Films on the sea and its challenges featured in free online screenings

Published June 8, 2021, 1:19 PM

by Manila Bulletin Entertainment

Memorial Project Nha Trang, Vietnam: Towards the Complex – For the Courageous, the Curious and the Cowards (2001)

Climate change, capitalism and marine extraction are among the issues to be tackled in SEA Media, a free screening of select international films and documentaries that present the ocean as a medium and reflection of the anxieties within the nationalistic boundaries of Southeast Asia.

The event utilizes the visual language and capacity of filmmaking to spark discussions on the persisting social, cultural, economic and environmental topics.

Memorial Project Nha Trang, Vietnam: Towards the Complex – For the Courageous, the Curious and the Cowards (2001) by Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiban narrates the story of young men who work in teams and fight for air as they propel cyclos across the rock-strewn ocean bottom.

Filmed in Vietnam’s Indochina Sea, it exhibits Nguyen-Hatsushiba’s remarkable capture of the underwater, which he has likewise showcased intriennales and biennales in Guangzhou, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Sydney, Venice and Yokohama. It will be on view from Monday, June 7 to Sunday, June 13, 2021.

Tungkung Langit (2012)by Kiri Dalena follows two orphans in the midst of the relief efforts in the typhoon-stricken Iligan City in Mindanao in 2011. With art materials and a camera on hand, the two survivors share their tragic experiences with each other.

Named after the Panay epic god whose tears become rain, the film encapsulates Dalena’stalent in unraveling social inequalities and injustices through visual arts.It will be available from Monday, June 14 to Sunday, June 20, 2021.

Filmed on the sea floor of Koh Koot, Thailand in the maritime border, Letter to the Sea (2019) by Lim Sokchanlinapresents the economic gap between two countries as Cambodian migrants flee to Thailand to serve as “cheap workforces” in agriculture and fisheries.

The documentaryexemplifies Sokchanlina’s mastery in working across conceptual practices and different art forms as he sheds light into the various changes in Cambodia in relation to the world. It will be shown from Monday, June 21 to Sunday, June 27, 2021.

Gilubong Ang Akong Pusod Sa Dagat (My Navel is Buried in the Sea)(2021) by Martha Atienza provides a glimpse into the lives of Filipino seafarers who work on international vessels and the local fishermen in Madridejos, Cebu who inherited their livelihood from earlier generations.

A study on the significance of the sea and its relationship withthose who utilize it, the work shows Atienza’s skill in weaving stories that speak ofenvironmental change, displacement, cultural loss and social economic disparities. It will be screened from Monday, June 28 to Saturday, July 3, 2021.

Sea State 6: Phase 1 (2021) by Charles Yi Yong transports the viewers into Jurong Rock Caverns in Singapore, the first commercial underground facility of its kind for storage of liquid hydrocarbons in Southeast Asia. It depicts how material transformation of natural species unravel the interconnected facets of government and capitalist expansion.

The documentary began in 2005 as an examination of the political and biophysical contours of the nation through the lenses of the sea anddepicts the filmmaker’s artistic practice that stemmed from an infinite engagement with both man-made systems and the natural world. It will be available from Sunday, July 4 to Sunday, July 11, 2021.

Hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde,SEA Media is curated by Toby Wu, a graduate student from the University of Chicago whose interest is in documentary production, Asian films and festivalsand modern and contemporary Southeast Asian art.

It is free and open to the public and may be viewed anytime within thescreening period. It will be available through

For inquiries, email [email protected]