(Photos grabbed from Daang Dokyu official Facebook page. Layout by Catherine Paulene A. Umali/The Varsitarian)

DOCUMENTARIES are a potent force against disinformation and historical revisionism and should spark conversations as well as promote critical thinking, experts and filmmakers said during the online Daangdokyu film festival.

Nicole Curato, editor of the book “A Duterte Reader: Critical Essays on Rodrigo Duterte’s Early Presidency,” said disinformation and “historical revisionism” were successful because their purveyors were able to bridge the past and the present.

Documentaries should spark conversations about the issues they highlight, she said.
“We may not agree in the end, but the documentary becomes that bridge where we come together and begin that conversation,” she said. “It’s a provocation to a conversation, an invitation to extend the national narrative as portrayed in the documentary,” she said in the webinar titled “Perception is real, truth is not” on Oct. 10.

Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr., a film scholar from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and director of “Made in Singapore,” urged viewers to ask whether films and documentaries “might be lying.” But they should also trust the filmmaker’s intentions.

“We have to be more active viewers, to do our research, to ask our questions or talk about it. The documentary film should not be a finished film on the screen [that] after watching it we don’t even talk about it,” del Mundo said.

Ramona Diaz, director of “A Thousand Cuts” and “Imelda,” said the difference between journalists and documentary filmmakers was that documentaries are “mediated experiences” of the filmmaker being shared with the audience.

“What I give you is a mediated experience. There’s nothing objective about it. I don’t pretend to be objective. I give you an experience of what I’ve experienced,” she said.
Environmental advocate Francis Solajes, director of “Balud” (2014), stated that films could be utilized to connect indigenous peoples and communities.
“Ito ang pagsabay ng siyensya sa sining,” Solajes said in the web

inar “Ang Lahat ng Bagay ay Magkaugnay,” on Oct. 3.

Giovanni Tapang, dean of the UP Diliman College of Science and also an environmental advocate, pointed to misrepresentations in ethnographic films.

“A similarity between [the movies] is that they do not know the culture of the natives… Reach out to make it more meaningful,” Tapang said.

Alex Arumpac, director of “Aswang,” a documentary about the Duterte government’s drug war, urged budding independent filmmakers to persist in their craft despite the odds.

“Look at the big picture, what is essential… Lalo na dito sa Pilipinas, making feature documentaries independently is a test of will power, it’s a test of persistence,” she said in her “Masterclass on Filmmaking” on Nov. 4.

Curato noted that the manner of watching films has changed during the pandemic. Because of mobile phones and other gadgets, people can easily pause or choose not to watch a film, she said.

“It changes the way we appreciate the format as well, kasi ang dali mag-tune-out, kapag ang bigat, ayoko na hindi ko tatapusin,” she said.

“[If] you are in a theater, wala kang choice, papanuorin mo `yan whether we are talking about torture, journey… [but if] you’re watching it by yourself in your living room it’s so easy to quit,” she said.

The DaangDokyu online film festival commemorated 100 years of Filipino filmmaking by streaming documentaries and movies by local and foreign filmmakers and webinars discussing journalism, film, politics and other topics.

DaangDokyu, held from Sept. 19 to Nov. 5, was organized by filmmakers Baby Ruth Villarama, a UST journalism alumna, Jewel Maranan, Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala and Monster Jimenez. N. B. H. Crucillo and N. A. D. Sabate


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