A lot of people ask where the Filipino community here in Berlin is and frankly speaking, everyone is all over the place. And what better way to bring people together than through a film screening? But why stop at one screening? Let’s have a whole festival!
The First Reel: Philippine Film Festival Berlin is the first and only Philippine film festival in Berlin (yay!) and we opened with a bang at the Kino Moviemento last November 18, 19, 25, 26,27 2015. Spearheaded by Lola Abrera and Rosa Castillo of the Philippine Studies Series Berlin (thanks also Rosa for bringing me in) and in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy Berlin, the event is the first of its kind, aiming to re-introduce Philippine cinema to Berliners and to its second and third generation Filipino community.
It was a good five days having been able to feature four films: Boses, English Only Please, Ang Huling Chacha ni Anita AND Heneral Luna and 5 short films:Chicharon, Nasan si Lolo Me, April Fools, Pusong Bato and Ang Maskot. We additionally had panel discussions on Southeast Asian Cinema in the global context; Visual Storytelling, Language and Migration as well as Q&As with our featured guests Ricky Davao and Jay Boron who flew in all the way from Manila and New York, respectively. The lovely Mishka Adams also performed for us.
What was so amazing was that the event was able to gather Filipinos from different corners of the world (some came from Rome, Stockholm and other German cities like Bremen, Dortmund Frankfurt and Hannover just to catch the films. And it was heartwarming to see and hear people enjoy the selection, especially some young Filipino-Germans who has never been to the Philippines and yet has never experienced a Filipino film. And to be able to take part in giving this kind of service to the community is such an honour and privilege. Really.
I’m looking forward to what we’re cooking up for 2016.
*Photos by Myls Rubio, Trinka Lat and Divina Tan
Sometime late November/December 2014, I found myself having questions about what it means to exist, create and thrive as a Filipino in a foreign city, particularly Berlin and got to thinking about getting together a bunch of Filipino artists, based in Berlin, myself included, to stage an exhibition that dealt with Filipino identity and the idea of home. Many shared meals and beers later, we had shaped our theme, having repeatedly gone over the issue of borders, self-censorship, assimilation and the process of belonging and BEING.
In May, 2015 we decided it was time to find a gallery that would host us “medyo-no-name” artists (myself, Kay Abano, Pepe Dayaw) + Lizza May David. In July 2015, Lizza was able to induce a collaboration between the Philippine Studies Berlin, her masteral program at the UDK and most importantly, NON Berlin who provided us THE space to establish “home”. From there, our week-long art exhibit + lectures grew its legs and started walking.
Setting up a group exhibit is similar to filmmaking in a way. First you establish the idea and select a crew. Most of the time, the crew brings the concept on a whole different level and if you’re lucky, certain components tussle, push limits and create opportunities that provoke new directions in perspective and most importantly contribute to an already ongoing conversation.
I am quite impressed and thankful with how things (THANK YOU TIMING AND CIRCUMSTANCE!), worked out the best way it could have for our little makeshift group, our theme and our own situations. If anything, this little endeavour created a template for things to come.
And hey, there’s certainly of more of this, and US coming your way. Watch the recap of the exhibit here.
Photsos by Kay Abano/Route Projects