The best of the best Asean films, including 57 from PH, to compete in 2019 Aiffa

By: - Reporter
/ 12:02 AM March 18, 2019
The best of the best Asean films, including 57 from PH, to compete in 2019 Aiffa

Livan Tajang (left) and Ricky Davao

“I will be on the lookout for interesting stories,” said filmmaker Amable “Tikoy” Aguiluz, who will be sitting as a member of this year’s Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) International Film Festival and Awards (Aiffa) jury.

Aguiluz will be working closely with jury head, Malaysian film director U-Wei Haji Saari, who has held this post since 2013; international juror, French festival director Alain Jalladeau; Lao filmmaker Mattie Do; and Indonesian film director Daniel Rudi Haryanto.


“I’m excited to watch all the entries. There are so many similarities in terms of experience between the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as Indonesia,” said the director when the Inquirer asked what he hoped to learn from the experience. “What’s also interesting is which technique each filmmaker will use in order to tell his story.”

The fourth edition of this biennial film fest will be held from April 25 to 27 in Kuching Sarawak in Malaysia.


The 10 Asean member countries are: Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar,  Laos, and  the Philippines.

“I’ve always believed that Southeast Asia has long been neglected in relation to world cinema, in terms of exposure. It’s good that more and more Filipino films are being recognized abroad, starting with the victories of Brillante Ma Mendoza in Cannes and Lav Diaz in Berlin,” Aguiluz pointed out. “I look at this (Aiffa) as an opportunity to promote works from this region to the rest of the world.”

A whopping 57 Filipino films were submitted to the Aiffa this year, festival director Livan Tajang told the Inquirer.

Actor-director Ricky Davao, who was an Aiffa jury member in 2013, said his experience had been “very exciting. We had a hard time (choosing the winners) because of the differences in culture. In order to resolve that, we first had to discuss culture, then the performances, and then the story,” he recalled.

From this experience, Davao said he has learned that “while film is universal, we have to understand and respect each other’s culture. To appreciate the works of others, it’s very  important to first understand how they think, especially when it comes to religion. It’s good for the 10 countries to do films together, to collaborate. Hopefully, after Aiffa, it will be the world.”

At the 2018 Aiffa, Davao won the best supporting actor award for Bor Ocampo’s “Dayang Asu.”

“Asean member countries should celebrate their own films and learn from each other. Through the Aiffa, it became possible for some of them to create films together,” added Tajang. This year, there are Myanmar-Thailand and Lao-Brunei film entries.


Even Davao got included in the cast of a Singaporean film that was shot in Taiwan, the actor related. Titled “Killer Not Stupid,” the action-comedy film features actors from Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Davao, the only Filipino in the cast, also met the director at the Aiffa in 2013.

This year, Tajang said  Aiffa features three innovations. “It’s now easier for filmmakers to send their films because everything is online.”

The festival will also come up with an app “so that people throughout the world will know which films will be competing, also the venue and screening time of each entry,” Tajang pointed out.

Lastly, the three-day event will be streamed live on Facebook. “Now, the whole Asean region can watch the Gala Night on April 27. This is always a big attraction, as the best of the best Asean films are awarded.”

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TAGS: 2019 Aiffa, films
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