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Renowned film critic Tito Valiente encourages viewers to watch a diverse set of films to gain new perspectives. He is one of the speakers during the two-day conference. Supplied photo

PH cinema’s centennial celebration immortalizes legacy in Cag. de Oro

Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan in Cagayan de Oro City witnessed the 100th celebration of Philippine cinema through the “Sandaan sa Mindanao: The Philippine Cinema Centennial Conference and the Filipino Film Centenary Expedition” at the XU Little Theater, recently.

Organized by the Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts (XCCA), the two-day celebration involved guest speakers who are experts in filmmaking, film criticism, and film studies —  all of which had perpetuated the legacy of Filipino cinema since it formally established the industry a century before.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts, through the National Committee on Cinema, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, planned to hold the celebration in — the three major island groups of the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao). Slated to conclude in 2019, the three-year celebration paid tribute to the conception of Philippine cinema through Don Jose Nepomuceno’s Malayan Films production company in 1917 and the eventual first Filipino film in 1919, “Dalagang Bukid.”

This year, Xavier Ateneo provided a venue for the Mindanao expedition with the support of ABS-CBN and Cinema One. Tackling films at its core, the conference highlighted the importance of regional filmmaking for the industry.

In Northern Mindanao, where Cagayan de Oro takes centerstage, XCCA’s Cinemagis, the film festival for digital short films, has reached a decade this year. With the same age and vision as Cinema Rehiyon, Cinemagis aims to provide an avenue where filmmakers in Northern Mindanao can share their vision integrated with the region’s’ culture and context.

“Film organizations and companies like the FDCP and many others are willing to promote local filmmaking to the regions,” said Savior.

As the Philippine cinema has reached a century, films may also represent the diversity of the country. According to film critic and head of the film journalism group of NCCA’s Executive Committee for Cinema, films need to relay certain messages to speak to their viewers.

Films are political

“All films are political,” Valiente said. With his experience in critiquing a variety of films, he said that one major aspect that critics want to find out is the vision of the filmmaker, which can be elaborated with the narrative, the cinematography, the style, and the duration.

Valiente discussed films’ impact on their viewers. His lecture, “Loving Cinema but not Living It: Reading and Teaching Reality and Artifice” encouraged the audience during the conference, composed mostly of students and the academe from schools all over Northern Mindanao, to be critical about the films they are watching and to not just watch for the sake of passive entertainment but also for education.

“I encourage you to watch diverse films to gain different perspectives,” Valiente said.

For University of the Philippines Film Institute director Patrick Campos, the messages of films resonate with the relevant issues in their time of release. (pr)

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