Thursday, March 18, 2010

Women in the Forefront in the 19th International Women’s Film Festival

The University of the Philippines Film Institute (UPFI), together with the South African Embassy in Manila, presented the 19th International Women’s Film Festival at the UPFI Cine Adarna last March 9–11.

Carried by the theme “Claiming Spaces for Women’s Voices,” the festival opened with a screening of “Courting Justice,” an intimate portrayal of the lives of women making up 18% of South Africa’s judiciary during the post-apartheid era. It underlined their multiple roles as members of the judiciary, as women, and as South African citizens.

Courting Justice, an internationally acclaimed award-winning film, was directed by Ms. Jane Thandi Lipman and produced by Ms. Bridget Pickering, who was the guest of honor of the festival.

UP President Ms. Emerlinda Roman opened the ceremony with a speech, commending how women have “made full use of the cinema as a platform for their personal and social concerns” and the way women have helped “raise the standards of film making over the years.”

The UPFI also invited several speakers from the academe to discuss how women have claimed their voices in different forms of mass media. Among the roster of the distinguished speakers were Dr. Guy Claudio, Dr. Odine de Guzman, Dr. Judy Taguivalo, Prof. Roselle Rivera, Atty. Joji Alonso, Prof. Brian Bantugan, and Ms. Bridget Pickering herself. A roundtable discussion, also with Ms. Pickering, was held at the afternoon of the first day.

Also a highlight of the festival was the conferment of the Diwata Award to Ms. Gina Pareño, lead star of “Kubrador,” and Director Olivia Lamasan. The Diwata Award aims to recognize women who have made great strides in filmmaking and who have propelled women's issues and concerns in film.

The program was attended by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera and UP officials including Vice President for Development Armin Sarthou, festival director, UP Open University Chancellor Grace Javier Alfonso, UPD Chancellor Sergio Cao, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Elizabeth L. Enriquez, UPFI Director Eduardo J. Lejano, and UPD College of Mass Communication (CMC) Dean Roland B. Tolentino. South African Ambassador, Pieter Vermeulen, and his wife, Chrisna; Shri Yogendra Kumar from the Indian Embassy; and Fernando Miguel from the Angolan Embassy also graced the event.

Other distinguished films screened during the festival include “Serbis” by Brillante Mendoza, “In My Life” and “Sana Maulit Muli” by Olivia Lamasan, “Kubrador” by Jeffrey Jeturian, as well as new films by women students.

Interested parties may get in touch with Mr. Nonoy Lauzon at (632) 926-3640 for more information about the festival.


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