September 23, 2023 | 2:09pm
MANILA, Philippines — An annual project of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Tingin Southeast Asian Film Festival resumes its physical screenings after a virtual migration due to the global pandemic.
Tingin is the country’s longest-running and only film festival dedicated to Southeast Asian cinema. It aims to strengthen the ties between Filipinos and their neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region through the medium of film.
“NCCA’s Culture and Diplomacy Program remains committed to projects which familiarize the cultures and cinemas of Southeast Asia to Filipino audiences. We hope to enrich the cultural vocabulary of Pinoy moviegoers, especially film students and the youth, one Southeast Asian film at a time. This year, we are beyond thrilled that Tingin will have three media platforms — cinema, online and television — on which to showcase the region’s best films,” said Mariel Nini, officer-in-charge of the Sentro Rizal International Cultural Affairs Office of the NCCA.
Dubbed “Swipe Right: Southeast Asia in Love,” the sixth edition of Tingin returns to the Red Carpet of Shangri-La Mall. Short film selections will be aired for free on Vimeo from September 29 to October 1, as well as on SolarFlix from October 7 to 8.
“This year’s Tingin pries open the region’s conventions and the modern reinvention of relationships. While some believe that romantic love merely reinforces oppressive relations and reactionary values, it has the potential to be a liberating force. The festival this year gathers films that explore the complex experience of love and which ultimately celebrate its redemptive power,” said festival director Maya Quirino.
The filmfest opened with the BL-themed movie “Gameboys” from the Idea First Company. Translated to a motion picture from a series with the same title, the film version still stars Kokoy de Santos and Elijah Canlas.
“It was difficult to shoot during the pandemic. All of us had to undergo the required RT-PCR testings before any shoot was done. We also had a medical officer with us on set to make sure we followed the protocols. The movie was shot a year after the series aired. We were together for two weeks, but shot the movie in nine to 10 days. We have one language of love, no matter the gender. This is the first BL-produced movie in 2021 for mainstream cinema,” shared film director Ivan Payawal during the talkback after the film screening.
Apart from “Gameboys,” this year’s movie lineup includes “Yuni” (Kamila Andini, Indonesia), “Touch” (Pham Linh, Vietnam), “Bangkok Department” (Thailand), “Sunrise in My Mind” (Danech San, Cambodia), “Perhaps That Elephant is Still Asleep” (Yoeng Kuok Hong, Malaysia), “Evening Clouds” (Myanmar), “Atrophy” (Brunei Darussalam) and “Tuktuk of the Fifth Kind” (Lao PDR).
On the other hand, Nelson Yeo of Singapore leads the lineup of short film selections with his entry, “Here is Not There.” Yeo recently bagged top prizes at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland for his film “Dreaming and Dying.”
The sixth edition of the Tingin Southeast Asian Film Festival runs until Sunday, September 24, at the Shangri-La Plaza Red Carpet Cineplex during mall hours. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis.
RELATED: Cinema Rehiyon XV, Unity Dance, regional festivals