Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival challenges Filipino electorate: Exorcise historical amnesia!
To mark the commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the People Power Revolution, the Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival opened its 4th edition with the screening of the film, EDSA XXX by renowned avant-garde filmmaker, KHAVN, last February 24, Wednesday, 6pm at the Cinema 4 of Shang Cineplex, Shangri-La Mall, Mandaluyong City.
“30 Years after EDSA, has nothing really changed?” “Are we better off now than we were before?” Active Vista explores this recurring question through a political satirical musical dedicated to “Filipinos who know how to live for love of freedom and liberty”.
With the theme, “truth X imagination”, Active Vista dares to inspire a revolution of the mind and hearts of Filipino audiences by bringing together human rights and film, advocacy and art, and empowerment and entertainment on the big screen. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the historic EDSA People Power Revolution, the film festival goes wider and deeper, putting human rights education at the forefront as it holds screenings from February 24 to 27 across public theaters in Metro Manila, Dumaguete, Davao, Iloilo, and Cebu.
According to its Festival Director Leni Velasco, “There is nothing more timely than opening this festival on the eve of the 30th Anniversary of the People Power Revolution in this month of love. EDSA, after all, was born out of love – love for freedom, for liberty, for country, for every fellow countrymen. We hope to spark and rekindle that same love again among the Filipino public especially among the youth by presenting these films that will disturb or inspire them to explore social truths.”
The film, EDSA XXX, takes us forward to 2030, the year of the 30th EDSA revolution to post the question, “Have you ever wondered why nothing changes despite countless presidents?” Here the answer is given in the form of an absurdist cross between low-budget science-fiction musical and crazy political satire. In the film, we see a three-eyed new leader, mermaids in blue leggings, and Freedom Fighters disguised with shopping bags. This is not a film by KHAVN.
“Cinema is not there to be pleasant. It is there to stir, disturb, provoke, to punch the status quo instead of one’s time card, to stop the hiding behind sterilized, anesthetized, spineless art and calling it a fearless struggle for change. Cinema is a rupture and a revolt — a daily, hourly, minutely questioning of what’s right and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, until the profane becomes the sacred. The profane is the sacred”, Khavn in a statement said. Most recently, Khavn made headlines by performing a 13-hour live piano film scoring. He set the record for the longest film concert as he unveiled his 13-hour autobiographical film “SIMULACRUM TREMENDUM” at the 45th International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Active Vista Festival Director, Leni Velasco, explained, “Who else can pull off 13 hours of live piano film scoring? No one else but Khavn, bringing the unimaginable to reality as always. EDSA XXX is the most fitting opening film for Active Vista not only because of the obvious but also more importantly because we want to shake the audience with a film that is both absurd and true. The power of cinema lies on its ability to mirror and hammer society and tap into our consciousness. And sometimes, it is in encountering the imaginary that social truths become amplified—this is ‘Truth X Imagination’. “
The Festival Opening marked the start of the yearlong program, which brings human rights themed films to schools and communities nationwide. Active Vista utilizes cinema first, as an educational platform to discuss and shed light on the importance of knowing and asserting human rights; and second, as a tool for empowerment and bringing about relevant social change.
For the Festival Opening, Active Vista presents screenings of Jun Lana’s Barber’s Tales on the 25th and Pepe Diokno’s Kapatiran on the 26th, also at Shangri-la. Ara Chawdhury’s Miss Bulalacao, meanwhile, goes to Dumaguete on the February 25 and shall make a homecoming in Cebu on the 27th with back-to-back screenings at Robinsons Movieworld. Pepe Diokno’s, Engkwentro, will be screened in Iloilo while Chuck Gutierrez’s Iisa goes to Davao. Three internationally acclaimed foreign films, The Missing Picture by Rithy Panh, Citizenfour by Laura Poitras, and Margarita with a Straw by Shonali Bose, will be shown on February 27 at the UP Film Center.
“Street artist, JR, once said, ‘What we see changes who we are’. This Active Vista seeks to remind the public especially the younger generation who may not fully understand yet the importance of the EDSA Revolution that truth is both in the obvious and the obscure. The problem is that we, as a nation, have become afraid of the truth because it is a reflection of who we are and the society we built”, Velasco explained.
“And the truth is – we commemorate EDSA every year because 30 years ago, the nation saw truth and acted on it. The truth is 30 years after, we have forgotten this truth because we have been facing other truths as well, truths that we live with every day of our lives – the truth in the face of children living in the streets; of a mother whose child has disappeared; of women sexually abused or trafficked; of people discriminated because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; of families torn apart by the need to look for greener pastures abroad; of workers living on deplorable working conditions; of parents who can barely provide food in their family’s tables; of farmers suffering from the impacts of climate change; of commuters losing their productivity and dignity in the horrible traffic situation; of public servants who makes corruption a sustainable living, of this May 2016 elections where the changes in leadership means nothing to ordinary Filipinos; of a government who has failed to live up to the promise of EDSA”, Velasco further discussed.
“But truth, no matter how ugly, no matter how difficult, needs to be seen. Because it is only in acknowledging truth that we are liberated and are empowered to transform it. This Active Vista hopes to be that undertaking – a platform to exorcise historical amnesia and usher this new generation into an understanding of the true essence of EDSA. The power of art is its ability to change perception, to change how people view the world. Active Vista inspires to do so through cinema, one viewer, at a time”, ended Velasco.
Active Vista invites audiences to experience “truth X imagination” at the Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival this February 24-27, 2016. For screening schedules, check out http://www.activevista.ph
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