IN this time of digitalization when it comes to the creation of blockbuster movies, why not try to explore the purity of silent movies?
It was in 1919 when the first Filipino silent film entitled “Dalagang Bukid” was made and shown in the country made by Filipino filmmaker Jose Nepomuceno, enshrined as the “Father of Philippine Cinema.”
But pretty soon, Philippine cinema became more enamored with the “talkies” movies. After all, who would watch a movie with just running pictures and no sound except for the music and no words heard from the actors.
Fortunately, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) decided to reintroduce the era of silent films to today’s generation of Filipinos by making these films a significant part of the upcoming International Silent Film Festival Manila 2021 (ISFFM), to be held from November 24 to December 3, 2021, which is now on its 15th year.
From December 1 to 3, 2021, these dates will be dedicated to the screening of nine short films produced with the very first edition of the FDCP’s “Mit Out Sound International Silent Film Competition.”
The competition will feature nine Filipino filmmakers worked who worked with nine film composers to produce nine short silent films to make that bold step to showcase Philippine silent filmmaking talent in this year’s ISFFM. The shorts and their filmmakers are as follows:
“Ang Tatlong Hambog” by Sari Katharyn
“Ing Tianak” by EJ Gagui and Marienel Calma
“Alingasngas Ng Mga Kuliglig” by Vahn Leinard C. Pascual
“Ang Pagsuyo sa Paru-Paro ng Gabi” by Racquel De Guzman Morilla
“Dikit” by Gabriela Serrano
“Ha-Ha-Hambog” by Kate Torralba and Jopie Sanchez
“I Need More Than Tofu and Other Vegetables” by Hector Barretto Calma
“Putol” (The Cut) by Nikolas Red
“Ang Pagdadalaga Ng Dalagang Bukid” by Jose Carlos Soliongco
But the much-awaited event, no doubt, is the grandiose opening ceremony of the 15th edition of the festival. which will be held on Wednesday, 24th of November at 4:30 pm at the newly renovated Manila Metropolitan Theater, Manila’s architectural Art Deco gem built in the midst of the Philippine “Silent era.”
The invitational opening ceremony, hosted by the Japan Foundation, Manila will be followed at 5:20 pm by the screening of 雄呂血 Orochi (Serpent), a 1925 action film by Futagawa Buntarō that will be live scored by Munimuni band. This is cine-concert in pre-COVID style in-person but in keeping with the health restrictions in force.
With the exception of the opening day, the program of this ISFFM’s 15th edition that includes screenings and international round table webinars will be entirely accessible online from the 25th of November to the 3rd of December. Loyal to the very essence of the festival, all silent films will be scored with original music exclusively composed and performed by local bands and musicians.
On November 25th at 3:00 pm, Instituto Cervantes will screen Carceleras (José Buchs, 1922), followed by the first panel discussion at 5:00 pm that explores the theme: How To Watch A Silent Movie, featuring speakers presented by Spain, Italy, and Japan. The Philippine-Italian Association will cap the day with a screening at 7:00 pm of the silent film Pinocchio (1911) directed by Giulio Antamoro.
On November 26th, at 3:00 pm, the British Council in the Philippines will screen Dr. Wise on Influenza (1919) commissioned by the Ministry of Health. The panel discussion at 5:00 pm will be about the Restoration and Reinventions in Film Archives presented by speakers from the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Philippines. Goethe-Institut Philippinen concludes the second day with the screening of Das Wachsfigurenkabinett / The Waxworks (1924) directed by Paul Leni and Leo Birinski.
On November 27th, at 3:00 pm, The Embassy of France will screen The Foreman followed at 5:00 pm by a masterclass that explores the History of Silent Films in the Philippines presented by speakers from the Philippines. At 7:00 pm, The Japan Foundation, Manila closes the third day with the screening of 雄呂血 Orochi (Serpent) (1925) directed by Futagawa Buntarō.
From November 28th to November 30th all films will be available “On-Demand” on the FDCP Channel (https://fdcpchannel.ph).
The Festival will culminate with a closing night of the ISSFM2021, and the awarding ceremony for the best productions of Mit Out Sound.
The 15th International Silent Film Festival Manila is organized by the Japan Foundation, Manila, the Philippine Italian Association, Instituto Cervantes de Manila, the Goethe-Institut, the British Council in the Philippines, the Embassy of France, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, in partnership with Embassy of Italy, the Embassy of Japan, the Embassy of Spain, the Manila Metropolitan Theatre, the National Commission on Culture and The Arts, Ortigas Cinemas, Absolut Mediem, Cineteca di Milano, CNC, Alliance Française, BFI, Filmoteca Española and Matsuda Film Productions.
For more information on the schedule and inquiries, please check this Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/InternationalSilentFilmFestivalManila.