Five years after its first incarnation, the Ngilngig Film Festival has evolved into a dynamic entity at once capturing the visions of scores of filmmakers from all over the world and becoming a playground for the imaginations of many. Not bad for a regional effort to promote the art form and introduce stories into a larger consciousness.
The festival has already began, weeks before the festival dates that begin Oct. 25, with a film camp held in the city. In fact, some of the films that will be screened in various locations in the city, such as the Cinematheque Davao Centre, as well as alternative spaces here, were products of the film camp according to festival organizers.
TIMES resident film critic Jay Rosas says there will be 11 films under the international category, while there are 18 films made in Asia.
Thirteen films come from the Philippines, as well as five experimental exhibition titles.
There are 10 films screened as part of the Ngilngig film camp, and another 11 are full lengths.
The festival returns with a selection of 57 short films and a wave of extraordinary full-length features from countries like China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Spain, Canada and the US. Opening the festival is the epic period drama “Masla A Papanok” by Gutierrez Mangansakan II and the Bontok folktale short film “Tokwifi” by Carla Pulido Ocampo.
Organizers describe the festival as an “expansion of horizons.”
The festival began in Davao City as a horror genre festival, eventually evolving into its current form as a first of its kind in Southeast Asia.
“The festival serves as an opportunity for
local and international filmmakers to promote and preserve their own myths, history, and culture in cinematic form.”
“Ngilngig”, or its derivative “ngiga” (from ngilngiga), has been more commonly used by the Bisaya-speaking population to refer to something that is “kuyaw” (awesome). But the word originally refers to something that elicits horror or alluding to the macabre.
The Ngilngig Asian Fantastic Film Festival Davao 2019 is organized by Pasalidahay with Balud Art Network, Micromedia Digital Video Productions, Timewrap Film Productions and The Panagtagbo in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Green Windows Dormitel, Hager Travel & Tours and Cinedashery. The festival is also co-organized by Holodeck Productions, Road Map Series, PUKAW, Track, and Davao Graphic Designers Community.
This year’s Ngilngig Asian Fantasic Film Festival Davao will feature an extraordinary selection of 57 short films from all over the Philippines, Asia and beyond. Films from Japan, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei will be featured in the Asian section while the international section will showcase films from all over the world including Spain and the US.
The festival stands to be an exciting art festival held this month in a busy art month in this corner of the country. At five years old, the festival is aging well, already making the pages of film journals and international publications.
But organizers say that the festival is enjoying its natural progression as a living, breathing entity, ever open to change. We don’t expect anything less from this kind of festival. We won’t be surprised if it grows horns and fangs, disembowels itself or transforms into something else in the process, or growing scales, perhaps a carapace. It already is.
Photos by Rap Meting