Daang Dokyu celebrates the Filipino identity

Our identity as Filipinos is defined by the stories we tell. On its fourth week, Daang Dokyu places the spotlight on the stories made from various places in our islands called home.

Streaming now on its virtual cinema (DaangDokyu.com/watchnow) until October 29, 2020 are eight documentaries under its “Localities: Dagat ang Pagitan” section. These films are especially curated to reflect the diversity and differences in our archipelagic nation. 

These are A is for Agustin (2019) by Grace Simbulan; Walang Rape sa Bontok (2014) by Mark Lester Valle and Carla Pulido Ocampo, produced by GMA Network; Gilubong ang Akon Pusod sa Dagat (2011) by Martha Atienza; Himurasak (2017) by  Francis Solajes; Ang Pagbabalik ng Bituin (2012) by Sherbien Dacalanio; Budots: The Craze(2019) by Jay Rosas and Mark Limbaga; Panicupan (2015) by Bagane Fiola; and A House in Pieces (2020) by Jean Claire Dy and Manuel Domes.

These documentaries are a glimpse of the rich practice of filmmaking in different regions and localities in the country. From north to south, mountains and seas, these films are specifically curated to evoke the diversity of topographies, languages, and human experiences across our islands—where each place is a center in its own right, and each struggle bears real gravity regardless of distance to perceived or established political and cultural centers. There is so much for the committed audience to discover — not only in the richness of cultures distilled in these films — but for a rightly broader appreciation of the Filipino condition” explains Jewel Maranan, one of the festival directors of Daang Dokyu.

A is for Agustin and Walang Rape sa Bontok are both stories from Luzon.

A is for Agustin tells the story of Agustin, a tribesman close to his forties who never had the opportunity to learn to read or write. When he finds out his boss cheats him out of his wages again, he decides to enroll in grade 1. Over time, however, Agustin becomes increasingly torn between two realities: the children’s world in school, and the harsh reality of the 

world outside. As the needs of his family mount, he must decide whether to continue his own quest for self-improvement or pass the opportunity on to his son, the next generation.

Walang Rape sa Bontok is about two women, both victims of sexual abuse and who yearn and search for a utopia where women can live without being sexually violated. By chance, they encounter a study by renowned anthropologist June Prill-Brett, which mentions that the Bontok of the Philippine Cordilleras have lived for eras without a term, nor concept, nor incidence, of rape. 

From the Visayas are Gilubong ang Akon Pusod sa Dagat and Himurasak.

Gilubong ang Akon Pusod sa Dagat (My Navel is Buried in the Sea) explores the relevance of the sea and its relationship and impact on those who use it as a source of livelihood. Through a three-channel video projection, the work proffers varying scenes and perspectives in simultaneity, briskly balancing alternating rhythms in settings and emotions throughout its duration. In addition to reflecting the Philippines’ historical and geographical relationship with the ocean, it brings the sea into its contemporary reality, as a metaphor of necessity and opportunity, and of community and isolation.

Himurasak shares stories from communities in Tacloban affected by Typhoon Yolanda, from the collective memory and experiences of the locals themselves.

The Mindanaon experience are highlighted in Ang Pagbabalik ng Bituin, Budots: The Craze, Panicupan, and A House in Pieces. 

Ang Pagbabalik ng Bituin documents a domestic helper’s Ro-Ro (roll-on, roll-off) trip from Metro Manila to Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte.

Budots: The Craze (2019) is about “Budots,” which swept the entire nation by storm. But few people knew that the dance craze originated in Davao City before it went viral on social media. An internet bum and a small group of people in his community started it all.

Panicupan is about a barangay in Pikit, North Cotabato. It is one of the “Spaces for Peace,” where Moro, Lumad, and Christian settlers have joined hands in upholding their harmonious relationship amid the conflict between the government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Wrapping up the section is the Philippine premier of A House in Pieces.

Adjani Arumpac, one of the festival’s curators, says, “A House in Pieces is an important representation of a complex story of the persistence of hope despite an acceptance of the realities of a war that has never ended.” 

A House in Pieces is about the war between government and ISIS-affiliated jihadists in Marawi, Philippines, which forced hundreds of thousands to flee from their homes. It tells about the residents’ struggle to rebuild their homes and lives in a deformed city after the war.

The film unfolds as an emotional journey weaving together the stories of its protagonists over a period of two years. Displaced couple Yusop and Farhanna and their children yearn for freedom, income, and comfort after returning to their city. But even to return to normalcy is already a struggle. Nancy, a once wealthy woman, has to cope with her loss of home in an evacuation shelter where she will have to remain for years. An anonymous driver with striking insights shuttles back and forth between places and stories around a city which will never be the same again.

A talkback that examines documentary works made in the regions and talk about the experiences of making them from different vantage points is also available on Daang Dokyu’s social media accounts.

The talkback “Reality Check: Dagat ang Pagitan” was moderated by Dr. Mike Tan, former UP Chancellor.  In the panel were Tito Valiente, film critic, public anthropologist and educator; Bagane Fiola, festival programmer and filmmaker of Panicupan; Jay Rosas, festival programmer, film critic and filmmaker of Budots: The Craze; Keith Deligero, festival director Binisaya and cultural worker; and Teddy Co, film archivist, curator and co-founder of Cinema Rehiyon, and one of the curators of Daang Dokyu.

On October 30, following the Localities section, Daang Dokyu will present its final section, Future.  

Daang Dokyu, the home of Philippine documentaries, is initiated by the Filipino Documentary Society (FilDocs), founded by documentary filmmakers Jewel Maranan, Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, Baby Ruth Villarama, and Coreen Jimenez. 

It is made possible with the support and partnership with the Office of House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, UP Film Institute, and Probe Media Foundation.

Others that support Daang Dokyu are Purin Pictures, Japan Foundation, GMA Network, ABS-CBN, Rappler, iWantTFC, Probe Productions, Phil. Center for Investigative Journalism, Sundance, TokyoDocs, British Film Institute, British Council, SOAS University of London, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, Adobo Magazine, Inquirer.net, Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, QCinema International Film Festival, Grupo Sorbetero, JCI Quezon City Capitol, Central Digital Lab, Butch Jimenez, Chevening Alumni Philippines, Unreel, Film Geek Guy, Geoffreview, SineHub, EngageMedia, Greenpeace, Culion Foundation, Pelikulove, Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce, PHCan, Miriam College, Ako Bakwit, and Cinema Rehiyon.

More information about the festival is available at daangdokyu.ph.

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