Will Cebuanos Support BINISAYA Film Festival 2019?

Cebuanos (Filipinos who are born and/or living in Cebu, Philippines) are proud of their blood, culture, and tradition. They are great supporters of the Cebuano-Visayan language, Cebuano artists, Cebuano delicacies and destinations, and Cebuano music. Will they also give the same support for local films, especially the Cebuano-Visayan films?

BINISAYA Film Festival was started by BINISAYA Movement, Inc. in 2009. The movement wants to showcase local artists in the filmmaking industry reflecting the daily life of the Cebuano people. They desire to express and send a message to society through films. This year (2019), the current film festival director, Atty. Grace Marie Lopez, aims to “further engagement with the community and the country in general.”

On September 5, 2019 press conference, we asked how they can get people to engage with the project, they admit the struggle of persuading individuals to support local films. This is the reason why they are more focused on working with university students because they tend to be more supportive than other members of society.

The biggest challenge then for the artists and filmmakers is how they can make people appreciate local films. The possible answer is, of course, the community should find a connection with the stories and see the films to be interesting and relevant. With these, they might somehow build some kind of passion to support and promote BINISAYA Film Festival 2019 and beyond. If appreciation will sprout, the next challenge is how to maintain the attraction toward embracing local films. Though appreciation, in this case, might not be the same with Hollywood films, the feeling of connectedness or belongingness may be enough to revive local admiration.

The films will be showing on October 16 to 18 at Ayala Cinema 4. The ones that will be screening are the seven selected films listed below:

  • Victoriana by Chloe Capatoy
  • The Best Employee by Alyssa Ashley Manugas
  • Budots by Jay Rosas, Mark Limbaga
  • GITLO by Bobby Villacarlos I
  • Gabii sa Nabilin by Ronnie Gamboa Jr.
  • Medium Rare by Christian Naparota
  • Aksyon! by Frank Go

Some Asian short films will also be screening, such as “A Cold Summer Night” by Yash Sawant of India, “Death of the Sound Man” by Sorayos Prapapan of Thailand, “War for Keyboard Warriors” by Lam Can-Zhao of China, and more. Featured films are also included, like “Huwebes Huwebes” by Januar Yap, Kris Villarino, and Don Frasco. Aside from Cebuano cinema, regional films will be highlighted as well, such as “Viral Kids” (Camarines Sur), “Mountain to Cry For” (General Santos), and “Nangungupahan” (Tuguegarao).

The graphic design you can see in the featured image is the creation of the local artist John Ahmed Durano. It is inspired by a Cebuano-Visayan folk song “Si Filemon,” a fisherman.

Atty. Grace Marie Lopez, Film Festival Director

It is up to us now on how thirsty and hungry we are to watch local films. To quote this year’s film festival director, “Cinema shows us the human struggle, external and internal, and with that, we identify and see ourselves. We are not perhaps regaled by it sometimes but perhaps, we are called to assess ourselves, reflect on ourselves as a community. We urge the public to encounter contemporary Cebuano cinema with fresh eyes and open minds here at this festival. Susihon nato ang ATONG festival. (Let’s consider our festival.)”

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JP Abecilla

JP Abecilla is a lifestyle Filipino blogger, freelance content writer, copy editor, and motivational speaker based in Cebu City, Philippines. He was awarded Blog of the Year 2020 (2nd Place) and Best Cebu Events Blog of 2019. More than writing, JP loves drinking a cup of coffee and eating donuts while reading a book or magazine.