AS the Piazza Grande reopens in Locarno, 15 Filipino filmmakers are flying in to represent the country for this year’s Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland from August 4 to 14.
One of the longest-running festivals in the world that is known as a hub for auteur cinema welcomes the Philippine delegation composed of 18 filmmakers, with 15 onsite and three participating in the online event. Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño introduced the Locarno delegates in the send-off press conference hosted by the Agency last July 29, Thursday.
“For the past three years, the Locarno Film Festival created a focus section, a special spotlight on Southeast Asian countries and one of the Southeast Asian countries featured in this focus is the Philippines. We’ve been working with the Locarno Film Festival for the last three years to make sure that our Filipino filmmakers will create a presence, will be visible in the many events and activities within Locarno, and the films that are featured in the festival will also be showcased,” said Diño in her opening remarks.
Present at the conference was director Carlo Francisco Manatad of the competing film “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon (Whether the Weather is Fine),” who shared his expectations for their participation in Locarno. “More than the selection itself, it’s actually getting to know the people, ‘yung mismong culture from films that you’ve watched. I think right now, kung ano ‘yung mapapanood ko, kung sino ‘yung mga makikilala ko doon, every time naman learning experience, excited ako doon and sobrang thankful ako for Locarno for giving me this platform again to show my feature,” he said.
Actress Rans Rifol expressed her enthusiasm for the event, “Super happy and excited ako since it’s really my first time. This is my debut film talaga, ito ‘yung pinakamalaking role na nakuha ko sa buong buhay ko and to be part of this prestigious event, sobrang kinakabahan, pero sobrang excited ako.”
Head of Locarno Open Doors Miss Sophie Bourbon made an appearance at the press conference to speak on her confidence in the Philippine delegation, “I think if the Philippines is so strongly represented in the context of our festival this year, this is not just by chance. It does reflect the amazing work and the diversity of cinema that you have been developing for years now and we’re really honored to be able to give you additional windows and platforms to present either your projects or your films in different stages, either you’re a director or a producer.”
Participating in the Open Doors Screenings is director Alyx Ayn Arumpac with her film “Aswang,” conveying her anticipation for the festival, “I think it’s mostly personal for me in a sense that I also really look forward to going back to the cinema. I’ve only seen ‘Aswang’ in the cinema a few times because of course nag-pandemic nga. This culture, this festival, meeting colleagues, it’s very important for us, it’s a very good moment for us, for everyone. That’s mostly what I look forward to and expect.”
Line producer Pat Sumagui and producer Armi Rae Cacanindin of “Kun Maupay Man It Panahon” together with “Next Picture” director Cris Bringas, film project “Sam” producer Pamela Reyes, project “RA 8491 or “How We Recall Memories of Transit” producer Stelle Laguda, and producers Patti Lapus with project “Goliath”, Micah Tadena for the project “Inherit,” and “Filipiñana” director Rafael Manuel are among the delegates who attended the press conference.
A PH filmmakers luncheon will be hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Switzerland on August 10 for the Philippine delegates. The Agency, meanwhile, will host Philippine Cinema Night. The 74th Locarno Film Festival will run in a hybrid format.