Films on lumads, Filipino seafarers to open Salamindanaw 2016

Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival will open its fourth edition with two films that tackle the plights of the lumad (indigenous people) and Filipino seafarers on November 7 in the city of General Santos.

“This is in keeping with our vision to celebrate cinema and its immense power be a truthful mirror (salamin) of reality. The struggle of the lumads and our OFWs is central to the narrative of the Filipino nation,” said festival director Teng Mangansakan.

Dead Slow Ahead, a Spanish-French production directed by Mauro Herce is set on a freighter ship as a mostly Filipino crew navigates from Ukraine to New Orleans. Premiering in Locarno last year, critics have praised the film for its highly contemplative documentary style that allows the viewer to find his or her own journey through the film. The director spent two months on high seas to shoot the film which has been screened in more than a dozen international film festivals.

Meanwhile, Baboy Halas: Wailings in the Forest by Mindanaoan director Bagane Fiola delves on a lumad family as they face the changes in their environment including the imposing lifestyle and customs of the more sociable tribes on the plain.

With a very loose narrative, Baboy Halas is immersive and profoundly atmospheric providing the viewer an opportunity to inhabit not only the lush topography of the jungle but also the psychology of the characters whose existence is closely tied with nature.

The film won the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Prize in the recent QC International Film Festival. The film was also awarded with an Artistic Achievement in Cinematography for its “hyperrealist camera work that plays with the codes of documentary with poetic twists that cast a magical spell into the forest hinterlands.”

Salamindanaw will also have a special screening of 2016 Cinemalaya Best Film Pamilya Ordinaryo by Eduardo Roy Jr. which won the Audience Choice Award at the Venice Film Festival two months ago. Also screening is Cebuano film Patay Na Si Hesus by Victor Villanueva which stars Cannes Best Actress Jaclyn Jose. The film won Audience Choice Award at the QCinema International Film Festival.

Founded in 2013, Salamindanaw is the only international film festival in southern Philippines which is regarded as an important platform of emergent talents in Southeast Asian cinema.

Salamindanaw will run from November 7 to 13 with more than 100 films in competition and exhibition sections. Parallel activities include the Mindanao Screen Lab and the Japan Foundation Asia Center-supported Film Criticism Workshop co-organized with Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. 

A clip from Baboy Halas: Wailings in the Forest by Mindanaoan director Bagane Fiola. The film which was shot in the Maharlika forest of Marilog district won the NETPAC Jury Prize at the recently-concluded QCinema International Film Festival. It will be the second opening film of the 4th edition of Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival on Nov. 7.

A clip from the critically-acclaimed documentary Dead Slow Ahead by Mauro Herce, which will open the 4th edition of Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival on Nov. 7. The film has been shown in various international film festivals including the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.

Jay Rosas 
Coordinator, Film Criticism Workshop
Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival 2016
Contributing Writer/Editor
New Durian Cinema

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