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Pinoy farmers’ lives captured in 6 new films

NEIL Ryan Sese

JUST A THOUGHT: “Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.” – Ellen DeGeneres

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FARMERS’ LIVES ON FILM: What will a film festival featuring stories of farmers look like in the light of recent events in the farming sector?

For instance, on April 1, three farmers were killed while hundreds were wounded during a dispersal of a protest rally in Kidapawan, North Cotabato. Thousands of farmers converged at the national highway as they called attention to government support for food as a result of El Niño. Mindanao is hardest hit by drought.

In a related development, superstar Nora Aunor and international actress Monique Wilson joined an indignation rally in Mendiola that sought government assistance to the suffering farmers in Mindanao.

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COMPLEX PROBLEMS: Considering the complex, multi-faceted p
roblems facing the agricultural sector today, how can films taking part in TOFARM inspire, lift the spirit of our farmers to the next level?

Such is the challenge that faces six film directors, winners of grants from the first ever local film fest to focus on agri concerns.

TOFARM Film Festival is the brainchild of Dr. Milagros Ong-How, executive vice-president of Universal Harvester, Inc.

The festival aims to uplift the lives of farmers as well as promote their professional development.

The festival, says Dr. How, hopes to acknowledge, honor and respect farmers as caretakers of our resources from God.

TOFARM filmfest unreels from July 13 to 19 at select SM cinemas nationwide.

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TO FARM FILM FESTIVAL 2016: Chaired by director Maryo de los Reyes as festival director, the six finalists to the first ever farming festival in the country are: “Free Range” (modern drama) by Dennis Marasigan; “Kakampi” (magic realism) by Victor Acedillo, Jr.; “Pauwi Na” (comedy road movie) by Paulo Villaluna; “Pilapil” (suspense-action) by Jose Johnny Nadela; “Pitong Kabang Palay” (drama) by Mariel Cariage; “Paglipay” (love story) by Zig Dulay.

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FILMS ABOUT FARMERS FEW: Each TOFARM entry is awarded a grant of 1.5 million pesos as seed money.

According to de los Reyes, project director, the filmmakers may get additional financial support from outside on a 50-50 sharing. The films will beowned jointly by the director and Harvester.

At the media launch of TOFARM, we noted that in recent years, only a few films produced in the country were devoted to the lives of farmers. The short list includes Biyaya ng Lupa, Daigdig ng mga Api, Sakada, Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit.

We hope the films under ToFARM filmfest shall one day join the ranks of these Philippine film classics that underlined the plight of Filipino farmers.

TOFARM’s awarding ceremony will be held on July 20 at Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

–(nescuar@yahoo.com)– (NESTOR CUARTERO)