119 best films from the regions featured at Cinema Rehiyon
How does one define what a “regional” filmmaker is now that most activities are being done in cyberspace?
This was among the challenges that the organizers of this year’s “Cinema Rehiyon Film Festival: Voices from the Margins” had to hurdle when they held it from Feb. 28 until today via the streaming platform Vimeo. “Should a filmmaker be classified according to his birthplace or to where he is currently living? A good example is Bicolano filmmaker Arjanmar Rebeta, who got stranded in Rizal province because of the pandemic lockdown. While he is from Bicol, he is now identified as a filmmaker from Rizal, which was also where he made his film that got included in the festival lineup,” festival director Tito Genova Valiente told Inquirer Entertainment.
Rebeta’s comedy-drama short film “My Father is an Astro-Not” is part of Cinema Rehiyon 13.
“While it was a difficulty, it was an interesting one. There was also the problem of contacting people. It’s good that we have two programmers (Elvert Bañares and Adjani Arumpac) who are well-versed in their categorization,” said Valiente. The festival, now on its 13th year, has a total of 119 films. Presented under the program by Bañares, called “Best of Cinema from the Regions: The Role of Regional Filmmakers in Troubling Times,” they are the best of the most recent regional films from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Cinema Rehiyon 13 also gives special emphasis on “films by and for women and the LGBTQIA+ community.” Hence, Arumpac has come up with a program called “Babayi, Babaylan 2021.”
“Originally, this year’s edition is about gender, but when all the films came in, ’di kaya na about gender lang. There was diversity, definitely. Two programs had to be created to cover all the films that were sent in,” explained Arumpac.
Bañares added that in his programming, viewers get to “listen to the filmmakers, and view the landscapes and stories they share.” Also part of the lineup are the 16 films from the “ECQ: Eksena Cinema Quarantine” program.
This year marked the first online implementation of the project, including filmmakers’ talkback and webinars on filmmaking.
Cinema Rehiyon is the flagship program of the National Committee on Cinema (with Rolando Tolentino as current chair) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. INQ