Pandayang Lino Brocka Political Film and New Media Festival (PLB) poster

The 2022 Pandayang Lino Brocka Political Film and New Media Festival and Christmas blues in showbiz

May I be personal about the 14th Pandayang Lino Brocka Political Film and New Media Festival?

Although it’s over, its relevance is very pressing in the light of disinformation, trolls and fake news prevalent in media especially in socmed.

Pandayang Lino Brocka, abbreviated as PLB, is one film festival which reeks with progressive films on reel truth telling and documentation of the real socio-political situations in the country. Even the cultural realities are captured on films which subscribed to the tenets of the eponymous event as a tribute to the late director.

I can safely say I was and still part of this fest.

I remember in 2010, the second year of the event held at the UP Cine Adarna, my short doc film “Dumagat” was one of the finalists.

“Dumagat” was a foray into the indigenous peoples (IPs) of Infanta, Real and General Nakar, Quezon who used theatre as a platform for protest against the threats of destruction of their ancestral domains. The documentary film presented the protection and preservation of these ethnic people of their culture and traditions in the mountains of the Sierra Madre.

Although my entry wasn’t chosen as a major winner in the festival I felt proud and honoured by PLB’s mere recognition of my creation. It was a testament that I passed the acid test of being chosen as a finalist in the prestigious film event.

After its PLB stint I re-edited the whole doc and entered it at the 1st ASEAN Documentary Filmmaking Contest whose announcement I saw at the former Nation Broadcasting Network, now People’s Television Channel 4. 

Plainly, I just thought the contest was to be held in the Philippines only to find out that the Vietnamese government was the host of the competition when I received a call from Hanoi that my film was one of the finalists sponsored by its government.

Hanoi sent me a two-way ticket and hotel accommodation for the duration of the festival.

I was proud to be the lone rep of the Philippines to the search which was won by Anderson E of Malaysia. Other entries were from Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei Darussalam etc.  

In Hanoi, I met my future filmmaking mentor, Korean Cho Pockrey who was one of the members of the jury. “I find your film very sincere even if some of my fellow jurors didn’t like it. I like your film very much,” Cho exclaimed after the award night.

After that, Cho was already in touch with me advising on what to do with my filmmaking. 

It signalled the start of my doc filmmaking adventure.

I hope this year’s PLB, its 14th, would produce more sensible and brave filmmakers in the gathering of

of students, amateur and independent filmmakers and film collectives. According to its press briefs, PLB was organized in the hopes of finding a new generation of filmmakers following the footsteps of Brocka, one of the greatest filmmakers in the Philippines.

Said PLB Festival Head Rafae Mendoza, “this year’s festival is not just to raise consciousness on the political situation of our country and look for new Lino Brockas, but this is also a tribute to the namesake of the festival, Lino Brocka.” The group, Tudla Productions, conducted a special program during the festival to honor the life and works of Lino by a special screening of his “Bayan Ko: Kapit Sa Patalim.”

“We screened Bayan Ko Kapit sa Patalim in the film fest on its 25th year anniversary. Now we feel that sharing this film with Filipino audiences today is very timely, with the return of the Marcoses in Malacañang, no less than the dictator’s namesake son, the rising prices vis-a-vis low wages of workers,” Mendoza added.

Brocka directed the film penned by Jose F. Lacaba. The film used different real-life events intended to show the inherent corruption in government.  It was named after the patriotic song “Bayan Ko,” which was the protest song after Ninoy Aquino’s assassination in 1983. In 1984, the censors found their claws on the film, delaying its showing and having all rally scenes deleted as well as the title song. Sex scenes from Manila’s live shows were also ordered deleted before it was released. Brocka had to smuggle the film out of the country to bring it to Cannes in 1984. The film got nominated for the prestigious Palme d‘Or and caused an uproar internationally when Brocka announced the film was censored back home.

In addition to film screenings, a forum about the central theme “Fight for Our Future” was mounted and participated in by speakers from Anakbayan Metro Manila, Martial law veterans, and other key delegates.

“We always make it a point to conduct these forums during the festival to raise the consciousness of the festival’s audience and encourage them to create their own films that are relevant to society,” he added.

The film screenings and forum was held from November 18, 2022 in UP Manila Theater.

After the festival at the University of the Philippines, Pandayang Lino Brocka will be brought to other schools, workplaces, urban poor and peasant communities.

The 14th Pandayang Lino Brocka Political Film and New Media Festival was organized by Tudla Productions in partnership with the U.P. Manila–University Student Council, UP Manila–League of College Student Council, Anakbayan Metro Manila, National Union of Students of the Philippines—NCR, College Editors Guild of the Philippines–NCR, Kilusang Mayo Uno–NCR, Urban Poor Coordinating Council, Sining Bugkos, UGATLahi Artists Collective, BAYAN–NCR, Nilad, and Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Harbor Center.

Meanwhile, when another twenty five year franchise was denied by Congress to ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation for the operation of its free TV Channel 2, most of the network’s artists were deprived of work, especially the lowly ones.

Popular stars were still given spaces in ABS-CBN’s various platforms, online, Ultra High Frequency (UHF), cable system such as the Community Antenna Television of CATV or shared Very High Frequency TV like TV5 and Zoe Broadcasting Company or Channel 11 it wasn’t as big as the magnitude of the Star Network.  

But still ABS-CBN stars and its Star Magic signed up talents are mostly sought after and they never fade.

Although in recent Christmas party tendered by the network to its stars, Star Magic Lauren Dyogi lamented. “Pagkatapos ng mga pagsubok, asahan ninyo, mas maganda ang Pasko natin (After all these challenges, hopefully, our future Christmases will be merrier),” Lauren exclaimed. 

Compared to a lot of poor Filipinos, Christmas of ABS-CBN stars will still be memorable and happy, especially for Piolo Pascual or Angel Locsin despite the current state of the station’s fate. 

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