October 22, 2020
“Festivalization” is a word that does not exist, so I am hereby proposing to lexicographers, or the people who make dictionaries, to enter the word in their product’s next edition.
It’s a term that is credited to arts, culture and entertainment circles in the Philippines where it has become a habit to “festivalize” their group undertakings. They call their clustered projects “festival” to reflect the projects’ grandeur, complexity and seasonality.
In Thursday’s column, I delved on the series of events lined up by the office of the president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) billed as Sining Sigla. The event’s name seems to be hesitantly billed as a “festival” because it’s not a tradition for the CCP president to have specific projects anchored from his/her office.
Well, a few days after the Sining Sigla virtual media launch, it was the turn of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) to hold its first virtual mediacon to launch its three-month long event dubbed “Festival of Windows 2020: Locked but Linked.” It will “proudly showcase creative works and unafraid expressions about Filipino’s stories of triumph and survival,” said the Peta press kit.
Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino
Wednesday afternoon (23 September), amid thunderous rain, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chair Liza Diño-Seguerra announced that the government agency will hold its annual Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino from 31 October to 14 November, but only in the way festivals and awards night are these days: online.
On 30 September, the FDCP will hold another online event: the closing ceremony of the one-year celebration of Philippine Cinema Centennial. That’s also when the film agency will formally launch the program Philippine Cinema: The Next 100 in preparation for the “one hundred first” year of Filipino films.
In the online mediacon, no one remembered or bothered to ask if Liza is still dreaming (aching?) to take over the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), or if she would in any way be involved in it despite her being sacked from the MMFF executive committee.
Liza announced the funding that FDCP provides to Filipino filmmakers in various stages of production: from script development, principal photography, post-production and marketing — including connecting with Netflix and similar screening platforms.
The FDCP even provides financial assistance to co-productions with foreign companies, she said.
Oh, as for the films to be screened at the forthcoming PPO, she said the FDCP will call another virtual conference for it.
Festival of Windows
The first component of Peta’s Festival of Windows is done by this time. Sulyap Kabataan Playlist ran from 19 to 26 September.
It was a platform for both teachers and young artists to meet, learn, collaborate and share creative work. It featured online roundtable conferences on theater education and the role of young artists in the “new normal” online mini-workshops and lecture discussions on the different fields of theater making, and a culminating program featuring the creative outputs of Peta’s participants and partners from various cities and provinces like Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Pampanga, Infanta, Antique and Bicol.
The second component, 3G, Connect! Community Arts Festival — Online will be held on 10, 11 and 17 October. It will feature keynote and inspirational messages from partners, guests and celebrity artists.
It will also showcase performance outputs developed by community partners from on-ground and online workshops, as well as performances by Peta, PhilPop and other surprise guests.
The third component, Start: A Quest to Find Our Safe Space, will be held on 17 to 22 November.
Peta’s positive discipline campaign program, the Advocate Right to Safety Zone for Children (ARTS Zone), takes the spotlight with Start.
ARTS Zone recognizes the worsening poverty and economic decline as factors in the increase in the number of children being abused during the pandemic, and thus shifted its Positive Discipline Day to an online sub-festival featuring webinars, workshops, and performances.
It is a creative synergy of, for and by children and the youth that highlights positive discipline, and child safety and protection.
The final component is KE-POP: Kalinangan Ensemble Performers Overcoming a Pandemic, to be executed 23 November to 10 December.
Capping the online multi-arts festival is Peta Kalinangan Ensemble’s annual tradition of the Peta Laboratory.
“In this platform, we’re trying to create stories that resonate with the times, but we’ll also be introducing our actors and the people behind Peta that give a face to what we do as artists,” said artistic director and Peta laboratory director Maribel Legarda.
“This is a tribute to the artists — their capacity to be creative and resilient,” she said.
For two weeks, Peta will stream a collection of short and full-length plays online. This will include fresh and exciting new works that will focus on the vast theme of humanity and human rights, plus a collection of past theater performances, beloved classics, adaptations and musical hits.
So, that’s how the “festivalization” of arts, culture, and entertainment will happen in the Philippines in the last quarter of 2020 — which, I’m sure, we’re all hoping to be the one and only year we have to “festivalize” living with Covid-19.