Experience a trove of cultures, histories, and dreams through the eyes of cinema with Tingin Southeast Asian Film Festival.
Is it your dream to travel to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Hanoi, but time and money forbid you from going? Well, you’ll get to experience the best of Southeast Asia as if you’re there for free and at the comfort of your home with the Tingin Southeast Asian Film Festival. Through enriching cinematic experiences, Tingin will transport you to a diverse range of stories and culture, spotlighting the region’s rich heritage and resonant social contexts.
IMAGINARIES OF NEIGHBORLINESS
Hatched in 2017, Tingin Southeast Asian Film Festival was formed to celebrate the fiftieth founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As part of a slate of projects under the Culture and Diplomacy program of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), its primary aims are to showcase the best films of the region, expand the Filipinos’ cultural knowledge, contribute to the education of film students, and to strengthen the country’s ties with our ASEAN neighbors.
A Tagalog word for perspective or to look at, Tingin seeks to capture a composite image of contemporary Southeast Asia through its representative cinemas that shed light on the countries’ diverse cultures, as well as pressing social issues. For its fifth edition, the film festival banners the theme: Imaginaries of Neighborliness.
“This year’s program is centered on the idea of neighborliness, positively, about what it means to live harmoniously with and compassionately for others, and negatively, how we suffer when the people around us or the structures we expect to look after us (e.g. governments, laws) don’t care, foster divisiveness, or are downright cruel,” Patrick Campos, festival programmer and Associate Professor of film studies at the University of the Philippines Film Institute, tells NYLON Manila.
“The program is also about neighborliness in that, in keeping with the vision of Tingin, it seeks to give us more insight into the realities of our neighboring countries,” Campos continues. “So we can imagine ourselves as being part of a regional community and develop a sense of cross-border solidarity with them.”
Since 2017, Tingin Southeast Asian Film Festival has typically chosen one or two representative films and co-productions from the region. This year, the festival boasts a ten-film lineup that, as festival director Maya Quirino writes, will transport the Filipino audience “to various lived experiences in Southeast Asia” and expose them to “shared wounds and desires, histories and dreams.”
The selection features award-winning shorts from ten ASEAN member nations that have traveled in the international film festival circuit. Foregrounding the themes of migration and diaspora are Cambodia’s Further and Further Away, Indonesia’s short animation Homebound, Laos’ grief-centered A Long Way Home, and Singaporean documentary Partitions.
Innovative cinematic voices, which melds the coming-of-age-story with experimental styles also grace the lineup with Brunei’s Cloud Jacket, Vietnam’s The Graduation of Edison, and Thailand’s four-part offering The Threshold 1969.
Meanwhile, Malaysian drama Here I Am chronicles the plight of an undocumented child during the country’s independence day. Radiating a powerful message of peace, Myanmar’s Lashio Ambulance revolves around a Muslim ambulance crew’s dedication to helping those in need. Finally, the Sundance winner Headhunter’s Daughter about an aspiring country singer in the Cordilleran highlands will represent the Philippines.
As the mission of Tingin Southeast Asian Film Festival has always been pedagogical and not commercial, its program is open and free to the public. And this year, you can catch all of these exciting titles on Vimeo, from December 2-4, 2022. Follow Tingin’s Facebook page and stay tuned for more details about this enriching event.
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