This October, the San Diego Filipino Film Festival is bringing together Filipino visions, voices, and stories on the big screen in a grand celebration of Filipino filmmaking and artistry.
Mainland and diaspora Filipinos of the internet, let’s all step away from the identity discourse for a second and acknowledge the excellence that’s radiating all over the globe—Filipino filmmaking and artistry. While we all know it’s important to acknowledge the issues and discussions involving culture, history, and identity—issues and discussions that often cause heated debate on social media—we have room to highlight and recognize initiatives that can bring us together to celebrate our fellow people and their craft.
One such initiative is the San Diego Filipino Film Festival, organized by San Diego Filipino Cinema, an organization that gives platforms to Filipino filmmakers to share their work with the diverse communities in San Diego, California. Held during Filipino American History Month, the SDFFF is the organization’s “centerpiece event that aims to raise awareness for Filipino cinema as an important art form and a powerful tool for representation, education, and entertainment.”
From October 3 to 8, over one hundred films spanning a variety of genres, lengths, and stories will be featured in the festival. Not just that, but there will be awards, as well as panels and Q&As with established and emerging filmmakers to discuss the present and future of Filipino cinema and cultivate a love for the art of filmmaking.
DIVERSITY, CULTURE, AND HERITAGE THROUGH NARRATIVES
The San Diego Filipino Film Festival endeavors to highlight Filipino artists and show their craft on a global level. After a successful festival in 2022, Executive Director and Cofounder of San Diego Filipino Cinema Benito Bautista says, “We continue to uphold and focus on our mission to strengthen our representation through film and to nurture Filipino stories and storytellers through our platform.”
Featured films at the festival include Nurse Unseen, a documentary about the history and humanity behind Filipino nurses becoming the backbone of the United States health industry as well as pandemic frontliners; Searching For Kapwa, an exploration of diasporic culture and identity; Pagbalik (The Return), a daughter’s tribute to her mother, the late “Queen of Visayan Movies” Gloria Sevilla; and the debut of rom-com Asian Persuasion starring Paolo Montalban, Dante Basco, and KC Concepcion; Delia & Sammy starring Rosemarie Gil and Jaime Fabregas, Nanahimik Ang Gabi (A Silent Night) starring Ian Veneracion, Heaven Peralejo, and Mon Confiado, and more.
Interspersed with the narrative features are Shorts Programs, showings of short films by talented young artists. The Shorts Programs are curated into 7 themes: Divergent Tales, Outside the Box, Finding Elsewhere, Connect the Dots, Larger Than Life, Scenes From Home, and DIASPORA.
The full schedule of showings and events can be found here.
VISIONS & VOICES
The festival not just seeks to showcase movies. Through their events, talks, and the very curation of the stories they want to highlight, the San Diego Filipino Film Festival delves into the issues faced by Filipinos and Filipino-Americans involving representation, oppression, racial and cultural discrimination, colonization, and a search for identity, among others. The stories told, celebrated, and discussed at SDFFF bring forth a desire to find, understand, or change filmmakers’—and by extension Filipinos’—positions in the world.
To go more in-depth into these desires and perspectives, the Visions & Voices segment of the festival, titled Emerging Voices in Filipino Cinema: My First Feature, will feature emerging Filipino filmmakers new to navigating the craft. The panel of filmmakers will talk about their craft, their dreams and aspirations, their process as artists, and their struggles and fulfillments.
Aside from the featured films’ directors and emerging filmmakers, other Filipino filmmakers present at the festival include Isabel Sandoval, Irene Soriano, and Eileen Cabiling.
In this grand display of Filipino cinema gone global, SDFFF seeks to dive deep into Filipino and Filipino-American culture and identity all while amplifying Filipino visions, voices, and stories.
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