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Thursday, December 6, 2012

10 Human Rights Short Films mark the Celebration of International Human Rights Week

06 December 2012
Press Contact:  Ayeen Karunungan 09175057055

(DISCLAIMER: Any opinions written in this post are Dakila Philippines' own and do not reflect the viewpoint of any other Naga City Deck and/or NCD Contributor)

10 Human Rights Short Films mark the Celebration of International Human Rights Week

The Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival unveiled 10 powerful human stories projecting truth in social realities under the festival’s Alab Short Film Competition. 10 short films from 10 aspiring filmmakersexplored the issues of human trafficking, peace, gender discrimination, children’s rights, discrimination of PWDs, climate change and environment, right to freedom of expression and information, right to social services and security, extra-judicial killings and reproductive health.
The films were made possible through the support of AusAID, The Asia Foundation, Movies that Matter and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

“What is truly inspiring and hopeful about this year’s ALAB Short Films is that these films were a product of Active Vista’s attempt to marry the filmmakers’ art with their advocacy. Each film was chosen based not only on the participants’ creative idea but as well as how their films reflect the human rights theme they are advocating” according to Kristine Kintana, Active Vista Film Festival Program Director. “These films demonstrate how cinema make us think significantly about human rights issues in new and interesting ways.”
“We are proud to support these 10 filmmakers who have dared to incite change through cinema. We have a roster of individuals who possess not only talent but also passion for their advocacy. This rare mix is composed of NGO workers – advocates who wanted to explore filmmaking as a tool to promote their advocacy, and filmmakers – artists who wanted to engage in advocacy work.”Kintana added.

Since July 2012, Active Vista traveled in 20 cities all over the country to screen films and provide forum for discourse on human rights issues among audiences, government, NGOs, academe and artists. Active Vista is set to close its festival on December 10 – International Human Rights Day with the awarding of the winners of its ALAB short film competition.
“The Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival has always believed in the power of cinema to tell stories that grab people by their collar and shake them out of their apathy. These are the stories of the people, a reflection of social truths in a country whose government believes that human rights issues are nothing but leftist propaganda.” said Leni Velasco, Active Vista Festival Director. “When one is able to list as many as 10 human rights issues of his/her country, one should be alarmed. It says a lot about the country, considering that human rights is the backbone of democracy, something the Philippines has been proud to be,”

With sessions in the Congress and the Senate ending soon, the future remains bleak for many human rights groups in the country who have been lobbying for the passage of bills that should help ensure human rights for all Filipinos of all classes and gender such as the Reproductive Health Bill, Freedom of Information Bill, Sign Language Bill, Anti-discrimination Bill and Security of Tenure Bill, among others.

Velasco added, “2012 is about to end and we have not seen an improvement in the many human rights issues of the Philippines. Even worse, the government is turning a blind eye. Some of these films may be fictional, but the issues they tackle are not. Through these films, Active Vista hopes to ignite revolutions of the minds and inspire movements, if not to change things then perhaps to change the way we view things, one viewer at a time.”

ALAB 2012: Stories of Truths in Projections

Stories are told to inspire, to educate, to move and cinema exists for us to experience these stories in a more personal way. It allows us to see, hear, feel, both familiar and unfamiliar territories; makes us receivers of truths.

The Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival has always believed in the power of cinema to tell stories that grab people by their collar and shake them out of their apathy. Last May, 12 brave souls who dared to spark change through cinema were given grants by the Active Vista to wield their visions and to weave their stories into reality.

With the help of some of the independent film industry’s most brilliant and respected personalities - Ditsi Carolino, Raymond Red, Francis Pasion, Bing Lao, Sherad Sanchez and Raymond Lee, they embarked on a 6-month journey to search for their own truths through their art.

Active Vista hopes to be one of those undertakings to keep the truth alive. These are the stories of the people, a reflection of social truths in a country whose government believes that human rights issues are nothing but leftist propaganda.

The films presented illuminate life and make real the stories behind the headlines and statistics so that we may be able to empathize with the struggles and embrace it as our own.

These stories allow us to respond to truths in projections of human realities and entice us to submerge ourselves in these truths in projections.

10 Stories. 10 Human Rights Issues. 10 Truths Projected.  This is ALAB 2012.

Modern-day slavery is a hideous evil. We must cease to be bystanders
and make the crusade against human trafficking our own.”
-John Arish Gonzales 


By showing how society has not yet rid itself of enslavement, we may be able to lessen the vulnerability of our countrymen from being held by the clutches of slavery. ALAB’ s short film on human trafficking, Delivery Man by John Arish Gonzales, is a film inspired by the Hollywood film, Taken. A cab driver who is instrumental in the transport of trafficked women faces the wrath of his victims’ families.

The filmmaker, Arish Gonzales, studied Broadcast Communication at the University of the East and currently works as a freelance cinematographer. He started joining film competitions and won several awards in their school’s filmmaking contest. Arish wants to be known as a famous director and cinematographer.

My film is primarily a message of hope because for some of us,
it may be all that that is left to keep us moving.
-Zara Terrado


By displaying the beauty of a country gifted with abundant natural resources, we may be able to impart the pressing need to protect our environment from the devastating effects brought about by climate change. ALAB’s short film, Ang Huling Superhero by Ceazara Terrado is a sci-fi story on environment sustainability and climate change. A superhero in search of a reason to continue his mission on saving the environment.

Zara Terrado works as a Production Coordinator in a local TV network. Although Zara doesn’t have a technical background on film, her love for stories and for Baguio - the city that shaped her college years inspired her to join the ALAB Short Film Competition and make her very first film about her advocacy on the environment.
Healthy living can only be possible with healthy mind, healthy soul
and above all a healthy society.
-Nica Santiago


By revealing the harrowing truths behind the health conditions of Filipinos, we may be able to ensure that every citizen be given proper health care and the right to be educated on sexuality that will lead to the nation’s well-being. ALAB’s short film, Sa Wakas by Nica Santiago is a story of a tricycle driver father who drives his pregnant daughter, as she looses much blood, in search of a health center that would admit her.
Veronica Santiago is a Mass Communication graduate from Far Eastern University who plans to go to law school. Her love for cinema led her to venture in filmmak ing. Just this year, her passion for film won her an international jury award in the Producer’s Category of the 13thJeonJu International Film Festival in South Korea. She is proud to be a feminist. A clear proof to that is her short film, Sa Wakas, which discusses the right to reproductive health.

 Advocacy is one of my motivations in crafting my cinema.
-Jet Leyco


By unmasking the stories of conflict and battle, we may be able to pursue the path of just and lasting peace in resolving the hostility between the government and rebel groups, between warring tribes and factions. ALAB’s short film,Walang Kaluluwah by Jet Leyco, explores what happens when a man runs to the mountains after committing a crime and meets his rebel son.

Jet Leyco currently works for a local TV network as a news and current affairs director and cinematographer. This young filmmaker is the grand prizewinner of the ALAB Short Film Competition last 2010 and has recently won the International Special Jury award at the 13thJeonJu International Film Festival in South Korea. Jet’s very reason of joining this year’s competition is because of his yearning to immerse himself in advocacy cinema. Exploring the vastness of the peace issue - its complications and socio-political context - is his main inspiration in making his short film.
What does it really take to be a  model ciTizen?
-Brigite Salvatore


By presenting films that depict the ongoing struggle of our nation to achieve gender equality, we may be able to lay the foundation towards an accepting, empowered nation.Model CiTizen by Brigite Salvatore is an autobiograp hical documentary. It chronicles the life of a Muslim transgender woman struggling to live a normal life.
Brigite Salvatore is a head turner from Jolo, Sulu. Brigite’s bread and butter are her careers as a licensed nurse and a freelance model but her first love is undeniably fashion designing. What initially brought her to the ALAB Short Film competition is her advocacy against gender discrimination. However, Brigite has found a new love in filmmaking. A transwoman since college, she struggled to be accepted and respected but she thinks that gender discrimination in the Philippines has still a long way to go. After joining her organization, STRAP, her film, Model CiTizen, is her next step to fighting for gender equality. 
In this country, it feels like we are all on our own
-Rowena Sanchez

By uncovering the government’s lack of support for every Filipino and the struggles of the common man in a country that despite the promise of progress has failed to provide families of decent shelter, workers of fair wages, farmers with a land of their own and the majority of the population to live a dignified life, we may be able to push the government to fulfill its obligation for its people. ALAB’s short film, Last Shot by Rowena Sanchez happens on Graduation Day and follows the conversation between a 32-year-old coach and his favorite student before one receives his diploma and the other goes to his call center job interview.

Rowena Sanchez graduated with a degree in film and audio-visual communication. She worked as a production assistant in several film productions, one of which was with a seasoned director in the film industry. Her reason for joining the ALAB Short Film competition was her desire to get back on track in the film industry. But this opportunity is not just any “comeback”  for her. For Rowena, this time, it is not only about filmmaking.
By showing films that give respect, empowerment and understanding to the disabled, may every Filipino, despite impairments, be able to fulfill their social responsibilities towards a fully-abled nation.
In spreading the power of film to awaken the consciousness,  
the awakening is not just for those who watch them, but also for those who make them.
-Dr. Liza Martinez

ALAB’s short films, Kubli by Dr. Liza Martinezis a story of a deaf rape victim, Bel, who is raped by her father and struggles to prove him guilty in a court with no sign language interpreters, and
Dr. Liza Martinez is one of the most prominent deaf advocates in the country and the founding director of Philippine Deaf Resource Center, Inc. Although she is new in filmmaking, her expertise makes her the best person to translate the advocacy on persons with disabilities, particularly deaf-related stories, into film. Her short film entry, Kubli, a story of a deaf rape victim is one of the must-see eye-opener stories in the competition.

I hope to awaken  another storyteller within me that can tell stories
about social relevance and be an instrument of change.
-Victor Villanueva

Abot Kamay by Victor Villanueva is a story of a deaf girl who wants to become an actress despite her disability.
Victor Villanueva is like a living cartoon, always animated and brings life to every single conversation. This young Cebuano artist wanted to become a scientist when he was younger but soon realized that he likes the science of interpreting his romantic comedy stories into moving pictures better. Victor currently works as a freelance director and a market segment creative in a local TV network. His film, My Paranormal Romance, was a blockbuster hit at last year’s Cinema One Originals Film Festival.
This is my stand against prejudice to those who have been branded as socially unacceptable because their morals
do not conform to that of society.
-Che Villanueva


Kapatiran by Che Villanueva is a film on freedom of expression, which focuses on an underground rock band in Iloilo seen by people as satanic and disruptive.
Che Villanueva’s journey in her career exemplifies a “rags to riches” story. Her humble beginnings - making coffee for her and becoming their personal assistant - gained her the knowledge that contributed a lot in her career as a freelance director and editor. Choosing freedom of thought and expression for her advocacy short film, rooted from her interest to answer her questions on the perks of freedom. 

 I’m just a young aspiring filmmaker that wants to make films,
 to influence people and be heard.
-Ron Segismundo

By portraying the intricacies of everyday survival of the Filipino youth, we may be able to find a path to build their future. ALAB’s short film, Bakaw by Ron Segismundo,  is a story that talks about children’s rights. It follows a day in the life of a kid who steals fish from vendors at the Navotas fish port.
Ron Segismundo, the youngest among the ALAB grantees is a BA Digital Filmmaking graduate of the College of St. Benilde. His fondness to influence people inspired him to use film as a medium to positively affect people. This young artist is inclined to be a public servant. When asked if he has plans to run for a position, his immediate answer is a witty grin that affirms the thought.


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