JP Saniel's documentary to open Mindanao filmfest
by RG Alama
Davao City (3 December) -- A charity screening of John Paul Seniel's documentary "Amuma: hands for nobody." which was an entry to the recent New York Independent Film and Video festival will open the first Mindanao Film festival this coming December 4, Sunday at the Gaisano Mall Cinema 4.
The documentary which deals with children with autism studying at the Autism Intervention Center in Bangkal is currently gunning for best documentary film/video in New York along with three hundred other entries from different countries like the United States, Japan, Nicaragua, South Africa and Yugoslavia.
Last November the documentary together with a critically acclaimed Japanese documentary film; "A Silk Cocoon" was screened at the Village East Cinema in New York's 12th Street.
Seniel, a television News Reporter working for the local GMA 7 newscast, is a active independent filmmaker with two short films that have gathered awards in local film festivals.
Seniel's first venture; "Torture" won best picture, best screenplay and best direction awards in the first Guerilla Film festival in 2003. In August 2005 one of his short films "Tandog sa Barrio Sanghay" won best picture, best screenplay and other major awards in the Puting Tabil Kadayawan Digital Film festival.
In 2004 he was commissioned to direct a documentary about autism. His film Amuma, which in Cebuano language means care, was screened at the 2nd Guerilla Film festival. The documentary producers then financed Seniel's documentary to be entered into the prestigious New York Independent Film and Video Festival.
Out of the more than 1000 films submitted to the film festival from around the world, only 300 were chosen as finalists, one of which was Seniel's documentary which was shot n Mini-DV.
According to Seniel, he received a letter from the festival's panel of jurors informing him of the rave reviews that his film has gotten A rare honor for a 100% Davao-produced film.
Now Davaoeños will get to watch the critically acclaimed documentary again at the opening gala of the first Mindanao film festival.
Seniel's film will open the first ever gathering of Mindanao filmmakers which would hope to showcase the potential of a sustained independent film scene in the island, one that would show a different Mindanao free from stereotyped biases and prejudices in the silver screen.