Earl D.C. Bracamonte – Philstar.com

November 18, 2021 | 2:58pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Film Development of the Philippines (FDCP), in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), will roll out the 2021 International Silent Film Festival (ISFF); enlivening the annual event that was quieted down by the global pandemic.

This year’s festival will be opened by the Japan Foundation Manila at the newly-refurbished Metropolitan Theater. The highlight of the opening night will be the screening of the 1925 treasure “Orochi,” which follows the exploits of a revered samurai. Filipino band Munimuni will provide the score to this gem of a film that showcases much sword fighting.

“I am so happy that the festival has come back. This year, we have included the Embassy of France and the FDCP and it will have an opening night at the Manila Metropolitan Theater,” enthused Japan Foundation Manila Director Ben Suzuki.

The following day, November 25, film aficionados will converge on a webinar simply dubbed as “How to See a Silent Film,” to discuss the merits of the erstwhile medium in the 21st century.

“Filipinos love cinema not just as a form of entertainment, but also as a reflection of history or parallel to a country’s history. We share our love for cinema with all Filipinos. It is a symbol of brotherhood in any culture.

“Music is very important in silent movies and this will be provided by Karl Ramirez and Pordalab band for our entry – ‘The Jail Bird’,” intoned Instituto Cervantes director Javier Galvan.

“Das Wachsfigurenkabinett” (“The Wax Works”), a 1924 German film, is about a poet who conjures images and emotions for effigies in a museum. “This is a dark film but full of comedy and eerie effects. Raphael Galvez and the improvisation band La Crema will provide the psychedelic rock score for the film,” informed Dr. Ulrich Nowak of the Goethe Institute.

“It’s only fitting that France joins the festival – being the inventor of the cinematograph. The French has been credited for the birth of cinema with its screening of the 1925 movie ‘Leaving the Factory.’ For our entry, the 1921 film ‘The Foreman,’ Rodel Colmenar and the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra recorded the film’s score at the Alliance Francaise auditorium,” revealed cultural attache for the French Embassy in Manila, Martin Macalintal.

To sustain the ISFF, apart from a budget for silent film filmmakers, the FDCP came up with the MeetOutLoud Lab, a silent film competition for Filipino movie makers.

“This forthcoming ISFF will treat cineastes to awesome cinema – the silent type – with music from homegrown Filipino talent. Nine filmmakers will premiere their works towards the last days of the festival – Dec 1 and 2,” said FDCP chair Liza Diño-Seguera.

With the theme of “Re-imagining the Past in the Present,” the nine Filipino works are:

“Ang Pagsuyo sa Paru-paro ng Gabi”
“I Need More Than Tofu and Other Vegetables”
“Putol (The Cut)”
“Ang Pagdadalaga ng Dalagang Bukid”
“Alingawngaw ng mga Kuliglig”
“Ang Tatlong Hambog”
“Ing Tianak”

Through research, filmmaker Dr. Nick Deocampo found out that “Pinocchio” was the first full-length film screened in Manila. “The character was first created in 1911, and the latest by Mateo Galroni. We will be screening the first film on the well-loved cartoon character. The band Vidmar Tiro Tiro Trio created the 55-minute vintage-themed film score,” intimated Alessandro Milani of the Philippine-Italian Association.

The British Council in Manila counts as one of its main programs the restoration of film archives. “In 1919, Dr. Wise on Influenza was the only film about the Spanish flu pandemic. This public info film is an apt entry to this festival. Antipolo-based artiste Joee Mejias will provide the film’s score employing monotonous sounds to portray the doldrum of clinical actively but also employing beats to convey fear and dread,” apprized country director Lotus Postrado.

The International Silent Film Festival in Manila was created some 15 years ago through the efforts of the Japan Foundation Manila, Goethe Institute, and Instituto Cervantes.

 The 15th edition of the ISFF will be screened through the Facebook channel of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) from November 25 through December 6.

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