By TERENCE KRISHNA V. LOPEZ
MANILA – The resurgence of political films in the country may well be underway, courtesy of the Pandayang Lino Brocka Political Film and New Media Festival that will run from August 5 to 28.
Pandayang Lino Brocka, sponsored by Tudla Productions, an alternative video organization, in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), aims to gather filmmakers in the country who create films with political themes and provide venue for the exhibition of their work.
In an interview with Bulatlat, Lady Ann Salem, Tudla’s executive director, said Pandayang Lino Brocka hails the late great Lino Brocka, whose political films garnered national and international recognition but at the same time angered the government. He was such an artist that, in the end, even the government had no choice but to bestow on him his rightful mark in Philippine history as national artist for cinema.
Among his more powerful and acclaimed films that mirrored Philippine social realities were Orapronobis, Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim, Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag, and Insiang.
The festival aims to inspire and gather the creation of truthful, artistic and relevant audio-visual work to enlighten and cultivate critical consciousness among the masses, Salem said.
“The great Brocka believed that artists are first and foremost citizens and his desire was to develop what he called the great Filipino audience, which was more important to him than creating the great Filipino movie,” she added.
Brocka’s films were in touch with the people’s dwellings and thoughts, Salem said.
One of the problems that emerging filmmakers and new media artists encounter is the problem of audience and venue for exhibition, said Emil Mercado, Tudla’s artistic officer. “With this festival, we are providing them the venue and audience as we are set to screen in schools, urban-poor communities, factories and picket lines where the films will be surely watched by the people,” he said.
The festival will run at the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UP), Asia Pacific College, in urban-poor communities in Quezon City and Manila and in work places in the cities of Muntinlupa, Taguig, Quezon City and Manila.
One of the festival’s community screenings. (Photo courtesy of Tudla Productions)
“That’s another essence of Brocka — bringing cinema to the audience, contrary to the mainstream and commercial films that are very expensive and do not tell about the lives of the people,” Mercado said.
On the other hand, Salem said that Brocka’s untimely death saw a decline of political films in the country’s mainstream cinema.
Throughout the decade that followed Brocka’s death in a car crash in 1991, not a few filmmakers have claimed to be the next Brocka. In fact, a couple of films have been made that tried hard to “be Brocka.”
“Of course, there can never be another Brocka,” said Mercado.
An alternative filmmaker himself, Mercado is saddened by the fact that Brocka is reduced into an icon, like what happened to Che Guevarra. “They are missing the most essential part of Brocka, which is being an artist involved in the movement that advances the national democratic aspirations of the Filipino people,” Mercado said.
He stressed that as a tribute to Brocka, Pandayang Lino Brocka is a response to the call of the times, for films and new media to show social realities and inspire the audience to act, struggle and overcome the ills plaguing Philippine society.
Salem said that it is not true that political films are unpopular to the Filipino audience; these films, she said, show their everyday lives, struggles, victories and aspirations.