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PIA Press Release
2005/12/14

Award-winning Mindanao short film earns raves, praises

by RG Alama

Davao City (14 December) -- For showcasing the story of a Muslim mother caught in a conflict during the Government's all-out war in central Mindanao. The short film Kasila that swept all but one award in the 3rd Guerilla Filmmaking awards has earned raves from critics and fellow filmmakers.

"Technically superior, ang ganda ng pagkagawa" said Sunshine Matutina, a Manila-based filmmaker known for her short film "Panaginipan" which was a finalist in the recent Cinemalaya Independent filmfest. "It really stands out" said the female filmmaker who is also one of the jurors in the Guerilla Filmfest.

Shot in Barangay Ilian in Carmen, North Cotabato, Kasila tells the story of a peaceful Moslem village devastated by the all-out war. Meriam, the film's protagonist loses her husband and son in the ensuing carnage, trying to rise from the tragedy she together with the rest of the displaced villagers learns to cultivate Kasila or Chilis pepper as a means of livelihood. The lowly chili pepper thus becomes a symbolism of hope to a people devastated by war.

For Milo Tolentino another Manila-based filmmaker noted for his short film Alimuom, a finalist in the recent Cinemalaya Film fest. The film's strongest point was the use of the Maguindanoan Moslem dialect in the script.

"Pag-ipapalabas mo sa Maynila, I'm really sure ma-no-notice mo talaga iyan. Especially that ang ganda pala pakinggan ng dialect na iyan." (If you show it in Manila, I will be sure it will be noticed, especially that when you hear the dialect, you will realize how beautiful it is.)

The two filmmakers also raved about the superb technical production of the film.

"The Cinematography was really good. The filmmakers really know how to shoot their films" said Tolentino who once worked as an apprentice cinematographer for ABS-CBN's Star Cinema.

So impressed was the two filmmakers that they advised Minland Productions, Kasila's production team, to waste no time in submitting it to a film festival in Manila.

"Kung may film fest sa Maynila, ipadala niyo na agad." Said Matutina, who could not hide her admiration for the film during the Festival's filmmakers forum.

"We are trying to re-edit the film, it still has its rough edges, because we were trying to meet the deadline for the film festival, if ever we will submit it to film festivals we still have to re-edit it," Said Sherwin Desierto, the film director said.

Matutina and Tolentino together with fellow juror renowned movie director Peque Gallaga were pleasantly surprised at the superior quality of the film.

Mindanao Land Foundation, a Kidapawan-based Peace Advocacy Non-Government Organization, produced Kasila, which won the Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Direction and seven, other major awards in the Guerilla Filmmaking Festival.

The film was aimed as a vehicle to highlight the stories of internally displaced people caught in the crossfire between the government forces and the Moslem secessionists. (PIA) [top]

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