Historical drama ‘Aria’ wins in India
Carlo Enciso Catu’s period drama “Aria” bagged the best film award in the international feature films category of the fourth Lake City International Film Festival (IFF) held in Noida, Delhi, India.
“Aria,” written by Robby Tantingco, tells the story of a prewar zarzuela star who fell in love with a Communist ideologue who uses her popularity to promote his group’s cause.
Catu said he had many memorable moments working on “Aria,” which was released in 2018. “But if I have to choose one, it has got to be the chance to collaborate with Kapampangan talents,” he told the Inquirer on Monday.The Angeles City-born director added: “Most of them had little to no experience acting in film, but they were very open to learn or relearn whatever they already knew. I have never worked with a group of talents with as much dedication and passion.”
Writer Tantingco said he wrote the story as a tribute to “our unsung heroes, the Hukbalahap guerrillas of World War II. “
He recalled: “When Quezon’s government left and went into exile, and our soldiers surrendered in Bataan, it was these peasants and farmers who took up arms and continued the resistance against the Japanese for three years. Yet, they were outlawed after the war, imprisoned for their alleged Communist affiliation. They weren’t given their pension until it was already too late, when most of them had died. They don’t even have a monument in their honor.”Tantingco recalled that in 2018, “Aria” failed to make the cut in the Metro Manila Film Festival, “but after the festival ended, the MMDA made amends and called it a quality film.” The Metro Manila Development Authority is the overall organizer of the annual film fest. “In an unprecedented move, [the MMFF organizers] sponsored a gala night and showed it in theaters in all the malls in Pampanga, in effect creating a provincial festival for it,” Tantingco said. “So this international recognition validates the MMFF initiative.”
The fourth Lake City IFF was held from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23, 2019, but the winners were announced on its official website, www.lakecityfilmfest.com, only this month. This is the second Kapampangan film that the Holy Angel University produced, after “Ari: My Life with a King,” which was declared Best World Film at the Harlem International Film Festival in New York City in 2015, Tantingco pointed out. —MARINEL CRUZ
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