Quezon City, Philippines – In commemoration of the 48th Martial Law anniversary and amid the health and human rights crisis in the country, artist-activist collective DAKILA-Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, through its human rights education institution Active Vista, launches on September 19, Saturday, the 8th edition of Active Vista International Human Rights Festival (AVIHRF).
The AVIHRF is an annual event that celebrates rights, freedoms, and dignity through stories of human struggles with the use of film screenings, exhibits, performances, forums, and events. These aim to engage the public in discourses and conversations on human rights and democracy. With the theme “Walang Pipikit 360” (No One Blinks an Eye), this year’s edition of AVIHRF invites us to open our eyes, look closely, and pay attention to the worsening human rights situation in our country.
“This year, we witness our nation battle two pandemics. We are facing a COVID-19 crisis that rendered thousands of our countrymen jobless — dying because of hunger and the virus. And, we are also combating social ills seen in the blatant erasure and alteration of truth in more than 27,000 victims of state-sponsored killings, in the denial of our sovereignty, in the hailing and rebranding of a murderous and thieving dictator as a hero, and in the continuous sabotage of our struggles as a people,” shares DAKILA Communications Director Andrei Venal.
“In a time when our focus becomes blurry as a plethora of societal and political chaos surmount us, now more.than ever must our roles as witnesses and storytellers of truth and resistance remain,” he says.
Meanwhile, Active Vista Executive Director and DAKILA Secretary General Leni Velasco notes that despite how the government tries to suppress our freedom of expression and assembly in the guise of the pandemic, the annual festival perseveres.
“We have remained in a lockdown far too long – confined in our homes not only by the virus but also by the relentless attacks on our rights and freedoms. But despite the current context of the pandemic and the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines, the festival perseveres to pursue its mission by holding its 8th edition online this September 19-27 on virtual screening platforms, on social media, in meeting rooms, and in spaces where communities gather to foster deepened connections, cultivate creative action, and nurture transformative ideas to make meaningful change happen.”
AVIHRF features Viewpoints, a series of premium forums and dialogues that give a 360° perspective of our nation. It facilitates deeper conversations and forwards courses of action on important social issues: the country’s state of terror, the rise of demagogues and dictators, the persistent systems of disinformation and deception, and the empowerment of today’s youth.
A State of Terror forum officially opens the festival on September 19. Human Rights Watch researcher Carlos Conde, Senator Kiko Pangilinan, photojournalist Raffy Lerma, and sociologist Ash Presto will share their insights on the culture of fear and impunity blanketing the country today.
Demagogues, Despots, and Dictators shall commemorate the Martial Law declaration anniversary on September 21. Bantayog ng Mga Bayani member Iting Isberto; Free Legal Assistance Group chairperson Chel Diokno; writer, feminist, and activist Ninotchka Rosca; and other guests shall discuss Martial Law and how to cure our nation’s amnesia and apathy so as to #NeverAgain fall under a fascist regime in the face of creeping authoritarianism .
In partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation is Disinformation and Deception. Happening on September 25, the forum will dissect the DNA of disinformation here in the country. Sharing their insights are Meeko Camba from VERA Files, John Nery from Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mikael Co from the Liberal Party, and guests from student publications around the country.
Lastly, the Youth at the Forefront: Shaping the Narrative of a Nation forum will feature discussions and special performances to empower the youth to be the frontliners of building the future of the country.
20/20 (FILM SCREENINGS)
In 20/20, AVIHRF brings focus to narratives of different colors and stories at the margins of our sight to see the world in 20/20 — with an awareness of those in the peripherals, with sharpness and clarity of vision, with a depth of perception, and hopefully, through the lens of humanity.
This year’s screening includes 20 full-length films and 20 short films. Frontlining the film screenings are Lauren Greenfield’s The Kingmaker, James Jones, and Olivier Sabil’s On the President’s Orders, Alexander A. Mora’s The Nightcrawlers, Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck’s The Cleaners, and Lav Diaz’s Ang Panahon ng Halimaw.
PANORAMA (FESTIVAL EVENTS)
As a platform for for citizen-led actions towards bringing people together to reclaim public spaces online or offline, AVIHRF partnered with various organizations in Panorama to showcase a range of human rights-themed performances, exhibits, talks, and series of events to present an extensive and wide-angle view of creative pursuits and interventions as transformative tools to promote the human rights cause.
Partners include AKTOR PH – League of Filipino Actors, Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), Cinema as Art Movement, Green Papaya, Ibon Foundation, North Luzon Cinema Guild Inc., Binisaya Film Festival, Lost Frames, punk community, and other independent artists.
The festival will also hold another forum in partnership with the United Nations in celebration of the latter’s 75th anniversary here in the Philippines.
WALANG PIPIKIT 360
As our nation navigates towards the crossroads of new normals, the festival highlights the importance of new ways of seeing.
It calls on Filipinos to “[open] up new viewpoints of looking at human rights; to [zoom] into various narratives; to [weave] different lenses in discourses on human conditions; to [map] out panoramas of resistance; and to [bridge] visions of hope.”
“We invite you to go outside the frames, after the last pages of the news, and beyond the end credits of the films. We invite you to go beyond 240 characters, virtual meeting rooms, and daily feeds. We invite you to open your eyes a little wider, to focus a little bit sharper, to put on the lenses less taken, and revel in the bigger picture of our lives. We invite you to gaze full circle, to look at the world in 360°,” the festival statement concludes.
Precious Marie G. Gunayon
Public Relations Manager, DAKILA
0939 118 2374 | firstname.lastname@example.org
DAKILA – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism is an organization of artists, cultural and development activists, students, young professionals, and individuals creatively building a movement of heroism towards social transformation.
Active Vista Center is an institution established by DAKILA. It facilitates the learning process of empowering citizens to become agents of social change.
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