Posted by: annpeace | February 2, 2010

Sinulog Film Festival 2010 and Eskrimadors

Watching the short film Pangandoy (First Leap Productions, a Allan Layaguen film) on the big screen at the Sinulog Film Festival 2010 Awards Night last Saturday made me really proud, I could not help it, I cheered. Even prouder to see the works of our very own Visayan filmmakers.

My favorite in the film fest was Kurtina nga Pula (which won the 1st Place Best Short Film) by Remton Zuasola. It immediately reminded of the short story Burgundy which had a strong impact on me from the first time I got to read it.

In Kurtina’s shortness and simplicity (of only two characters, a voice over from the telephone, a bathroom and a bedroom, the red curtain), it delivered an ordinary message of the miracle from a child, from the daughter, maybe with her Pa, ingon ka dili duwaan ang kurtina ni Mama (Papa, you told me not to play with Mama’s curtain)…from the Sto. Niño, well yes (the cloth covering the statue fell and woke the child, this was not noticed in the film, it was only related to us by Remton later). Its ordinariness made it not ordinary…it was surprising and unforgettable.

A distraction for me though, was the dubbing as sometimes, it would sound like Bro (ABS-CBN’s primetime TV series, May Bukas Pa) talking. Or perhaps, it is intended to be such for the surreal feel.

On Eskrimadors

Eskrimadors simply made me say, it could happen. Making a world-class Cebuano/Visayan film is very possible. Actually, the Saturday that was made me believe more of the possibility. One shot, just one shot and we’re off to the dawning of another Golden Years of Cebuano and Visayan Film Industry…just like in the ‘50s.

On eskrima and the documentary itself, my friend said, it is glamorizing violence and it is not something historical or cultural. I had deleted his message so I could not directly quote his words. Just visit his blog: because he has a lot to say there.

I only had a chance to tell him that we cannot change the history of eskrima being violent as it involved death matches. But human history as a whole was barbaric even. And our origins as Filipinos (before we were “civilized” by the Spaniards) show so much of our brutal past. We had bolos, swords, spears, bows, and arrows as tools and weapons for survival.

In the first place, that is why eskrima is a sport now. The eskrimadors chose not to use it in violence anymore, but against violence…and of course, for the sake of preserving this truly Cebuano martial arts which is, sadly, dying.



  1. this is with respect to your posting on the Eskrimadors movie:

    We, here, in the United States are enthusiastic about the possibility of a brand new film on the Filipino martial arts (FMA). Other than documentaries by the BBC and the recent American cable TV programs that featured the FMA in a single episode, this is the only project that shows an extended and interesting point of view about the beautiful art of arnis.

    You should note that the FMA is extremely popular in the United States and Europe but is not perceived with any significant importance by our kababayan. This is regrettable as some of us who practice FMA and are of Filipino descent, are now beginning to realize that as the worldwide popularity of FMA continues to expand, that mythologies are beginning to take root, some of which are absolutely inaccurate and does a disservice to our culture.

    Filipinos are generally known to be accommodating to a fault with an extreme demureness and humility towards Westerners. This quality, I believe, is one reason that is driving these myths and may cause our culture to be completely co-modified by non-Filipinos. Take the case of non-Filipinos who transform themselves into Grandmasters of the art form, sometimes overnight, who go on to lead their own interpretations of the FMA and who are openly changing their training to suit Western predilections. Nothing wrong with this at all, however, it is annoying that their interpretation includes misconceptions about the art form, misspellings, mispronunciations, misinformation, etc… These outfits become successful in Western countries because there is not an authentic point of view within the country or region in which these organizations operate. Sometimes these systems become the standard in that region. If Filipinos don’t speak out about this type of thing, then the art may possibly become the property of Westerners.

    Additionally, I want to call attention to the current condition of many masters of the FMA in the Philippines who often times resort to a form of busking in the streets in order to make a living — and a hard living at that. Nothing is mentioned about their plight in the American FMA systems — most of the Westerners are unaware or, worse, apathetic to their plight. Some enthusiasts go to the P.I. for instruction but could give a rat’s ass about the struggles of the Filipino arnis player back home. This is sad.

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I am aware that it did make it’s world premiere in Cebu City, the perceived center of FMA by the Western world. When it finally hits the USA, I’m sure that there will be tremendous interest for this movie not just by FMA practitioners, but other martial artists and if the story is compelling and unique, by the general public who find action movies like Bourne Identity, Taken and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon appealing. This is much needed positive exposure, not just for the FMA, but for the Filipino culture in general.

    Mabuhay mga Pilipinos.

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