An Indonesian film was announced the winner for best Asian feature film in the recently concluded Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival in General Santos, southern Philippines.
BW Purba Negara’s Ziarah won best Asian feature film besting eight other entries.
The jury, composed of stage and film actress Fe Virtudazo-Hyde and Filipino filmmaker Raya Martin, cited the film for “a powerful story about storytelling, a humble yet immensely affecting approach to the stories that embody us through life, and its prism that echoes from its death. It is a film about the search for closure of an old woman, by piecing portraits that tell a love story, its history, and the power of storytelling in reincarnating the essence of a life.”
A Jury Special Mention was awarded to The Dog by Lam Can-zhao of China “for a film that takes us into a glimpse of lives in modern society through an unlikely perspective, carried through assured yet subtle shifts in the language of showing.”
Boneca de Atauro: Searching for Lost Love by David Palazon won best Asian short film. The film from Timor Leste bested eight other entries “for its unique and playful storytelling brimming with magical optimism that gives a different kind of cinematic expression yet at the same time brings to the fore its political importance in a country at the threshold of a new future.”
Meanwhile, Igme at Gani by Jhayle Ann Meer won best Filipino short film. The best Philippine short was unanimously selected “for its simple yet sophisticated storytelling that refuses to succumb to nihilism, offering a refreshing look at a national issue. It has a very Filipino sensibility yet also speaks a universal language, something that even transcends Philippines’ Southeast Asian counterparts.”
Mindanao cinematographer McRobert Nacario, actor and documentary filmmaker Perry Dizon, and BW Purba Negara served in the short films jury.
The festival also hosted the Film Criticism Workshop in partnership with Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival with the support of The Japan Foundation Asia Center. Noted international film critic Chris Fujiwara was mentor of the four-day workshop which was participated in by aspiring film critics from Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan.
Aside from the workshop, young Mindanao filmmakers participated in the Mindanao Screen Lab to learn the craft of filmmaking and story pitching. The mentors included Filipino directors Sherad Anthony Sanchez, Eduardo Dayao and Raymond Red, and Japanese documentary filmmaker Sakai Ko. The five-day workshop was supported by the Forum Civil Peace Service/forumZFD and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Founded in 2013, Salamindanaw is the only international film festival in southern Philippines which is garnering a reputation as an important platform of emergent talents in Southeast Asian cinema.
The Festival ran from November 7 to 13 with 80 films in competition and exhibition sections.
(Featured photo is still from Indonesian film Ziarah by BW Purba Negara, which won the Best Asian Feature at the recently-concluded Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival in General Santos City.)