2013 sinehan sa summer opens with Nora Aunor tribute; short films night draws young crowd in New York
New York City, NY, United States  ·  
posted 5-Sep-2013  ·  
Clockwise from Top Left: Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr (4th from right), Deputy Consul General Tess De Vega (3rd from left) and Cultural Officer Marievic Dimaculangan (2nd from left) pose with Noranians and Festival Panel members during the opening cocktails; Con Gen De Leon addressing the festival crowd; Mr Gil Quito, Ms. Fiel Zabat and DCG Tess De Vega during the Nora tribute Q&A; the iconic “Walang Himala” scene. (Photos by Mae Ermita)
The annual Sinehan sa Summer, a Filipino film festival organized by the Philippine Consulate General in New York was held from August 12 to 16   at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center.  For the first time, the festival ran for an entire week offering a slate of classic Filipino films, independent movies, shorts and talkbacks with filmmakers, actors, scholars, and creative artists.

Philippine Consul General in New York Mario L. De Leon formally launched the festival on August 12 with film enthusiasts and Filipino community members in attendance.

Consul General De Leon highlighted the festival’s objective of providing a venue for Filipino films to be screened for the New York film audience.  He also mentioned that the Consulate aims to create opportunities for Philippine film and video products to penetrate the international film market and share the innovations taking place in Filipino film to the public.

The festival opening night was a tribute to renowned Filipino thespian Nora Aunor, to celebrate her 50th anniversary in show business.  The filmgoers, including die-hard Nora fans belonging to International Circle of Noranians and Nora Friends Forever, were treated to a screening of the short film “Superfan” written and directed by ClodualdoDoy del Mundo and inspired by an essay written by Noranian Armando Diaz, as a pre-main feature show.  The evening’s highlight was a screening of the digitally remastered Ishmael Bernal masterpiece and Aunor-starrer “Himala,” which drew applause and tears from the Noranians present and garnered more admirers for the Superstar.  A panel discussion with writer Gil Quito and Production Designer FielZabat, moderated by Deputy Consul General Tess De Vega followed before the night ended.

The second night was devoted to showing short films from emerging Filipino and Filipino-American filmmakers.  A call for entries was sent by the Festival committee in June and out of those submitted, seven were chosen to be screened.  The films were Manhattan International Film Festival winners “Ang Lalaking Parisukat” by Inshallah Montero and “Tanglaw” by Adrielle Esteban; music videos “Stutter” by Paolo Bitanga and “Matilda” by Kevin Camonayan; Cinemalaya 2012 entry Mientras Su Durmida by Sheron Dayoc, historic docu-art film “Rizal Garibaldi Lincoln” by Nabil Sami; and zombie thriller D-Volution by Hollywood-based Filipino-American director Walter Boholst.

During the talkback session with Deputy Consul General  Tess De Vega, Mr. Gil Quito, Rizal Garibaldi Lincoln actor Federico Wardal and Stutter director/actor Paolo Bitanga, many of the audience members, most of whom are second generation Filipino-American youth, expressed their curiosity about the background of the movies’ stories, most of which are set in the Philippines.  As with previous shorts nights in the preceding Sinehans, the shorts films night drew a capacity audience from the younger set of filmgoers.

The third night of the Sinehan featured a tribute to the late actor Rodolfo Quizon, better known as Dolphy, with the LinoBrocka classic, “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” (My Father is My Mother) co-starring Nino Muhlach, Philip Salvador and Lorli Villanueva. Ms. Villanueva graced the screening and did a talkback moderated by Gil Quito with the film’s production designer Fiel Zabat.

The penultimate evening of the festival was a tribute to another pillar of the Philippine film industry, the late director Marilou Diaz-Abaya. Her film: “Karnal” was screened to a mixed audience of Filipinos, Filipino-Americans and Americans. The American audience members in particular, asked a number of questions to Production Designer Fiel Zabat on how the film’s time period was depicted onscreen.

The festival culminated with Philippine Indie night featuring some of the best new work being produced in the Philippines. The 2012 Gawad Urian Best Picture winner “Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa” (Dance of Two Left Feet) was screened to an appreciative and curious audience, while a retrospective of short films - Every Other Time, Time Sprint, Ang Tangke and audience favorite Kitchen Phone - by rising Filipino filmmaker Gino Santos were featured.

The 2013 Sinehan sa Summer was made possible with the assistance of Vicky Belarmino of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Gil Quito, Fiel Zabat, Vincent Nebrida of UNITEL, Clodualdo “Doy” del Mundo, Gino Santos, Alvin B. Yapan, and Alemberg Ang.

Clockwise from top Right: Mr Gil Quito, Director Paolo Bitanga, Actor Federico Wardal and Deputy Consul General Tess De Vega discuss film and video inspirations during talkback on shorts night; the Kalayaan Hall was filled with second generation Filipino-American and young American audience members; the shorts night lineup. (Photos by Khrys Corpuz)
(From left) Ms. Lorli Villanueva, FielZabat, Gil Quito at the “AngTatay Kong Nanay” talkback; Gil Quito and FielZabat talk about Marilou Diaz- Abaya’s “Karnal” (photos MT Dizon-de Vega)
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