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Help bring home the oldest existing Philippine documentaries

Daang Dokyu Documentary Film Festival slated on 16-21 March 2020 calls on the public to help bring back the country’s oldest existing documentary films currently archived at the British Film Institute in London, England.

The festival is in close coordination with Philippine Studies at SOAS, a multi-disciplinary programme under the Centre for South East Asian Studies at SOAS University of London, when the discovery of these reel treasures were confirmed.   

According to Dr. Cristina Juan, Project Head of Philippine Studies at SOAS, there are 35 mm films currently stored at the BFI National Archive that should be brought home so the current generation can watch them in light with the 100 years celebration of documentary filmmaking in the Philippines. 

“Access to these films is very difficult. To just be able to view them, one needs to be in London and pay a per minute viewing fee. To get screening rights, you also need to pay a digitization fee and then screening fees on top of these,” shares Daang Dokyu Festival Director Baby Ruth Villarama.

Some of the titles of the documentary films discovered are “Fabrication Des Chapeaux De Manille”, filmed in 1911; “Industrie De L’abaca A L’ile De Cebu”, also made in 1911; “Manila Street Scene”, produced in 1926 and the actual “Glimpses Of The Culion Leper Colony And Of Culion Life” in Palawan historically filmed in 1929. 

Filipino supporters in the UK have initiated the GoFundMe campaign with a goal to raise the remaining £1,670 (approximately P 110,000.00) to release the film from the UK to ship back to the Philippines. The amount will allow Daang Dokyu to screen these never-been-seen footage at the historical documentary festival happening at Cine Adarna, University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.   

Together with Daang Dokyu fellow festival directors Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, Jewel Maranan and Monster Jimenez, Villarama is encouraging Filipinos to help reclaim these stories through a GoFundMepage (www.gofundme.com/f/bring-home-oldest-philippine-documentaries). “We need to raise the amount by mid February 2020 to give time to ship the films back to the Philippine in time for the festival,” Villarama shares.

The five-day festival is a celebration of the hundred years since the country has started capturing in film the stories of the Filipinos. Daang Dokyu will feature screenings of classic and latest documentaries, panel discussions, roundtables discussions, lectures, and master classes. It will also draw the largest crowd of active Filipino documentarists and film lovers in the country.

For more info on how to join, follow Daang Dokyu on Facebook and Instagram or visit www.daangdokyu.ph.

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