Philippine Cinema, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019, has a lively history rooted in the struggles and aspirations of its movie-crazy nation and that has had its golden ages, as acknowledged in the major 2018 MoMA retrospective, A Third Golden Age: Philippine Contemporary Cinema. The film series Visions/Panawin will focus on selections from this artistic and cultural treasure house, starting this April through the end of the Spring semester 2022.
One of the most distinguished companies that have sprung up in the current, internationally-acclaimed surge of Philippine indie films is TBA Studios, born of a vision by its founder, businessman Fernando Ortigas, to leave a cultural legacy to the country. This past April, Panawin focused on four films from TBA Studios. Online links to each film and individual bulletins containing curatorial commentary and film information (including links to interviews with the the filmmaker and/or behind-the-scenes features) can be found on Sulo’s Vision/Panawin page at https://wp.nyu.edu/spsi/film-series/.
Sulo: the Philippine Studies Initiative at NYU and NYU KJCC coordinated with TBA Studios to ensure that each film was available on the free YouTube TBA Channel.
Full schedule and more information at https://wp.nyu.edu/spsi/spring-2021-program/
A note from the curator
It may not be too well known outside the international film festival world where Philippine cinema is currently a major player, but the Philippines, the world’s 12th most populous nation, has a huge film industry that was at some points producing over 200 films a year for a movie-crazy public.
The industry marked its 100th anniversary in 2019 and has had its boom and bust cycles as well as its artistic golden ages which the Museum of Modern Art referenced in the title of its major 2018 film retrospective: “A Third Golden Age: Philippine Contemporary Cinema.”
Film is one of the favorite art forms that each generation of Filipinos have turned to in efforts to distill, reinterpret, and re-envision their arduous history that has included clan wars, Spanish and American colonization, revolutions bloody and famously peaceful, integration and resistance, corruption and heroism, and the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly intertwined, digitally-driven world that depends on the Philippines as one of its global call-center hubs.
Ferdinand Magellan and his expedition came upon the archipelago and attempted to claim it for Catholic Spain in 1521 but died in the Battle of Mactan against its local chief Lapu-Lapu. Nevertheless, the groundwork was laid that in 1565 started 333 years of colonization permanently infusing and saturating the Filipino character in ways inimical, progressive, corrosive, edifying, and explosive.
Visions/Panawin, a film series focusing on Philippine cinema will be hosted by New York University’s King Juan Carlos Center through its Sulo: Philippine Studies Initiative programs marking the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s landfall in the Philippines
The series will start in April this year with the spotlight on one of the remarkable independent film companies that have sprung up in the current Third Golden Age of Philippine Cinema to challenge the dominance of the country’s behemoth film studios, the source of an endless spate of brain-deadening romcoms, fantasies, and action movies. It is mostly these intrepid indie producers that have roused the curiosity and attention of cineastes around the world in the wealth of the Philippine cinematic heritage.
Visions/ Panawin will pay tribute to TBA Studios, the upstart indie film outfit born of a vision by its businessman founder Fernando Ortigas to leave a cultural legacy for the country. The series will consist of a weekly, film-in-focus and curatorial bulletin released by the KJCC with direct links to TBA Studios’ free YouTube Channel. We will be coordinating the series schedule with TBA as it rotates the films available on its channel.
KJCC is proud to highlight the premiere offering of the Panawin series, Women of the Weeping River, written and directed by Sheron Dayoc, a powerfully and exquisitely told story of two women who try to break free of the centuries-old clan warfare in southern Philippines. This will be Panawin’s film in focus from April 9 to 15 . It will be followed by three more weekly films-in-focus through April and early May.
Panawin will continue in the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters with films from all three Golden Ages of Philippine Cinema that will be available to the NYU and King Juan Carlos Center populace. These specially curated films will screen at the KJCC auditorium subject to the progress of the pandemic. They will otherwise stream VOD in two-week increments on a password-protected special streaming platform.