Asia

The First Reel: a Philippine Film Festival in Berlin

The Philippine Embassy in Berlin teamed up with the Philippine Studies Series Berlin to promote Philippine studies in Germany

November 23rd, 2016
Dominika Vozarova, Berlin Global
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The First Reel is the first festival of Philippine films to be held in Berlin. The non-profit, six-day event in November will showcase three feature-length films and five shorts by Filipino filmmakers. Each evening’s screening is followed by a Q&A or roundtable discussion with an array of actors, filmmakers, producers, and film scholars, as well as members of the Filipino community in Germany.

The Philippine Film Festival in Berlin premiered with Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil´s film about the healing power of music, kindness and friendship. The screening of “Boses” (Voices) in Berlin was graced by one of Philippine cinema´s premiere actors, Mr. Ricky Davao, and the 2008 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival entry was warmly received by an appreciative audience at Kino Moviemento in Berlin, the oldest running movie theater in Germany.

The First Reel was the first festival of Philippine Films in Berlin, which aimed to contribute to the international promotion of Philippine cinema. The festival was organised as a collaboration between the Philippine Embassy in Germany, the Philippine Studies Series Berlin and the Kapisanan ng mga Pilipino sa Aachen, e.V. Philippine Studies Series Berlin (an initiative of Filipino scholars in Berlin to provide a platform for lectures, discussions, and film events regarding the Philippines in order to promote Philippine studies in Berlin). Kapisanan ng mga Pilipino sa Aachen e.V. is a Filipino organization in North Rhine Westphalia. It is the aim of the The First Reel to contribute to the international promotion of Philippine cinema, which has been garnering global acclaim in the past years, and to provide an insight into the complexities of the human condition as exemplified by the various stories of Filipinos told through the medium of film.

The first screening of “Boses” was followed by a panel discussion on “Southeast Asian Cinema in the Global Arena”, which was moderated by film scholar and professor of media theory at Hochschule Mainz, Mr. Tilman Baumgaertel. The producers, film scholars, film enthusiasts, and artists discussed the state and future of Southeast Asian cinema in the region and in the global stage. The second screening of the same film was followed by a Q&A and meet and greet with Mr. Ricky Davao.

The Series, formed in December 2014 by anthropologist Rosa Cordillera Castillo, is an initiative of Filipino scholars in Berlin to provide a platform for lectures, discussions, and film events regarding the Philippines, in order to promote Philippine studies in Berlin and Germany. The First Reel festival founder and organizer is Lola Abrera and is curated by filmmaker, Trinka Lat.

The six-day event showcased four full-length films, which included Dan Villegas´ “English Only Please”, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo´s “Ang Huling Cha-cha ni Anita”, and Jerrold Tarog´s much acclaimed “Heneral Luna.” The festival also included five short films – Rina Tsou´s “Chicharon”, Sari Estrada´s “Asan si Lolo Me?”, Trinka Lat´s “April Fools”, Martika Ramirez Escobar´s “Pusong Bato” and Chris Costello and Mihk Vergara´s “Ang Maskot.”

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