What you need to know about the Active Vista Human Rights Festival 2017
Ramona Diaz’s documentary film Motherland opened and premiered at the 5th edition of the Active Vista Human Rights Festival of the activist organization DAKILA on November 23.
On the same day, the exhibit "Moving Pictures: Artists for Human Dignity" was held, featuring powerful photos “of stories of struggle for human dignity” by photojournalists and visual artists.
Among those in the audience at the Shang Cineplex of Shangri-La Plaza mall were young people, artists, media, academics, and representatives of civil society, the government, and the diplomatic community.
The opening film – which was shot entirely in the overcrowded maternity facility Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital – “explores the plight of millions of Filipino women as they deal with childbirth and motherhood… It also sheds light on the ongoing debate around the country’s controversial Reproductive Health Act.”
The documentary won the Jury Prize for Commanding Vision at the Sundance International Film Festival, and was also the only Filipino film to be showcased at the Berlin International Film Festival this year. Filmmaker Diaz is also known for her documentary film Imelda.
What is Active Vista?
DAKILA – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism – is a group of activists (artists, students, and individuals) who work together to creatively spark social consciousness towards social change or transformation.
Active Vista – a learning center for human rights education – was initially established as a human rights film festival in 2008. It was “designed as a platform for the public to learn more about the importance of freedom and human rights.” The festival has since “traveled to universities in key cities nationwide, screening socially-relevant films” followed by discussions on the human rights issues tackled by the films.
This year’s edition, however, has been expanded to include not just film screenings, but theater performances, an art exhibit, talks, creative workshops, and a concert to celebrate International Human Rights Day as well.
This year’s theme, says Active Vista Executive Director Leni Velasco, “is truth and awakening. Like the women in [Diaz’s] film, our country is on the edge of birthing.”
“This edition of Active Vista comes at a very challenging time, when there is an overwhelming attack on human rights and dignity; that the mere mention of the [phrase] ‘human rights’ invites not only fear, discomfort, mockery, and cynicism, but also animosity and alienation… At this time, when democratic spaces that protect our human rights are under attack and when false news, historical revisionism, and alternate truths are used to drown our rights and freedoms, this festival is a weapon that builds an army of advocates that will defend human rights on line and on the ground,” Velasco said.
“The 5th edition of Active Vista takes us into a new journey as it sheds light on visions and versions of truth towards a tempestuous awakening of a generation that responds to the call of the times.”
“Human dignity is intrinsically linked with the concept of ‘human rights,’” said a statement issued by DAKILA. “[It] is used to signify that all human beings possess intrinsic worthiness and deserve unconditional respect, regardless of age, sex, health status, social or ethnic origin, political ideas, religion, or criminal history.” Member states of the United Nations, thus, “are obliged to affirm that human rights are ‘derived from the inherent dignity of the human person,'” the statement added.
HUDYAT Artists for Human Dignity was formed in March 2017 as a group of artists who put the spotlight on the abuse of human dignity “amid the spate of summary and extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.”
According to its brochure, Active Vista has been mounting "Moving Pictures" since 2008 for public awareness, discussion, and education because it recognizes “the universal power of the photographic image as it relates to truth and accessibility.”
What makes "Moving Pictures" a viable platform for social issues that affect society are – among other things – the capacity of the photographic images to move a person to think critically and act; translate easily from print to digital format; and be transferred from one location to another.
According to a press release issued by DAKILA and Active Vista, “The photographic exhibit… celebrates the triumph of human dignity as captured by the lenses of participating artists.”
The exhibit further “celebrates the triumph of humanity amid the surge of a social storm drowning freedom, tearing human rights and dignity.”
The participating photojournalists and artists are AG Sano, Efren Ricalde, Eloisa Lopez, Geloy Concepcion, Hannah Reyes Morales, Jes Aznar, Luis Liwanag, Nana Buxani, Neil Daza, Nikki Luna, Raffy Lerma, Ricky Rocamora, Veejay Villafranca, and Xyza Bacani.
The exhibit is being toured to the Manila campuses of the University of the Philippines and the University of Makati.
Dates to remember
The festival started on November 22 and will end on December 10. Among the activities for the rest of the festival are:
- Screenings of independent films at 6 pm at Cinema Centenario, 2/F, 95 Maginhawa Street, Teachers’ Village, Quezon City (at P150 per ticket):
- Ditsi Carolino’s Bunso, Wednesday, December 6
- Raymond Red’s Himpapawid, Thursday, December 7
- Pepe Diokno’s Enkwentro, Friday, December 8
- A special screening of Treb Monteras’ Respeto at the UST Educational Auditorium at 1 pm on Wednesday, December 6.
- A bike ride, Padyak para sa Karapatan (Bike for Human Rights), from 5 am to 5 pm on Saturday, December 9.
- Alab ng Puso – an art and music festival that celebrates International Human Rights Day via “a myriad of performances, exhibits, and events as platforms for public involvement in the Human Rights cause” – at 4 pm (to 12 am), on Saturday, December 9.
To know more about the festival and its schedule, visit activevista.ph, e-mail email@example.com, check out its Facebook page at facebook.com/activevista, or call 09151780240 or (02)4354309. – Rappler.com