International film fest on political, rights films takes stage in run up to APEC

November 9, 2015

2nd AGITPROP film fest hosts Philippine premier of award-winning films, documentaries

By ST eXposure

Quezon City – Award-winning films about social justice movements and human rights in many parts of the world are slated to headline the 2nd AGITPROP International Film Festival on Peoples’ Struggles to be held in Quezon City on November 11-12, 2015 at UP Diliman’s Institute of Biology Auditorium. To highlight the festival are two documentaries by acclaimed filmmaker and director Joshua Oppenheimer.

His debut feature film, The Act of Killing (2012) exposes the genocide of thousands of suspected communists, ethnic minorities and intellectuals by Army-backed Indonesian death squads in 1965, which came to be a symbol of unprecedented impunity in the country up to this day. It was nominated in the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and has won some 72 international distinctions including the European Film Award 2013, BAFTA 2014, and Guardian Film Award 2014 for Best Film.

The Look of Silence (2014) meanwhile won five awards at the 71st Venice Film Festival and has received the nod from the Danish Academy, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, and the Berlin Film Festival, among many others. In this companion piece, the film bares stories of survivors and their families amidst years of silence and injustice.

Another award-winning documentary to be featured in the festival is Land Between (2014) by Australian director David Fedele. With unique and unprecedented access, his documentary provides an insight into the lives of sub-Saharan African migrants living in the mountains of northern Morocco, dreaming of jumping the highly-militarised fence into the Spanish enclave of Melilla, for a “better life” in Europe. The documentary won best documentary at the FIFE International Environmental Film Festival 2014 (France). Meanwhile, Thai director Kunnawut Boonreak documented the story of Rohingya refugees in the Burma-Thailand border in, Michael’s (2015).

AGITPROP will feature a total of 15 films comprised of full-length documentaries and short features from both local and foreign filmmakers including multi-awarded director Jun Lana with Barber’s Tales, Linda Hoaglund and returning filmmaker Iara Lee. Hoaglund’sANPO: Art X War is about the Japanese resistance to U.S. bases seen through the eyes and works of celebrated Japanese artistswhile activist/director Iara Lee and team chronicle the lives of both Pakistani porters and Nepalese sherpas in, K2 and the Invisible Footmen (2015). The film depicts the everyday sacrifices of porters and the courage of those indigenous climbers who choose to return to scale K2 in spite of past tragedies. This will be the Philippine premiere of the documentary.

Also in the lineup are local short and feature documentaries such as Pangandoy, Naglalahong Pamana and Pakot focus on the plight and struggles of the Lumads and indigenous peoples in defense of their ancestral lands and culture and against militarization and human rights violations.

Set to close the festival is a retrospect on the life and struggles of real-life revolutionary Teodoro Asedillo in Celso Ad. Castillo’s 1971 Fernando Poe Jr. classic, Asedillo.

Festival director and Southern Tagalog Exposure (ST eXposure) coordinator Carmela Lagang explained that aside from promoting the interest and struggles of the oppressed sectors around the world, the festival also seeks to support films committed to social movements and social change.

“It takes the role of giving a much needed venue for films and filmmakers that dare present social realities that are often silenced and confused by the dominant modes and channels of information,” added Lagang.

The name of the festival takes its inspiration from the educational/cultural campaign in the Soviet Union during the 1920s after the October Revolution, when films became effective tools for arousing and educating the masses. AGITPROP is being organized by the ST eXposure, along with other Philippine-based multimedia and cultural groups AlterMidya and Pinoy Media Center and co-presented by Artists’ ARREST, CONTEND-UP, STAND UP-College of Mass Communication and Republika Katagalugan. CAMIRA-Philippines is also co-presenting the U.P. Manila leg of the Festival.

AGITPROP is being organized alongside two international events to be held also in November here in the country – the International Festival of People’s Rights and Struggles (IFPRS) and the International Assembly of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS).

The ILPS is an international organization promoting freedom and democracy, which at present includes more than 350 member organizations from over 40 countries. The IFPRS, on the other hand, is an initiative of ILPS member organizations to give venue for the exchanges between sectoral groups around the world on issues of human rights, livelihood, welfare, women’s rights, arts and culture, and social justice, among others.

Both events seek to forge a stronger and broader solidarity among organizations and individuals in the struggle to advance and defend the peoples’ genuine democratic rights and aspirations throughout the world. #

MEDIA COVERAGE IS REQUESTED.

For more information, contact Apple Martin, 09177500033.
Festival Website: http://agitpropfilmfest.wordpress.com/

Reference: Carmela Lagang, Festival Director