by Noel Galon de Leon, UP Visayas
Over the past eleven years, CineKasimanwa: The Western Visayas Film Festival has firmly established itself as the preeminent regional film festival in the country. Beyond its distinction as the lengthiest regional film festival, it stands as a testament to endurance with a month-long film screening. Commencing in December and extending until January for its Dinagyang Leg, the festival not only showcases local films in Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, and Aklanon but also presents a diverse array of films from across the globe. In essence, CineKasimanwa emerges as a beacon of inclusivity in the country’s film festival landscape, providing a unique platform where the creative expressions of local filmmakers seamlessly intermingle with those from diverse corners of the world.
On December 22, 2023, the film festival kicked off with an opening screening held at SM City Iloilo, featuring a selection of the competing films, including Modyul, Modyul Lang by Maria JC Emmanuelle O. Momblar, Inunga-unga by Doxford D. Perlas, Tanan nga Makita, Kag Indi Makita by Glydel Beatisula, Tigbatas by Vincent Montano, Pag-ulikid by Seb Valdez, Gugma by Mary Grace Sta. Cruz, Sa Bilog nga, Kahon by Marcelo A. Tolentino, Nalipatan Mo Na ‘Ku’ by Relwen Clyde Magbanua, Blindfolds by Jomark Limpus, Mga Aningal sa Tagu-angkan by Rovic Lopez, and Bilog ang Bulan by Tin Velasco.
Headlining this year’s festival is the celebrated film John Denver Trending, directed by Arden Rod B. Condez, a filmmaker from Antique. The film, awarded Best Film at Cinemalaya 2019, commands the spotlight as the festival’s opening feature. Director Kyle Fermindoza underscores the film’s significance, emphasizing its central theme that investigates prevalent issues of bullying and suicide, which persistently resonate. Fermindoza passionately advocates for addressing and ultimately eliminating these societal challenges, emphasizing that they offer no constructive contributions to our community at large.
For the Dinagyang Leg of CineKasimanwa, happening from January 17 to January 31 at UP Visayas Cinematheque, films from various parts of the world are being showcased. Some of the featured films include Remnants by Dhanraj Barkote (Nepal, Spain), The Exceptional Pot by Ein Gil Randall Camuñas (Philippines), Sariling Gunita by Mark Daniel De Castro, The Best Day in my Life by Semih Sağman (Turkey), Beneath the Surface by Charlie Peter McGovern (Australia), Travelers by Dennis Empalmado (Philippines), Velo Gang by Alex Kälin (Switzerland), Sa Dhang Nabulabog Ang Tanan (The Day I Messed Up) by Redh Honoridez (Philippines), Hindi Kita Malilimutan (I Will Never Forget You), by Vahn Leinard Pascual (Philippines), Leaving the Raver’s Nest by Mina Cruz (Philippines), Pogrzebanie (Burial) by Jerzy Czachowski (Poland), Cooking with Love by Delfin Castillo (Philippines) Dilemma by Carolina Ceca (Japan, Spain) The Currency – Sensing 1 Agbogblsohie Elom 20ce by Musquiqui Chihying and Gregor Kasper (Germany, Ghana)榴槤芭 (Durian Trees) by Cheun Shi Chin (Taiwan, Malaysia), Broken Dreams: Stories from the Myanmar Coup by Ninefold Mosaic (Myanmar) Twisted Dolls by Kimi Crisotomo (Philippines), Da’im or: The Sound that Mother Makes When Her Babies Break by Kuda Box and Yahshiyya (Philippines), Temporarily Removed by Dotan Goldwaser and Yoav Brill (Israel), A Nightcare on Elm Street by Michael Marie and Anthony Légal (France), Hutik sang mga Kuliglig (Whisper of Cicadas) by Luke Ageo Pascua del Castillo (Philippines), and Super Alaya by Earvic Noay (Philippines).
Meanwhile, the films scheduled for January 24, 2024, include Modyul, Modyul Lang, Sa Tanan nga Makita nga indi Makita, Tigbatas, Pag-ulikid, Gugma, Sa Bilog nga Kahon, Nalipatan Mo na Ku, Blindfolds, Mga Aningal sang Tagu-angkan, and Bilog ang Bulan. And on January 25, 2024, the films will be Palette of Her, The Night of Silver and Gold, Ang Pagharana ni Alon Kay Tadhana, Kasikas sa Ganiha ug Unya, Mandy, Sheephead, La Vendetta, and The Third Eye.
Throughout the last eleven years, CineKasimanwa has unquestionably solidified its position as the haven for countless regional filmmakers and their cinematic works. Director Elvert Bañares, the visionary behind it all, affirms that CineKasimanwa is not merely confined to Western Visayas but stands as a welcoming abode for filmmakers nationwide who aspire to narrate compelling stories reflective of their times. Bañares emphasizes that this film festival is a community-driven initiative, designed by the community and for the community.
This year’s CineKasimanwa and its Dinagyang Leg aims to carve out a significant space in the awareness of Ilonggo moviegoers, introducing them to the narratives of some of the world’s finest and most courageous storytellers from various corners of the globe. The overarching goal is to enrich our understanding of events unfolding beyond our immediate surroundings and constituency while not losing sight of our own identity, voice, and culture.
For more detailed updates on the current film festival, please visit the Facebook page of CineKasimanwa: The Western Visayas Film Festival.