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Film festival, songwriting competition give zing to PH literature celebration

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National Literature Month is currently being observed by virtue of Proclamation No. 968 signed on Feb. 15, 2015 by then President Benigno Aquino III. It aims to recognize that “Philippine literature, written in different Philippine languages, is associated with the history and cultural legacy of the State, and must be promoted among Filipinos.”

(Clockwise): Liza Diño-Seguerra, Film Development Council of the Philippines chairperson; Aiza Seguerra, National Literature Month ambassador; Virgilio S. Almario, National Commission for Culture and the Arts chairman, Noel Cabangon, Organisasyon ng mga Pilipinong Mang-aawit representative; Scenes from 'Smaller And Smaller Circles'; 'Ang Larawan' and 'Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa?' (mb.com.ph)

(Clockwise): Liza Diño-Seguerra, Film Development Council of the Philippines chairperson; Aiza Seguerra, National Literature Month ambassador; Virgilio S. Almario, National Commission for Culture and the Arts chairman, Noel Cabangon, Organisasyon ng mga Pilipinong Mang-aawit representative; Scenes from ‘Smaller And Smaller Circles’; ‘Ang Larawan’ and ‘Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa?’

As part of the celebration, the National Book Development (NBDB) has partnered with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in screening films adapted from literary works or that focus on Filipino authors or literature.

These are “Ang Larawan (The Portrait),” “Smaller And Smaller Circles,” and “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? (Kid, Kid, How Were You Made?)”

“Anatomiya Ng Korupsiyon (Anatomy Of Corruption),” “Sayaw Ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa,” “Sa (At) North Diversion Road,” “Dahling Nick,” and “Respeto (Respect)” are also part of the lineup.

With the overall celebration theme “Pingkian,” the film screening will coincide in the 9th Philippine International Literary Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on April 19 and 20.

“We are so honored to be part of this celebration. Over the past years, simula ng pinagtibay namin ang partnership ng FDCP with the NCCA, marami nang proyekto ang aming nailunsad at ngayon nga po ay tungkol sa pagpapalawig ng ating kaalaman tungkol sa literatura sa pamamagitan ng iba’t-ibang medium tulad ng pelikula,” FDCP chairperson Liza Diño-Seguerra said.

Liza revealed panel discussions will take place after the screening, this as part of their effort to widen the viewer’s knowledge and understanding on the matter. Books related to the films will be sold at the book fair.

“With the panel discussion, magkakaroon ng in-depth na pagtalakay tungkol sa naging journey ng mga pelikulang ito at kung bakit ito ang napili nilang libro para isapelikula,” she said. “Hindi naman lang dito sa ating bansa nangyayari ito, it’s trending all over the world. We also hope na through this effort, ma-enlighten din ang ating mga authors to take advantage of this opportunity… na maisapelikula ang mga obra nila at maka-reach pa ng mas maraming audience.”

A short film competition dubbed “Bayani-han 2018 Bayani sa Panitikan” was announced last March 30. The program aims to encourage the youth (ages 13-18) to promote the local literature in their communities through film.

Winners will be announced on April 20.

‘On fire’

Also present at the media call was Organisasyon ng mga Pilipinong Mang-Aawit (OPM) representative Noel Cabangon.

The organization has also partnered with NCCA and NDBB in celebration of the National Literature Month through “Timpalak Kundiman 2018.”

The musical competition seeks to stimulate the traditional practice of writing and singing the classical form of Kundiman—with the 3⁄4 time signature—by way of engaging contemporary artists.

Deadline of submission is on April 30. Mechanics and requirements for the competition can be viewed on NCCA’s official website.

“Sa aking palagay, ito ang unang pagkakataon na nagkaroon ng timpalak sa pagsulat ng mga Kundimang awitin,” Noel stated. “Ang OPM ay kaisa ng bawat ahensya ng gobyerno sa pagpapalawak ng literatura gamit ang sining ng musika. Kami po sa OPM ay lubos na sumusuporta dito at nangangakong gagawin ang lahat upang makapaghikayat ng interpreters para sa mga mapipiling finalists.”

Another expected highlight of the celebration of the NLM is the presence of London-based Filipino writer Elaine Castillo and the local release of her debut book “America Is Not In The Heart.” She will participate in a panel discussion with literary luminaries Glenn Diaz, Kristine Ong Muslim, Kristian Sendon Cordero, Liza Magtoto, Rody Vera, Genevieve Asenjo, MJ Cagumbay Tumamac, and Clarissa Militante.

Graphic novelists Manix Abrera, Mervin Malonzo, Elbert Or, and Carlo Vergara, as well as book designers Karl Castro, Ige Ramos, and R. Jordan Santos will tackle opportunities, challenges, and trends in the industry.

NCCA chair Virgilio Almario explained this year’s NLM theme.

According to him, “pingkian” means “Tagisan, tunggalian, away (conflict) but the old meaning of the word is that of rock which can create fire.” It was also the pen name of the writer-revolutionary hero Emilio Jacinto. Thus, the theme.

National Literature Month ambassador Aiza “Ice” Seguerra hopes this event will help encourage the youth to be more aware about the Filipino literature amid changing times.

“Aminin naman natin na medyo challenging talaga ngayon. Nu’ng kabataan ko napakadaling magbasa ng libro, ‘yun ‘yung mga panahon hindi pa uso gaano ang cell phone,” he said. “Ang mga programang ito sana’y magsilbing daan upang maibalik ang kagustuhan ng mga kabataan na magbasa, gamitin ang teknolohiya sa tamang pamamaraan. Ma-encourage sila na mas magkaroon ng appreciation sa ating mga sining.”

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