FDCP: Celebrates National Indigenous People’s Month at the Cinematheque Manila


As the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) celebrates National Indigenous People’s Month this October 2016, it offers through the FDCP Cinematheques a selection of screenings giving worthy attention to the lives and perspectives of our indigenous people, with Cinematheque Baguio honoring the Gong Film Festival from the 17th to the 26th of October, and the Cinematheque Iloilo and Cinematheque Manila offering screenings and more from the 12th to the 14th of October.

Screenings for National Indigenous People’s Month at the FDCP Cinematheque Centre Manila this October 12th to 14th have a P100 admission, except for the screening of Bontoc Eulogy, which is offered for free. The Q&A session for Flor Chantal Eco’s curated “Land, Life, and Struggle” on October 13, 7 pm is also for free. Tickets are released an hour before the screening time, on a first-come, first-serve basis, only at the Cinematheque Manila.

More about the featured films after the jump

A still from the mockumentary Bontoc Eulogy by Marlon Fuentes and Bridget Yearian. (Image from Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art website
A still from the mockumentary Bontoc Eulogy by Marlon Fuentes and Bridget Yearian | Image from Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art website | All rights reserved

Starting the screenings off at Cinematheque Manila on the 12th at 7 pm is Bontoc Eulogy by Marlon Fuentes and Bridget Yearian. In this mockumentary, the narrator, played by Fuentes himself, muses on the disappearance of both his grandfathers, one of them an Igorot warrior brought to the US as part of the St. Louis World Fair. Using found footage and reenactments, Filipino-born US-based artist Fuentes creates an introspective narrative into history, identity, and the plight of Westernization. This lesser-screened film will surely be a treat to audiences, having gained international acclaim and having been nominated for the 1996 IDA Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards.

A special screening on the 13th, Thursday, at 7 pm makes a profound statement for National Indigenous People’s Month with “Land, Life, and Struggle,” a collection of short films to be presented along with the a question-and-answer session after the screening with the collection’s curator and members of the community. Curated by activist, filmmaker, and Director for Video of non-profit media organization Tudla Productions, Flor Chantal Eco, these short documentaries and fictions put lenses to the lives of the indigenous people of Mindanao, with the films shot on location and with Lumad community members as actors. Fulfilling a need to represent the Lumad’s struggle to preserve their heritage and fight for their rights to their land, the collection of films earned Eco the honor of participating in this year’s recently concluded Arkipel Documentary and Experimental Film Festival in Indonesia, where she presented “Land, Life, and Struggle” in their “Young Asian Curators” program. On the 13th’s gala screening, Eco will be discussing the films and the advocacy along with the short film directors and representatives from the Lumad community.

Laureen Sevilla Faustino’s Ang Babae sa Likod ng Mambabatok is about one of the country’s living treasures, Kalinga tattoo artist Fang Od.

On the 14th will be the last couple of films presented for National Indigenous People’s Month at the Cinematheque—Bosu: The Last Head Hunter by Boyong Daguines at 5 pm and Ang Babae sa Likod ng Mambabatok by Laura Sevilla Faustino at 7 pm. In Bosu: The Last Head Hunter, self-taught Igorot filmmaker and member of the Cordillera Indigenous Audio and Video Association (CIAVA) Daguines offers his and screenwriter Sendong Salvacio’s own vision of history. Inspired by the stories of their forebearers, the film is a historical action-adventure set in the times of of a slowly Christianized Cordillera and prevalent headhunting in the region. Feminist writer-researcher and filmmaker Sevilla also offers a story from the Cordillera region, with the subject of her documentary Ang Babae sa Likod ng Mambabatok hailing from Kalinga province. In Mambabatok, the life of Fang Od, a nonagenarian and the last traditional tattoo artist in Kalinga, is laid bare to audiences, revealing Fang Od’s thoughts and stories as the last practitioner of her craft, a culture-bearer of the nation, and a woman who has reached her age without having married or bearing children and yet having the need for someone to continue her art.

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