Negros Occidental

Negros Occcidental film fest by the sea continues promoting local heritage after 5 years

Erwin Delilan

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Negros Occcidental film fest by the sea continues promoting local heritage after 5 years

MOVIES. The scene during the 5th Margaha Film Festival live showing and judging by the sea on February 27 at the Margaha Beach Resort, Barangay Old Sagay.

Sagay City Information and Tourism Office

Aside from its venue by the shore of Margaha Beach Resort in Barangay Old Sagay, north of Bacolod City, what makes MFF unique is that the featured films include elements of Sagay's cultural heritage

BACOLOD, Philippines – Seven films produced mostly by homegrown talents showcased this year’s 5th Margaha Film Festival (MFF), the trailblazing cinema event by the sea, which concluded on February 28, in Sagay City in Negros Occidental.

Aside from its venue by the shore of Margaha Beach Resort in Purok Bougainvillea, Barangay Old Sagay, 80.1 kilometers north of Bacolod City, what makes MFF unique is that the featured films tackle stories with elements of Sagay’s cultural heritage.

This “twist,” so to speak, has hailed the MFF “as one of the best local government-sanctioned ‘artsy’ initiatives in the country.”

Helen Cutillar, Sagay’s information and tourism officer and, MFF director, as well, said the entries were produced, directed, and starred by 70% Sagaynons and 30% Negrosanons from the nearby localities on Negros Island.

This year’s MFF, themed “Sine Singko,” raised its curtains on February 26 with entries shown by the sea shore for the two-day jurors’ screening.

The awarding ceremony was on Wednesday, held fittingly during the culmination of Arts Month.

Trini Garcia’s “Taga-Taga,” (praying mantis) was declared this year’s champion and pocketed the P30,000 top prize. Garcia opus tells the story of a girl who faces moral dilemma after having a romantic encounter with a “playboy,” who later ushered her to other boys.

Mery Grace Rama-Mission’s “Mananguete,”  and Thirdy Macam’s “Bang, Bang, Bang Patay Kana, Patay Kana” were first and second runners-up, respectively.

Adult, Female, Person
“The Maestro”: Nunelucio Alvarado,.Negros most respected, prized and legendary visual artist, the main behind MFF with the mission to empower the grassroots thru the power of arts.

“Mananguete” (tuba gatherer) tells the story of a father who struggles, racing against time just to carve out a brighter future for his son by collecting tuba every day. It won P20,000.

“Bang, Bang, Bang Patay Ka Na, Patay Kana,” which took home P15,000, is the tale of a child who was fascinated by a glimpse of a Tagalog action film that slowly devoured him from reality.

The MFF judges were National Commission on Culture for the Arts (NCCA) head of National Committee on Cinema Butch Ibañez, anthropologist  and  FDCP chair for the Manunuri ng Pelikula Tito Valiente, film maker-and-director Arden Rod Cortez and international actress Chai Fonacier, with two local panelists – Rod Florentino and Kenneth Ian Rivera .

MFF’S seven film entries are being showing until March 8, Friday, on Film Development Council of the Philippines channel: Juanflix.

Artist, film critic, and sitting Negros Museum director Tanya Lopez on Saturday lauded Sagay for having an anual MFF which, she said, “contributes to the development of the film literacy and encourages (local) film makers to keep on improving their crafts in different areas of film productions.”

Lopez, also the “power” behind  “Sine Negrense,” an annual film festival by the Negros Museum, told Rappler that, “Filmmaking is an effective way of preserving local stories and that the MFF highlights the culture and creativity of Sagaynons.”

Cutillar, on the other hand, said MFF is Sagay’s “utang na loob” to its homegrown visual artist, the legendary Nunelucio Alvarado, known here as “The Maestro”.

MFF, Cutillar sais, is Alvarado’s “brainchild” aimed at celebrating one of the seven disciplines of arts, which Sagay is “weak” – and that’s film.

Alvarado, said Cutillar, really wants MFF to be a  powerful tool in promoting Sagay thru films by way of raising awareness about the city’s culture and heritage.

Likewise, Alvarado, wished to empower the grassroots by embracing the “magnificient power” of arts.

Sagay, billed as Negros’ champion on environmental protection and preservation with its world-renowned 32,000-hectare Sagay Marine Reserve (SMR), is the only local government unit in Negros Occidental that has a film festival by the seas duly supported by both NCCA and FDCP. –

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