ROME 08 January 2019 — The Philippine Embassy in Rome and Sentro Rizal Rome, in cooperation with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), showcased the best Philippine cinema at the Festival del Cinema Filippino in Italia (Philippine Film Festival in Italy), held at the Casa del Cinema in Rome on 13-15 December 2018.
The film festival was held through FDCP’s Philippine Embassies Assistance Program (PEAP), of which the Embassy is the first full-fledged recipient. The PEAP aims to assist Philippine Embassies and Consulates General in their film-related activities.
The event also celebrates the 100th anniversary of Philippine cinema and is the first Filipino film festival in Rome directly organized by the Philippine government.
An opening reception attended by members of the diplomatic corps, Italian officials, and Italian movie stakeholders was held on 13 December 2018.
In his welcome remarks, Ambassador to Italy Domingo P. Nolasco noted that the festival demonstrates both Filipino artistry in cinema and Philippine cultural and natural heritage. With over 160,000 Filipinos in Italy, this project is seen as an opportunity to promote cultural understanding between Filipinos and Italians.
Ambassador Nolasco further stated, “With the festival, we wanted to showcase the various aspects of Filipino culture, old and new, and give the audience a preview of the beauty of our country.”
In her remarks, FDCP Chairperson and Guest of Honor Mary Liza B. Diño stated, “I am proud to address you all here today as the official partner of our Philippine Embassy here in Italy to host the very first Festival del Cinema Filippino in Italia featuring an incredible lineup of eight contemporary films that features diverse stories and perspectives of the Filipino people.”
Chairperson Diño highlighted that the Philippines is currently celebrating one hundred years of Philippine cinema which attests to the creative and passionate dedication of Filipino filmmakers and storytellers to produce stories that, while uniquely Filipino, are also universal in themes. She also conveyed appreciation for Philippine Foreign Service Posts for showcasing Filipino films as part of sharing Philippine culture to foreign countries.
Following the opening reception was the screening of the period musical and 2017 Metro Manila Fim Festival Best Picture, Ang Larawan by Loy Arcenas, based on the play by Filipino National Artist for Literature Nick Joquin with musical screenplay by Filipino National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab.
A Filipino night was held on 15 December 2018, which was followed by the showing of the film Paki by Giancarlo Abrahan.
Chairperson Diño conveyed that the film festival is a good opportunity to make Filipino films accessible not only to the foreign audience but also to Filipinos living and working abroad. She shared that FDCP, and the Embassy intend to continue this endeavor and bring in a more diverse selection of films on 2019.
Six other films shown during the three-day festival include Bamboo Flowers by Maryo J. de los Reyes, Camp Sawi by Irene Villamor, Si Chedeng at Si Apple by Rae Red and Fatrick Tabada, and Smaller and Smaller Circles by Raya Martin, Ang Babae sa Likod ng Mambabatok by Lauren Faustino, and Mr. and Mrs. Cruz by Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo.