By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – The Pandayang Lino Brocka has formally opened for this year’s festival with the theme on history and social change.
“We want the viewers to remember our history and to encourage them to be a part of social change,” Lady Ann Salem, executive director of Tudla Productions, said.
Pandayang Lino Brocka, which is now on its fourth year, is a film festival that showcases political films and documentaries. Salem said it is a venue where filmmakers could gather together to educate and reach out to people.
“Lino Brocka, the great director for whom the said festival is given as tribute, lived through and exposed the social realities of the post-dictatorship period where the human rights situation was grimmer and the course of struggle of the oppressed was taken to its highest form for change to be brought about,” the film festival’s curatorial notes read, “That film, Orapronobis, rings ever more true to this day.”
Salem added that their theme jives well into the month of August, when they usually hold the festival because there are several historical events that happened in this month. “August is a month replete with historical events in the country. The Cry of Pugadlawin and the first battle of the 1986 Philippine revolution in Pinaglabanan took place in August,” the curatorial notes read.
Pandayang Lino Brocka will run from August 29 to 31.
There are eight official film selections in this year’s festival. It consists of both short public service announcements, documentaries and an experimental film.
They are “Women at the Forefront,” “Puso ng Lungsod,” “Politics of U.S. Occupation,” “Pinaglabanan,” “Old News,” “Memories of a Forgotten War,” “Agree ka ba?” and “A La Juventud Filipina.”
This year’s festival will feature two Lino Brocka films: Orapronobis and Ang Tatay kong Nanay. The latter, Salem said, is also their tribute to actor Dolphy who recently passed away.
Aside from the opening of the festival at the University of the Philippines, Salem said, they have 26 other screenings scheduled until next month. “We will hold screenings at Los Baños and even as far as Cebu,” she added.
“We also bring these films to the community where its protagonists are. In that sense, these films are going to go back where it all came from,” Salem said.
Stephanie Aquino, 19, a student of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina, said they were invited by members of Tudla Productions to attend this year’s festival. “We also went here to show our support to the public service announcement Agree ka ba?,” she added. Liezl Manatad, the filmmaker, is also a student from their school.
“We see these events on the news. But when I saw it here, it served as an eye opener. This is the raw version of what is really happening on the ground. Normally, the news that we are getting on television are already heavily edited,” Aquino said.
When asked what films she liked, Aquino answered Memories of the Forgotten War, Siri Dalena’s documentary about the Philippine American War of 1899.
“I studied history in school. But I am not aware that the things that were presented here ever happened,” she said.
Students from Lagro High School also arrived during the screening.
“It was good. It was about the country and rights to housing,” 13-year-old Rodeson Paje said, adding that he particularly liked the documentary Puso ng Lungsod, which tackled the struggles of residents in Sitio San Roque in Quezon City.
His classmate Angelo Eugenio said he enjoyed watching this year’s selections. “They are very good and the explanations were easy to understand.”
Marcel Palabu, 18, a student from the University of the Philippines – Manila, said he watched similar films that were screened during the said festival. But he was struck most by Puso ng Lungsod.
“It portrayed typical things that are happening, especially when there is a rally. It shows how the people are sometimes divided – others are mobilizing the community while others are indifferent. But at the end, they would still unite,” Palabu said.
“Why did it have to end up in violence, in throwing of stones and the use of water canons against the people,” he added.