Asian Society Phil Exec. Dir Harvey Keh said, “We are seeing here a lot of new political happenings in the region. Of course we are all familiar with the Scarborough shoal problem we see in the news today. This just goes to show that there is a very important need for understanding between our neighbors. Given that this is the Asian century, of course we’d like to create cooperation and unity between Asian people.”
Free screenings of critically acclaimed Asian films can be seen at Shangri-La Plaza, from May 17 to 21 at the Shang Cineplex. “The Asia as Our Society Film Festival” is organized by the Asia Society Philippine Foundation and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). Film entries from China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and of course, the Philippines, will be screened during the festival.
The festival brings more than just entertainment according to Keh, “Through film this is what Asia Society tries to do. We hope to be able to educate fellow Filipinos about the intricacies culture and values of our Asian neighbors. It is sad that most Filipinos know more about the U.S. and other European countries. But not so much of our Asian neighbors that we share so much commonalities. Actually some of us share common heritage among these Asian neighbors.”
The Asian Festival aims to duplicate the success of Cine Europa in being able to collate films from a big group of countries. It has become a yearly tradition for film auteurs and fans to go to Shang Cineplex for the free screenings every August. Incidentally the French film fest will also be seen in June also in. Shang Cineplex has earned the reputation of hosting the most prestigious international film fests including the upcoming French Film fest this June.
Asia Society Program Officer Ayie Zerrudo said, “We at Asia Society see Shang Rila not just as a destination or a venue for the film festival but as a patron of culture and the arts. Shang Plaza is the same as what we stand for. We are very thankful to Shang Rila for partnering with us for the Asia As Our Society film festival.
Zerrudo explained the mission of their organization, “It was founded in 1956 in New York but has since then expanded to other offices across Asia. Here in the Phil our office Asia Society Philippine Foundation also aspires to develop and strengthen good relations between the U.S. and the Asia Pacific region. But more specifically we aim to strengthen the relationship between Asian countries.”
FDCP Exec. Dir. Teodoro Granados also talked about their other programs that will foster international cooperation through film, “By June we will be hosting a symposium at the PICC. We have invited all of the film commissioners of ASEAN to come to the summit. It’s a symposium Michael Lake of Pinewood studios will be giving a talk. There will also be a board meeting of the AFC Net, Asian Film Commissioner’s network. We’ll have delegates coming from as far as Kazakhstan, all over Asia, China, Japan, Korea and ASEAN. It will happen from June 26-28.”
Japan likewise showcases the best of its film creations in the series. “Wanko: The Story of Me, My Family and My Dog” on May 19, 5:30pm, takes on the story of the Noyama family, who lives in the small island of Miyakejima, as they are forcibly evacuated from their home when Mount Oyama violently erupts. “Éclair” on May 20, 3pm, follows the story of orphan Akio, as he goes through life without parents at the onset of the war.
Japan Foundation Program Coordinator Roland Samson said, “The films are based inspired by real events, docudrama. There’s a documentary film that was produced with this project. It’s their way of giving back to the world after the outpouring of support that Japan has received. They produced several films and even a series of activities like concerts, plays, and festivals.” Jude Bautitsta