For the second year in a row, University of Washington senior Adrian Alarilla will curate the Diwa Film Showcase, a component of the Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival. A filmmaker himself, Alarilla discusses with International Examiner some films in the lineup and reveals his passion for movies that convey important messages about Filipinos.
International Examiner: What motivated you to launch a film festival within the Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival?
Adrian Alarilla: The Pagdiriwang has always been a cultural festival with all these dance and music presentations. When I was presented with an opportunity to curate a film component for the festival, I thought it would be a great way to enrich the festival experience for the audience. By sharing short films with the community, it helps explain the relevance of the cultural presentations they see on stage. But there is another purpose geared towards the filmmakers themselves. I realized there aren’t a lot of Filipino American filmmakers in Seattle and if there are any, they are very disconnected from each other. I wanted to provide this venue for new filmmakers to be able to present their craft, and also be able to connect with other filmmakers. Ultimately, I want to help develop a film culture in the Filipino American community.
IE: Why do you call the film festival Diwa?
Alarilla: “Diwa” in Tagalog stands for “spirit.” We decided to name the film fest this because we wanted to celebrate the Filipino spirit wherever it resides, by exhibiting films from the Philippine islands and beyond.
IE: What are some of the films you’re showing?
Alarilla: In addition to our Diaspora program this year, we also have a special focus on the Mindanao region and its current peace crisis to tie in with the Pagdiriwang’s theme this year.
Our featured films revolve around the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, and issues of indigenous rights and culture, as shown in the opening film, Migkahi e si Amey te, ‘Uli ki Pad’ (Father said, ‘Let’s Return Home’).
We are also tackling the ongoing conflict between Christians and Muslims, and the Muslim struggle for sovereignty in Mindanao, as shown in the centerpiece film, War is a Tender Thing.
We think it’s a great opportunity for film enthusiasts, whether they are of Filipino heritage or not, to learn more about the often overlooked culture of Mindanao island.
IE: What do you hope audiences gain by watching these films?
Alarilla: I hope that audience members gain a better understanding of issues and situations that Filipinos and Filipino Americans deal with everyday, and that they get to appreciate the diversity of the Filipino experience in the islands and all around the world.
IE: As a filmmaker yourself, how are you inspired by the films you’re screening?
Alarilla: As a filmmaker, my primary goal is to search and capture the truth. I am inspired by the very truthful, very personal films being shown this year. There aren’t any ulterior motives or emotional manipulation, just the filmmakers’ attempts to share their truths with other people.
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A complete list of films is included below.
FOCUS ON MINDANAO
Migkahi e si Amey te, ‘Uli ki pad’ (Father said, ‘Let’s Return Home’) by Nef Luczon
The Cotabato Sessions by Joel Quizon
The Dreamweaver by Jedd Rommel Diomaro
Walai (Home) by Adjani Arumpac
War is a Tender Thing by Adjani Arumpac
Ang Kapitbahay ko sa 2014 (My 2014 Neighbor) by Anya Zulueta
Bibingka by Kay Cuajunco
Commune by Sher Bautista
Distance Between by RJ Lozada
Gamugamo (Embers) by Will Sim Garcia
Kamerata by Christian Tablazon
Kusina ni Clara (Clara’s Kitchen) by Nikki Ferriols
Mabuhay Ang Pilipinas (Long Live the Philippines) by Bor Ocampo
Mang Abe’s Ube by Paolo Bitanga
Miss Da Ka (I Miss You) by Carlo Catu
Purok 7 (Zone 7) by Carlo Obispo
Tago ng Tago (Always on the Run) by Roberto Reyes Ang
Ugkat (Unearth) by Alyssa Suico
Diwa Film Showcase at the Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival, June 6 and 7, Loft 3 at the Seattle Center Armory. For more information, visit http://www.festalpagdiriwang.com.