MANILA, PHILIPPINES, MAY 26, 2021 — The Philippines is among the 10 countries with a project in the 2021 edition of La Fabrique Cinéma de l'Institut français in Paris, France, a film lab of the Cannes Film Festival.
The country is represented by “Dancing the Tides” by regional filmmaker Xeph Suarez from Zamboanga City. The film project from Mindanao joins the elite selection of projects from Gabon, South Africa, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, India, Afghanistan, and Egypt.
“Dancing the Tides” is a project in the 1st Southern Voices Film Lab (SoVo Lab) of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), which the national film agency established in 2019 to add to its initiatives for championing regional cinema such as organizing training sessions and supporting various local film festivals. SoVo Lab aims to create a platform for Mindanaoan filmmakers to enhance their skills and share their unique stories to the rest of the Philippines and the world.
“From SoVo Lab, among others, to Cannes' La Fabrique Cinéma, it is amazing how ‘Dancing the Tides’ has been making strides here and abroad. This proves that regional films have the potential to shine and make waves in local and global cinema,” said FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño.
The feature project was selected for First Cut Lab Manila 2019, also supported by the FDCP, as well as for the Pustnik Screenwriters Residency 2020 and Ties That Bind 2020. In 2019, Suarez was a delegate to the Southeast Asia Fiction Film Lab (SEAFIC) Open House for the same project.
The first feature film of Suarez is about Astri, a Muslim transwoman living in bliss with her boyfriend Tambulah in their conservative community. As Astri turns 16, her father reminds her that as a “man,” she must honor their tradition by marrying the girl betrothed to Astri.
“Dancing the Tides” is the feature version of Suarez’s short film “Si Astri maka si Tambulah,” which won Best Director and Jury Citation at Cinemalaya 2018 and was screened in international film festivals such as Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia and Tampere Film Festival in Finland.
Produced by Alemberg Ang of Daluyong Studios, “Dancing the Tides” received a development fund worth PHP 100,000 from SoVo Lab. Suarez was among the participants in consultations with local and international filmmakers through a series of film labs that will culminate with the SoVo Lab Pitch Showcase.
“What an honor to be included in the program with these amazing film projects from around the world. Here’s hoping we can travel to Festival de Cannes to present our project there,” commented Ang in a Facebook post.
La Fabrique Cinéma, which will be held from July 6 to 17, offers personalized support for first or second film projects, and invites the directors and producers of the selected projects to the Cannes Film Festival so that they may link with various partners and develop a professional network.
With its upcoming edition, La Fabrique Cinéma continues with its goal to enhance young talented filmmakers from emerging countries such as Suarez and Ang so that they may increase their global exposure and build on their international community networks.
In 2016, La Fabrique Cinéma provided the same opportunity for the filmmakers behind “Whether the Weather is Fine” directed by Carlo Francisco Manatad and produced by Armi Rae Cacanindin. The Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) drama has received various international grants, including financing worth 130,000 euros from Institut français and Aide aux cinémas du monde (France’s World Cinema Support).
Banner photo courtesy of Daluyong Studios
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