Filed under: philippine cinema
The 5th Annual Southeast Asian Cinemas conference takes place from Tuesday to Saturday this week in Manila, with the theme “States of Independence”. ‘State’ here is meant in the sense of condition. That’s Kidlat Tahimik’s bamboo camera in the jazzy poster above, by the way.
I’ve always looked back fondly at the first Southeast Asian Cinemas Conference (held in NUS in Singapore in 2004). On a shallow level because it was the first event outside of the Philippines in which I was invited to speak, more significantly because it was the occasion where I first made the acquaintance of several people I now have the pleasure of calling friends.
Included among those present were filmmakers Ho Yuhang (who had just finished the TV feature Min), Tan Chui Mui (before she made A Tree in Tanjung Malim) and Lulu Ratna (of the Indonesian Boemboe distribution), scholars Antonio Sison (who has written extensively on the work of Kidlat Tahimik), Rolando Tolentino (former director of the UP Film Institute with an interest Filipino cinema, pop culture and politics), Katinka Van Hereen (scholar on Indonesian Independent film), Hassan Muthalib (walking memory bank of Malaysian cinema) and Khoo Gaik Cheng (conference intiator, professor, writer on Malaysian culture), Marie Le Sourd (working at the time for the cultural arm of the Asia-Europe Foundation), Yuni Hadi (new co-director of Singapore International Film Festival, then Programmer Manager of the Substation) and, briefly, Tan Bee Thiam (for whom the Asian Film Archive was still a modest idea at the time, if one at all).
It was at that first conference as well, where the idea to start Criticine took shape (it went online a year and a half later).
The Southeast Asian Cinemas Conference has become an annual affair since then, traveling each year to another major city in Southeast Asia. From Bangkok in 2005 to Kuala Lumpur in 2006, from Jakarta in 2007 to, now, Manila in 2008.
It’s been with great pleasure (and a modest degree of stress!) that the local organizing committee comprised of Rolando Tolentino, Kiri Dalena, Bono Olgado, Tilman Baumgärtel, Mervin Espina and myself have put together this years conference. And we’re a little proud of what is in store.
A new element to the annual event is the screenings of films that will be discussed in the papers and panels of the conference itself (note: films will be screened from digital sources). The screenings will take place this Tuesday and Wednesday (November 18 & 19) at Ateneo de Manila’s Faura AVR and at Mogwai Film Bar in the Cubao Expo. Screenings schedule, complete with citation of the panel in which the film will be discussed, can be found here.
The conference proper will take place in Leong Hall in Ateneo de Manila University and begins Wednesday (November 20) morning with an opening presentation by Kidlat Tahimik, continues Thursday and Friday with paper presentations as well as panel discussions (with guests speakers Philip Cheah, Ben Slater, Armando “Bing” Lao, Lav Diaz, Jim Libiran and Khavn de la Cruz, among others), before ending Friday evening with closing remarks by Benedict Anderson, author of such books as Under Three Flags, Spectres of Comparison and of course, Imagined Communities. The conference programme in it’s entirety can be found here.
For those interested to attend you can register live at the venue. Please visit the conference website for more information or e-mail (aseacc08manila at gmail.com). And of course, you may visit the event’s requisite facebook page.
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