Monday, August 13, 2018

TU PUG IMATUY, award-winning indie film on Mindanao Lumads featured in PPP Film Festival 2018

August is a twin celebration of Buwan ng Wika and Indigenous Peoples' Month. An indie movie from Mindanao is uniquely bringing these two celebrations in its movie in the upcoming Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino this August 15 to 21.

Tu Pug Imatuy (The Right to Kill) is the story of an indigenous or Lumad couple who struggle against pressing problems in their community such as mining and military operations that ravaged their land.

Tu Pug Imatuy earned Grand Jury Prize for Film in the FAMAS Awards and Best Picture in Sinag Maynila Film Festival 2017 where the film premiered. It also earned director Arnel 'Arbi' Barbarona Best Director nods from FAMAS, Gawad Urian and Sinag Maynila, and bagged Best Screenplay in Sinag for award-winning writer/ director Arnel Mardoquio.

Best Picture: TU PUG IMATUY | Sinag Maynila Film Festival 2017

Running Time : 1h 30 min
Rating : PG-15 (FDCP)
Director: Arbi Barbarona, Screenplay: Arnel Mardoquio, Cinematography: Bryan Jimenez, Arbi Barbarona
Cast: Malona Sulatan, Jong Monzon, Luis Georln Banaag III, Jamee Rivera, Jillian Khayle Barbarona, Henyo Ehem, Mentroso Malibato

Produced by: Red Motion Media, Kilab Multimedia, Skyweaver Productions, YellowKite Productions, Norhaiya Macusang, Sine Mindanaw
Distributed by: Solar Entertainment

This is Barbarona's film debut, after working as cinematographer and short-film director in the indie film movement in Mindanao. Arbi is the second Davao-born filmmaker to win best director from FAMAS. He is one of six filmmakers to win a FAMAS nod in a directorial debut.

Film reviews noted the film's "raw beauty" (Stephanie Mayo), "painfully lyrical images" (Oggs Cruz) of mountains, forests, sunrise that contrasts sharply to the horrors of the characters that encounter torture and fear.

Best Actress: Malona Sulatan (TU PUG IMATUY) | Sinag Maynila Film Festival 2017

Film critic Skilty Labastilla named Tu Pug Imatuy as one of the best films in 2017. "The film is significant at a time when government troops continually attack IP schools in Mindanao and teachers and youth leaders are being hunted down," he wrote.

Blogger Renelson Morelos also praised the film. "it's one of those films from Mindanao that further solidify the region's reputation as a rich source of cinematic storytelling."


FAMAS Awards 2018: Grand Jury Prize for Film, Best Director
Gawad URIAN 2018: Best Director
Sinag Maynila 2017: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Malona Sulatan), Best Cinematography, Best Musical Score

30th Tokyo International Film Festival 2017, Asian Feature Competition
Luxor African Film Festival 2018 Egypt, Freedom and Human Rights Category
The First Reel: Philippine Film Festival, Berlin 2017

Barbarona says the movie was inspired in his experiencing doing a video documentary of the Manobo evacuees from Talaingod in 2014. She interviewed an elderly woman named Obunay who narrated how she survived from being captured and tied up by soldiers who forced her as guide in their pursuit against guerrillas.

Best Screenplay: Arnel Mardoquio (TU PUG IMATUY)
Sinag Maynila Film Festival 2017

Barbarona crafted the movie to depict the problems that the indigenous peoples face in the country.

"I think the issues are somewhat universal in terms of land rights and the destruction of the Earth and our natural world. There’s an influx of mining in country without really thinking what will happen tomorrow, what will happen to the indigenous people who are living on this land. Capitalism, I think, is the problem. This was one of the messages I wanted to convey. I want there to be peace talks in the Philippines," he said in an interview for

The movie is part of the Special Features Section of award-winning indies in the Pista ng Pelikula Pilipino 2018 organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines. The filmmakers wish the Filipino audience can experience a unique story to connect with our country's indigenous roots.

Catch this movie from August 15 to 21 at SM Cinemas in Mall of Asia, MegaMall, Manila, North EDSA, Sta. Mesa, Fairview, in Robinson's Galleria Movie World and Gateway Cinema.

Regional screenings will be announced soon.

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