Going global for Cinema Rehiyon

Published March 31, 2021, 7:30 AM

by Rica Arevalo

The 13th year redefines the role of regional filmmakers in this pandemic

By Rica Arevalo
‘A house in pieces’ by Jean Claire Dy and Manuel Domes

With cinemas closed, festivals have resorted to online streaming. The 2021 Cinema Rehiyon, a striving local festival catering to a niche audience, is showing its worth by streaming all of its films in the Cinema Rehiyon Vimeo page until March 31, 2021. 

Adjani Arumpac curates Babayi, Babaylan, films focusing on women and LGBTQIA+. “For me, what makes this space important is the freedom that it enjoys as a function of its being in the margins,” she says. “It is a thriving space, teeming with diverse works.”

Cinema Rehiyon is spearheaded by The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).  It clearly shows how arts can prosper outside of the commercial market if it is given government support and an alternative direction that is not directly commercially distributed.

Adjani Arumpac

With more than a hundred short and feature films, festival director Tito Valiente is keen on the idea of going beyond the region as a geographic identification.  

“It is high time to expand the meaning of regional cinema, in order to delimit its possibilities,” remarks Arumpac, the 2014 Gawad Urian Best Documentary awardee.     

Going online means going global. The 13th edition will also premiere works of Filipinos living outside of the Philippines.  

How were the films chosen? There were more than a hundred entries. “Elvert Banares, who programmed the Best of the Regions, and I were given a list of submissions from various regional film festivals in the country,” she muses.  “We watched all of these and tried to make cohesive programs that address the respective topics assigned to us.”

This is an invitation for everyone to facilitate fruitful discussions that tackle how the Filipinos, plural in diversity, make their sense of place in this world. 

‘What makes this space important is the freedom that it enjoys as a function of its being in the margins. It is a thriving space, teeming with diverse works.’

“Indeed, regional cinema is a treasure trove of essential educational materials about and for the Filipinos,” remarks Adjani.

The festival will also introduce Masterclasses, and webinars focusing on the issues and concerns regarding women, LGBTQIA+, and cinema in the pandemic.  

NCCA chairman and Manila Bulletin Lifestyle columnist Nick Lizaso gives his welcoming remarks during the opening of Cinema Rehiyon 2021

The most important highlight in this festival is to see the role of regional filmmakers in these troubling times, how they rise up against the pandemic using film as their weapon.

Visit https://vimeo.com/showcase/CinemaRehiyon2021 and to see the film list https://vimeo.com/nccancc/vod_pages .