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Nine new Pinoy silent films premiere in 15th Int’l Silent Film Fest

NINE new silent Filipino short films join this year’s lineup at the 15th edition of the International Silent Film Festival Manila, which will run from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3.

The film festival is presented by the Japan Foundation, Manila, the Embassy of Italy with the Philippine Italian Association, Instituto Cervantes, the British Council, the Goethe-Institut, the Embassy of France, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

“This is a very important time where culture and the arts are truly gaining momentum once again, after almost two years of lockdown. And we want to lead this creative and memorable revival with this international silent film festival,” Japan Foundation Manila Director Ben Suzuki said at an online press conference on Nov. 17.

This year the festival will feature six classic silent films from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United Kingdom, and nine short films especially produced by the FDCP to represent the Philippines. The films will be accompanied by original musical scores from Filipino musicians.

The program will be screened online via the FDCP Channel (https://fdcpchannel.ph/isffm2021).

The festival will open with the screening of Orochi (Serpent), a 1925 action film by Futagawa Buntaro that will be live scored by Munimuni band.

The invitational opening ceremony will be held on Nov. 24 at the newly renovated Manila Metropolitan Theater. Health and safety protocols will be in force.

The rest of the film festival’s screenings and international round table webinars will be accessible online from the Nov. 25 to Dec. 3.

Instituto Cervantes will screen Carceleras (Jose Buchs, 1922) on Nov. 25 (3 p.m.). It will be followed by the first panel discussion at 5 p.m. titled “How to Watch a Silent Movie.” At seven in the evening, The Philippine-Italian Association will screen Giulio Antamoro’s Pinocchio (1911).

The British Council will screen Dr. Wise on Influenza (1919) on Nov. 26, (3 p.m.). This will be followed by a panel discussion on the “Restoration and Reinventions in Film Archives,” presented by speakers from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the Philippines. The Goethe-Institut concludes the second day of the festival with the screening of Das Wachsfigurenkabinett/The Waxworks (1924) directed by Paul Leni and Leo Birinski at 7 p.m.

The French embassy will screen The Foreman on Nov. 27, 3 p.m., followed by a masterclass on the “History of Silent Films in the Philippines,” presented by speakers from the Philippines. The Japan Foundation, Manila closes the third day of the festival at 7 p.m. with the screening of Futagawa Buntaro’s Orochi (Serpent) (1925).

The films will be available on demand at the FDCP Channel from Nov. 28 to 30.

SILENT FILM LAB
Meanwhile, the Filipino films included in the International Silent Film Fest are the finalists of the Mit Out Sound (MOS): International Silent Film Lan 2021, which was launched by the FDCP in May.

Nine filmmakers worked with nine composers to produce nine short silent films. The films (Set A) are Ang Tatlong Hambog by Sari Katharyn; Ing Tianak by EJ Gagui and Marienel Calma; Alingasngas Ng Mga Kuliglig by Vahn Leinard C. Pascual; Ang Pagsuyo sa Paru-Paro ng Gabi by Racquel De Guzman Morilla; and Dikit by Gabriela Serrano; and (Set B), Ha-Ha-Hambog by Kate Torralba and Jopie Sanchez; I Need More Than Tofu and Other Vegetables by Hector Barretto Calma; Putol (The Cut) by Nikolas Red; and Ang Pagdadalaga Ng Dalagang Bukid by Jose Carlos Soliongco.

“From an open call, we arrived at nine filmmakers who went through a series of intensive film labs. They went through a storytelling, musical scoring, and editing labs to come up with nine Filipino short silent films,” FDCP Chairperson and CEO Mary Liza Bautista Dino-Seguerra said during the Nov. 17 press conference.

The workshop and competition aimed “to discover new talents and, at the same time, encourage the production of new silent films in the Philippines.”

The film lab had the theme “reimagining the past with the present.” The nine filmmakers produced silent short films drawing inspiration from Filipino silent film classics.

“We want to support the advocacy of championing silent films and creating more awareness on the importance of silent films and what they played, in the cinema that we have now. So, what we are doing right now is we want to discover and breed new filmmakers who will give love and embrace this format,” Ms. Dino-Seguerra said.

The nine films produced during the first edition of MOS will be screened online from Dec. 1 to 3.

The film festival will culminate with a closing ceremony and the awarding ceremony for the best productions of Mit Out Sound.

For more information and schedule details, visit www.facebook.com/InternationalSilentFilmFestivalManila. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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