"Zamboanga" at Sineng Pambansa

Last February 23-25, 2011, Zamboanga City finally had the chance to host a film festival where activities all about film were held at the city. Indie films were screened for three days at the cinemas of Mindpro Citimall for free! Lots of students and movie enthusiast had the chance to watch indie films since the local cinema rarely screens them. The films included were "Halaw" by Sheron Dayoc, "Limbunan" by Teng Mangansakan, "Emir", "Concerto", "Sabungero", "Kano", "Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Bato", "Di Natatapos ang Gabi" and the classic 1937 film "Zamboanga". The event is called "Sineng Pambansa" which is an activity of the Film Development Council of the Philippines. They also have it in other cities like Iloilo and Baguio.

Weeks before the film fest, i already heard about it in the news and i'm really excited to watch the films. The Mayor really had the full support to host the Sineng Pambansa in the city since it the place where one of the most important and first ever films in the Philippine film history was produced. "Zamboanga" is one of my most anticipated film because i'm curious about how the old Zamboanga looks like and how they created the movie. I'm also excited to watch "Halaw" by a Zamboangueno director Sheron Dayoc. The film bagged the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Editing during the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

However, I was really busy for the three days so i wasn't able to watch the indie films at the cinema. Good thing, we were invited by Council Gerky Velasco at the Red Carpet night just an hour before the event. Not only we had the chance to watch "Zamboanga" we also saw the directors and casts of some of the films. Mr. John Arcilla, the lead actor of Halaw, also rendered an original song made for the film. The song is beautiful and epic. Anyways, i really intend to write this post to share my thoughts about the film "Zamboanga".

"Zamboanga" is one of the five existing pre-war Filipino films and one of the oldest, produced in 1936. The film was said to be lost due to the war. But a film historian, Nick de Ocampo rediscovered it at the archives of the US Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

A sea-faring tribe whose livelihood is to search pearls in the rich, pristine waters of Zamboanga. Danao, a young pearl fisher, is engaged to the datu's granddaughter, Minda. With Danao's exquisite pearls, the datu announces a celebration in his return. Hadji Razul, a cruel and lustful ruler of a Moro tribe living in another island was among the invited. Involved in piracy and looting, he associated himself with a renegade American Captain who owns a small trading yacht providing Chinese laborers. A tribal war sparks as Hadji abducts the beautiful princess during one of Danao's diving expeditions, tearing down the peace and tranquility Zamboanga once enjoyed. (resource: FDCP Zamboanga Film Festival 2011)

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