Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Embracing his heritage

(From PDI-Entertainment’s Indie Bravo supplement, published Dec. 9.)


“Through cinema, we see who we really are,” said Kanakan Balintagos, the filmmaker formerly known as Auraeus Solito (who directed “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros”). Along with the name change— “Kanakan” means “hunter of truth” in Palawanon—comes a renewed sense of purpose.

“My films are the interwoven images of our culture, myth, ritual and modern issues that are threatening this way of life. The ‘Palawan Trilogy’ is not a trilogy of plot, but of thought. ‘Busong (Palawan Fate)’ is Palawan’s philosophy. ‘Baybayin’ (The Palawan Script)’ captures its culture. ‘Sumbang (The Palawan Deluge),’ will present my people’s history.”

The first two parts were recognized in two international film festivals this year. “Busong” won best international indigenous film at the Wairoa Maori Film Festival in New Zealand; “Baybayin” was awarded best indigenous language film at the ImagineNative Film Festival in Canada.

“These two awards are the most important in my career, especially now that I have fully embraced my heritage by using my tribal name,” he said.

“Independent filmmakers realize our visions in full freedom; the disadvantage is, the ratio of speed of ideas to speed of film-financing is not directly proportional,” the filmmaker added.

“Film-financing competitions like the Cinemalaya and Cinema One Originals have given way to more indie productions. A growing regional cinema has empowered filmmakers from remote parts of the country. What we need now is a concrete venue for these films, for the growing audience of this kind of art films. We should produce  DVDs, anthologies and compilations so Filipinos abroad will get to see these great films.”

He lauded the Inquirer: “PDI has given value to our work. It has seen and understood the importance of these times, when Philippine cinema is being recognized around the world. Thank you for seeing the great renaissance of Philippine cinema!” Oliver Pulumbarit

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