The festival also places a special emphasis on promoting the importance and protection of human rights, here in the Philippines or elsewhere. The collection of public service announcements entitled Rights will premiere its second volume. As it can be remembered, the first volume of Rights was initially given an X-rating by the MTRCB. Taken as a whole, it is a strong statement by the filmmaking community here in the Philippines against the widespread violation of human rights and the culture of impunity that perpetuates it. Documentary films such as Sa Ngalan ng Tubo, Pushing the Parameters, were also selected to present facts and accounts about the multifarious human rights violations happening in the country.

A festival of alternative and independent cinema is not new in the Philippines. Pelikula at Lipunan, Cineveritas, eKsperimento, and .mov film festivals easily come to mind. By tradition, these festivals always invoke a critical stance. Kontra Agos is an affirmation and intensification of this position. By calling itself a resistance film festival, it locates its position in the site of struggle. It aims to be a venue for the convergence of a range of films that are inclined to be thematically and structurally marginalized but are nevertheless united and daring to resist.

FILM SELECTION

FEATURE LENGTH FILMS

Adjani Arumpac: WALAI (60 mins/documentary2007)
Waise Azimi: STANDING UP (155 mins/documentary/2007)
Teng Mangansakan: THE JIHADIST (75 mins/documentary/2007)
John Torres: VOICE, TILTED SCREENS AND EXTENDED SCENES OF LONELINESS: FILIPINOS IN HIGH DEFINITION (100 min/experimental narrative/2007)

SHORT FILMS

Elvert de la Cruz Bañares: ANG BAYAN KONG PAYAPA (5 mins/2007/experimental)
Jeck Cogama: PUTOT (20 mins/narrative/2006)
Gabriela Krista Lluch Dalena: RED SAGA (15 mins/experimental/2004)
Sari Raissa Dalena-Sicat: DIVINE WIND (4 mins/experimental/2001)
Apol Dating and Michael Cardoz: MEDALAWNA (15 mins/documentary/2007)
Noriel Jarito: BINGO (18 mins/documentary/2007)
Kodao Productions: PUSHING THE PARAMETERS:LAWYERING FOR THE PEOPLE (27 mins/documentary/2007)
Ruelo Lozendo: SIMULA (10 mins/experimental/2006)
RJ Mabilin: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF GLORIA ARROVO (1 min/animation/2005)
Herbert Docena and Anna Isabelle Matutina: UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE (30 mins/documentary/2006)
Nick Olanka: LUNES NG HAPIS (20 mins/narrative/2006)
Mikhail Red: THE THRESHOLD (16 mins/experimental/2007)
Sine Patriyotiko: MENDIOLA (31 mins/documentary/2006)
Mariami Tanangco: BINYAG (20 mins/narrative/2002)
Tudla Productions: SA NGALAN NG TUBO (37 mins/documentary/2005)

MINDANAO SHORTS (Curated by Teng Mangansakan)
Sheron Dayoc: DREAMS (narrative/2007)
Moises Charles Hollite: GEORGE’S TOWN (documentary/2007)
Al Jacinto: SULU (documentary/2007)
Loren Hallilah I. Lao: TRANQUIL TIMES (documentary/2007)
Mona Labado: STEP FOR MY DREAM (narrative/2007)
McRobert Nacario: BINITON (narrative/2007)
Eduardo C. Vazquez, JR: ME’GUYAYA (documentary/2007)

WAYS AND MEANS SUB-PROGRAM (Curated by Waise Azimi)
JP Carpio: HILO (90 mins/narrative/2007)
Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr: EheM!Plo (50 mins/documentary/2007)
Emman Dela Cruz: THE SINGH FAMILY HOME VIDEOS (40 mins/documentary/2007)

OTHER KONTRA-AGOS EVENTS:
8 December, 5-7 PM
PANEL DISCUSSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND ARTISTIC FREEDOM
IN PHILIPPINE CINEMA

6-9 December
PHOTO EXHIBIT AT THE LOBBY
courtesy of the FREE JONAS BURGOS MOVEMENT

*KONTRA-AGOS RESISTANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2007
is an Initiative of ST Exposure and Digital Cheese
in cooperation with UP Sining at Lipunan, Sine Tres Marias and
the Independent Filmmakers Cooperative.

http://kontra-agos.blogspot.com