Active Vista Home Fronts

A IS FOR AGUSTIN

Director: Grace Pimentel Simbulan

Synopsis: 

Agustin is a tribesman who loves to sing, but never had the opportunity to learn to read or write. When his boss cheats him out of his wages seemingly for the thousandth time, 40-year old Agustin decides to enroll in Grade 1. The children’s world is playful and simple, and a welcome respite from the world outside.

About the Filmmaker:

Grace Pimentel Simbulan received a grant from the European Union as part of their project entitled “In Defense of Land and Life: Addressing Human Rights Concerns of Indigenous Peoples in Resource Conflict Areas” to produce a mid-length documentary film. As a follow up to this project, she immersed herself in the same community for more than eight years while producing the feature-length documentary film A is for Agustin.

The experience and knowledge she obtained through her years in the indigenous community became her driving force in pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where her research focuses on the various forces affecting indigenous groups in Southeast Asia.

Awards:

Nominee for Best Documentary, Gawad Urian 2020 | Nominee for Best First Feature, Young Critics Circle, Philippines 2020 | Nominee for Best Achievement in Film Editing, Young Critics Circle 2020 | Nominee for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Young Critics Circle 2020 | Nominee for Best First Feature, Young Critics Circle 2020



 

BAMBOO DOGS

Director: Khavn

Synopsis: 

On what should have been just another night on the job, Police Officers Esquivel & Corazon receive a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will soon grab headlines as the biggest police conspiracy in all of Philippine history. The order seems simple enough at first: fix an arrest mix-up by taking the Kuratong Baleleng, a notorious group of robbers, to Camp Crame where they will be let go. But mid-transport, the orders change and Esquivel and his co-policemen find themselves having to choose between carrying out orders or doing what’s right.

About the Filmmaker:

Khavn is an award-winning and internationally renowned filmmaker, composer and writer. He has directed more than 30 feature films and more than a hundred short films including Mondomanila, Balanginga: Howling Wilderness, and Edsa XXX: Nothing Ever Changes in the Republic of Ever-change. He has served as a jury member in the Clermont-Ferrand (France), Copenhagen (Denmark), Jeonju (Korea), Jihlava (Czech Republic), & Berlinale (Germany) film festivals. He is also a song-writer and currently, he serves as the president of Kamias Road, an independent film, music, and publishing company. All his films can be accessed via his VOD Channel- https://vimeo.com/khavn/vod_pages




ENGKWENTRO

Director: Pepe Diokno

Synopsis: 

Richard and Raymond are two teenage brothers. Richard is the leader of his gang, Bagong Buwan, while Raymond is being inducted into the rival gang, Batang Dilim. Complications arise when Raymond is given the task of killing his older brother. Meanwhile, the City Death Squad lurks the streets. This real-life vigilante group is allegedly backed by the city mayor and responsible for many unsolved murders of teen gangsters. Today, they are hunting down Richard. Will they take the younger brother, too?

About the Filmmaker:

Pepe Diokno is a Filipino director, producer, and screenwriter. He is the grandson and namesake of the late Philippine Senator Jose W. Diokno and son of Human Rights lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno.

In 2009, he won the Venice Film Festival Lion of the Future Award for his debut film, Engkwentro. The film was also awarded Venice Orizzonti Prize, the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film, and the Gawad Urian for Best Editing. He is a recipient of Ani ng Dangal Award of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and was included in the book Take 100: The Future of Film, a list published by the UK’s Phaidon Press of the world’s “100 most exceptional emerging filmmakers.”

Awards: 

Special Citation, Cinemalaya 2009 | Luigi De Laurentiis Award, Venice Film Festival 2009 | Venice Horizons Award, Venice Film Festival 2009 | NETPAC Award, Jeonju Film Festival 2010



 

HUWEBES, HUWEBES

Director: Don Gerardo Frasco (Takot Reef), Kristoffer Villalino (Pa-burger sa Camotes), Januar Yap (Maharlika)

Special Live Screening 

Synopsis:

Three men. Three stories.

Noel, a fisherman battling with his curiosity, commits a grave mistake and ends up paying the price.

Xander, a man assigned to track down an evasive drug pusher, finds the man’s blind daughter who is longing for her island hometown instead.

Emman, a stranger seeking refuge in a seaside village, is befriended by a local who asks for his help but finds that there is more to the boy than what meets the eye.

Huwebes Huwebes is a triptych of stories that embraces the sea, depicting different lives, all battling one war.

About the Filmmakers:

Don Gerardo Frasco is a director and cinematographer based in Cebu, Philippines. His feature directorial debut film is a romantic drama entitled Waves (2015).  He is the founder of Waverly Pictures, a production company dedicated to producing his own feature films.

Kristoffer Villarino is a video and film professional working as a director and editor on commercials, documentaries, and films for both local and international markets. He has worked on brands such as Disney, EA, Fox, and Paypal among others, and has branched out into digital content, exploring the many new online platforms that are redefining how people consume video.

Januar E. Yap was born in Cebu, Philippines and currently teaches at the University of the Philippines Cebu College of Communication, Art and Design. Januar also works as an editor and writer at SunStar Cebu. He was a fellow to the 67th UP National Writers’ Workshop and the National Writers Workshop in Dumaguete City. In 2019, he was able to nab his fourth Palanca Award in the Cebuano Short Story category of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

Awards:

Nominee for Best Picture, 43rd Gawad Urian Awards 2020 | Nominee for Best Screenplay, 43rd Gawad Urian Awards 2020 | Nominee for Best Cinematography, 43rd Gawad Urian Awards 2020 | Nominee for Best Music, 43rd Gawad Urian Awards 2020



 

ML

Director: Benedict Mique

Synopsis: 

A college student, his girlfriend, and bestfriend get more than what they bargained for when they decide to learn about the dark days of Martial Law straight from an old retired soldier who may be one of its worst abusers.

About the Filmmaker:

Benedicto Mique, Jr.  is a film and television writer and director whose  works  cross-different  genres  such  as  drama, comedy, action, horror, suspense and romantic stories.  He's been working in the entertainment industry for more than 20  years. He started his film career in Star Cinema. His film, ML won Best Editing in Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2018 and garnered a nomination for Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Screenplay in Gawad Urian 2019.

Awards: 

Best Editing, Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2018 | Best Actor, Cinemalaya Independent  Film  Festival  2018 | Outstanding  Performance  by  an  Actor,  FAMAS 2019 | Indie Movie Sound Engineer of the Year, Star Awards 2019



 

MULA SA KUNG ANO ANG NOON

Director: Lav Diaz

Synopsis:

The Philippines, 1972. Mysterious things are happening in a remote barrio. Wails are heard from the forest, cows are hacked, a man is found bleeding to death at a crossroads and houses are burned. Military operations are becoming common. Brutal militias rule the countryside. Ferdinand e. Marcos announces Proclamation No. 1081, putting the entire country under martial law.

About the Filmmaker:

Lav Diaz has been labelled "The Ideological Father of the New Philippine Cinema." His  films  often  tackle  the  issues  regarding  the  current  social  and  political state of the Philippines. He is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2010, the Prince Claus Award of the Netherlands in 2014, and The Radcliffe Fellowship of Harvard University, 2016-2017. His films have won  the Silver Bear in Berlinale, the Golden Leopard in the Locarno Film Festival, and the Golden Lion in the Venice Film Festival. His most recent award is for Best Director in the Orizzonti Section of the 2020 Venice Film Festival for his latest film, Lahi, Hayop.

Awards: 

Don Quixote Award, FIPRESCI Prize, Golden Leopard, Junior Jury Award, Locarno International Film Festival 2014 | Grand Festival Prize, World Premieres Film Festival 2014 | Best Foreign Feature Film - Audience Award, São Paulo International Film Festival



 

NICK AND CHAI

Director: Cha Escala and Wena Sanchez

Synopsis: 

On November 8, 2013, Nick and Chai lost their four children to Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. Four months later, they are attempting to build a meaningful life from what is left. Little by little, as we follow their daily routines and hear brief comments in voice-over, we gradually come to understand exactly what happened on that fateful day and just how great the impact has been on the couple. After marinating in their grief, they decide that they should rebuild. They figured that it’s what their children would have wanted them to do. They put all their energy into the reconstruction of a devastated society, helping to set up and implement programs for cultivating vegetables.

About the Filmmakers:

Cha Escala and Wena Sanchez are products of the UP Film Institute. They completed a creative documentary residency by Doc Monde in 2015. Both born and raised in Leyte, they feel the need to chronicle how their fellow Leytenos are coping after super typhoon Haiyan devastated the region. Nick and Chai is their first full-length documentary.

Awards: 

Best Picture, QCinema International Film Festival 2014 | Best First Feature, Young Critics Circle Awards 2015 | Audience Choice, Festival Ânûû-rû Âboro 2015



 

PANDANGGO SA HUKAY

Director: Sheryl Rose Andes

Synopsis: 

Elena, 30’s, a midwife and breadwinner, aims for a greener future for her family. On the eve of her application interview for Saudi Arabia that could change her life, she finds herself in an unfamiliar territory. We follow her journey as she dances her way out the pandanggo way.

About the Filmmaker:

Sheryl Rose M. Andres is  a filmmaker, a development worker and an educator.  She obtained her BS in Community Development and MA in Media Studies (Film) degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman. With her decade of experience working in a non-governmental organization (NGO) as community organizer in Tondo and project evaluator/consultant for Catholic European funding agencies, she was able to produce compelling stories such as Pandanggo sa Hukay, which is her first feature film.

At present, she teaches documentary and digital cinema for college students.

Awards: 

Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Screenplay in Filipino 



 

WALANG RAPE SA BONTOK

Director: Lester Valle

Synopsis:

Two Filipinas, both victims of sexual abuse in varying degrees, yearn and search for the truth behind the statement of a renowned anthropologist: that merely a few generations ago, the Bontok Igorot lived in what seemed to be an unthinkable utopia -- a rapeless society.

The search centers on the municipality of Bontoc, the locus of Bontok culture. Through judiciary archives, local government records, and the oral narratives of Bontok elders, the mission does find its holy grail, albeit almost dead: suffocating under the inevitable weight of alien culture and mass media. If at all, the rape-less society still exists, but only within small, close-knit Bontok communes. Still exists, but trapped in the rapidly-fading past: the last evidence proving its very existence is the collective memory of Bontok elders who do not even know each other, all saying “Idi, awan! Tatta, addan …” (“In our days, there was none! But today, there is rape…”)

In a country where the universality of women’s oppression is widely condoned, how did a rapeless society ever become possible?

About the Filmmaker:

Lester Valle traces his roots to two storied communities of the Amianan -- the Philippine North -- namely, San Carlos, Pangasinan and Bauang, La Union. Torn away from his native land during his years studying in the national capital, he has now returned amongst his kailian, spearheading the groundwork for the infant stage of Amianan's own regional cinema.

He is the co-founder of Habi Collective Media, a production group known for recording grassroots iconography in the Philippines. He now resides in Bontoc, Mountain Province, the very center of the entire Philippine North, hosting artists who come from all over the country in Balay Habi, his home and creative studio.

Awards:

Winner-Finalist Award (Documentaries), New York Festivals 2015 | Best Documentary, Gawad Urian 2015 | Special Mention, Cine Totoo Philippine International Documentary Film Festival 2014



 

YIELD

Director: Victor Tagaro and Toshihiko Uryu

Synopsis: 

Yield is an ethnographic inquiry done over a period of five years, documenting the lives of nine children living in dire Third World conditions. Yield does away with the introductions. The brisk parade of direct cinema footage pieces together a poignant search for survival in the margins—from up the peak down to the depths of the sea. This is the status quo unto which the children are born into, an unyielding state of affairs wherein they thrive.

About the Filmmakers:

Victor Tagaro is a documentary filmmaker known for his Hacienda Luisita massacre documentary, Sa Ngalan ng Tubo, back in 2004 under Tudla Productions. He is also the primary cinematographer and editor of TIU Cinema production.

Toshihiku Uryu is a cinematographer, producer and director born in Chiba, Japan. He is the founder of TIU Theater, a sister facility of Creative Image Foundation that supports children of Payatas and Smokey Mountain. Toshihiku believes that cultural diversity of the Philippines should be preserved, talented urban poor children should be given a chance to develop their skills, and quality works of aspiring filmmakers should be shown on the big screen.

Awards: 

Best Documentary, Gawad Urian 2018 | Best Documentary Feature Film, Best Editing, FAMAS 2018