Thursday, August 09, 2007

countdown to moonrise...

rubbing elbows on the lot...:P

last week i was invited to a "Directors' Dinner" meet for all Moonrise finalists. it was a chance for me to meet the people behind the film festival, it was their way of saying thank you for making the moonrise event possible, and also an opportunity to meet the other directors, discuss preparations and awards and maybe some questions or concerns we might have.

i rsvp-ed that i'd most definitely be there, and when the day finally came...lo! the storm (chedeng?) had hit. i was seriously thinking of not going...i mean, it was all the way over at Mordor (new manila, quezon city to be exact), i'll only be commuting from makati...who knows what horrendous traffic or flood i could face? by 5pm i was set on not going. i told myself that i dont know anyone anyway, it'll be awkward meeting strangers, and competing ones at that! the weather was bad, etc etc.

my friend ej, on a whim, suggested that maybe i can ask our friend cha who happened to live there, if i could maybe hitch a ride. even though i knew she usually OT-ed in the office (fat chance getting there in time for the dinner), i did, and yahoo! she was leaving office early! ok Lord, if you want me to go, i'll go.

i'm so glad i did :P

although not everyone was able to make it, it was a pretty good fun bunch i got to meet (and all that extra food!).

CEAE's founder Jukka (pronounced "yuka") Holopainen, was this easy-going, globe-trotting driven young filmmaker with a strong voice...straight away, as he talked about their vision for Moonrise, i could sense the enthusiasm and fervor he had for this cause which they have continuously fought for for the last 7 years. (actually, the way he talked reminded me a lot about Kawayan de Guia when i interviewed him for Aramiden...!)

the director of "Sa Ngalan ng Mina", Girlie Brilliantes, i thought was a soft-spoken woman, quiet and shy...not! as we talked about our films i found myself in awe at her daring attempt in exposing the mining programme in the ravaged areas of mindanao. she told me how, in one area, she was given just an hour to shoot (hidden) with only 30 minutes to do her interview, while on another trip, the road was so bad their truck overturned, throwing off all their equipment and crew but she managed to save her camera and tapes...and even just staying in the camps where we hear horror stories of ambush by the MILF or such... these accounts made my tiring bus trips to baguio quite pale in comparison!

Golda Mae of "Kalimed" entered the student category, and she was this smiling friendly Kalinga girl who acquired a scholarship to study in the University of Makati, and their film, sponsored by the university, relays that story. Seymour, of "Bodong (Peace Pact) and his wife happened to be alumni of UP Eng'g...small world! and Froilan Grate is a dedicated leader and ceae volunteer from Greenminds.Net, a website portal dedicated to everything about and for the philippine's mega-biodiversity.

there was nothing in the air that felt like competition at all... we were all artists with a cause...hearts bleeding for a culture, a people, a hometown... all having stories to tell. jukka was right... when it comes to films or documentaries about the environment, we have to localize it... how can students from our country have sympathy for illegal logging when they watch documentaries that show caucasian people with chainsaws, halfway across the world? or saving the egrets when we don't even have egrets? just like they said in their site,
"One of the biggest frustrations of environmental education is its slow pace and limited reach to instigate change. Often, crude imagery and intense visuals are necessary to shock audiences into more immediate forms of action."

we have all sorts of documentaries from around the world, recently the eye-opener "An Inconvenient Truth", "March of the Penguins", HBO's "Carandiru"...and hundreds of others on National Geographic or Discovery Channel...

but we think it's about time that we focus our eyes on our own backyard. Watch the Moonrise Film Festival, August 15-21, featuring more award-winning films (best of 2005 and 2006 moonrise). see the places, the riveting footage...hear the people, our language.

this is OUR country...let us tell OUR story.

baguio, 2004

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