Thursday, March 25, 2021

Cinema Rehiyon 2021 (March 26-31, 2021)

Cinema, aims to promote films that tell stories rooted in the culture of the regions. Now on its 13th year, the festival has established its presence in the local and international scene. Various award-giving bodies and national film competitions, such as Cinemalaya, MMFF, and Cinema One Originals, have already opened their doors to regional voices. One hundred years after its conception, the landscape of Philippine cinema has evolved into a more inclusive platform for all stories around the country to be told. For years, films from the regions have provided a refreshing presence and a new blood to Philippine Cinema.

In the midst of a global health crisis that has crippled the world for almost a year now and challenged the landscape of culture and the arts, there is a need to promote films and inspire regional filmmakers to continue telling their stories. Going online, Cinema Rehiyon 13 will provide an opportunity for regional filmmakers — first-timers, veterans, amateurs, professionals — to exhibit their films to a wider audience and to provide an opportunity for regional filmmakers to build networks. Highlighting the diversity of the Philippines, Cinema Rehiyon recognizes artistic talents from the peripheries of the nation. 


Cinema Rehiyon 13 follows the overall theme of the National Arts Month, with special emphasis by films by and for women and the LGBTQIA+ community. The project aims to present the best of more recent regional films coming from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and NCR; online talkbacks and forum dealing with the same concerns.

The festival will run online for five days including opening and closing ceremonies. This year will mark the first online implementation of the project, including filmmakers’ talkback and webinars on filmmaking.

The 2021 edition of the National Committee on Cinema’s flagship project – Cinema Rehiyon kicks off February 28, 10:00 am redefining itself as it goes global, defying limitations of boundaries, of gender and even of pandemic. 

Anthropologist, film critic/educator and Cinema Rehiyon 2021 Festival Director Tito Genova Valiente said Cinema Rehiyon will still be about films from the region, now redefined according to the spaces created by online engagement. 

“It will be an online edition. No geographical and social boundaries. The new version will free Cinema Rehiyon from many limitations. The limitations of labels. The limitations of being defined by Manila. The limitations of gender and traditions,” Valiente added. 

Festival Programming

More than a hundred films are programmed for this year’s Cinema Rehiyon under the BABAYI, BABAYLAN 2021 Cinema Rehiyon Women and LGBTQIA+, BEST OF CINEMA FROM THE REGIONS: The Role of Regional Filmmakers in Troubling Times, and the 16 films from Eksena Cinema Quarantine programs. 

Filmmaker and Cultural Worker Adjani Arumpac programmed the films about Gender issues that are never neutral. In the curation of films about LGBTQIA+ and Woman, Arumpac proceeds from a position of politics and ideology, that blurs the line between advocacy and art, action and thought. 

Meanwhile, Filmmaker and Regional Cinema Advocate Elvert Bañares’ curation presents cinema as ethnography where he allows the fields, which are the regions, to speak, and reports the concerns and aesthetics from these peripheries.

In this programming, BEST OF CINEMA FROM THE REGIONS: The Role of Regional Filmmakers in Troubling Times, we listen to the filmmakers, and view the landscapes and stories they share. 

Online Platform

National Commission for Culture and the Arts- National Committee on Cinema chairperson Rolando Tolentino said this is a different version of the Cinema Rehiyon since it is using 100 percent online platform. 

“Unlike the past Cinema Rehiyons, for the first time Cinema Rehiyon 2021 will go nationwide, in fact it will go global with the online platforms. This means that the films can be viewed on demand via livestream, 24/7,” Tolentino said during the NCCA’s virtual presser.


Writer and editor Carla Pulido Ocampo, who recently won the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival Best Film and NETPAC Jury Prize for her recent film, Tokwifi, will open the masterclass series with Women Write:  Screenplay for and of Women, moderated by Sari Dalena, filmmaker and film scholar, will be on March 6 (Saturday) from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. 

The masterclass for Love Writes: Screenplay for and of LGBTQIA+ by Jay Altarejos, known for his LGBTQIA+ themed movies, will be on the same day, March 6 at 2:00pm to 4:00pm moderated by Kristian Sendon Cordero, filmmaker, writer and owner of Bikol’s cultural hub and bookshop, Savage Mind. 

Baby Ruth Villarama, producer, director, and writer, well known for her documentary film, Sunday Beauty Queen, among other titles, will hold the Masterclass on Documentary Filmmaking in the Regions, with Julienne Ilagan, filmmaker and writer, as moderator, on March 13 from 2:00PM to 4:00PM.

Coming from the region and an advocate of Regional Cinema is Filmmaker, Curator, Cinematographer and Editor Elvert Bañares’s who will focus on a topic seldom touched in regional filmfests, "Why Should Experimental Cinema Persist in the Regions? (A Journey Into Interventions, Processes and Interpretations)", in his Master Class on March 20, with moderator Patrick Campos, writer and film scholar. 

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