Documentary on Antique Rice Terraces, Iraynon Bukidnon bound for Brazil Filmfest

ONE Philippine entry has made it to Pará, Brazil’s Festival de Cinema de Alter do Chão (or AlterFest for short), a film festival that focuses on the Amazon and other indigenous cultures.

“Pátok” (The Mountain Carvers), a documentary film by Emmanuel Lerona, will have its international premiere in the city of Santarém, Pará, Brazil, in the competition section of AlterFest to take place on Oct. 21 to 27.

Jun Bayog, maaram – equivalent to the babaylan, leads the panguyang ritual before the rice harvest. (Film still)
Jun Bayog, maaram – equivalent to the babaylan, leads the panguyang ritual before the rice harvest. (Film still)

AlterFest describes itself as “a meeting place between cultures around audiovisual production and other artistic manifestations.” AlterFest offers to give “a look at the Amazon, the peoples of the world, the appreciation of nature, and the recognition of global rights.”

SPOTLIGHT ON ANTIQUE

Set in the middle of the Antique Rice Terraces, “Pátok” (The Mountain Carvers) tells the story of the Iraynon Bukidnon people, an indigenous peoples’ community, of Gen. Fullon, San Remigio, Antique, as they cope with the challenge of living in a remote area while confronting the encroachment of modernity not only towards their ancestral land but in their lives in general.

Jun Bayog, maaram – equivalent to the babaylan, leads the panguyang ritual before the rice harvest. (Film still)
Jun Bayog, maaram – equivalent to the babaylan, leads the panguyang ritual before the rice harvest. (Film still)

A maaram (a respected elder equivalent to a babaylan) leads a ritual of thanksgiving offered to the spirits of the land, while teachers and students talk about the struggle of getting education in a location such as theirs. A daughter talks about a dying mother’s wish to be buried back in their place while a mother talks about her children who have left for greener pastures. 

In a span of more than three years, Emmanuel Lerona interviewed several elders in Barangay Gen. Fullon, San Remigio, Antique. Photo by Ruperto Quitag.
In a span of more than three years, Emmanuel Lerona interviewed several elders in Barangay Gen. Fullon, San Remigio, Antique. Photo by Ruperto Quitag.

DOCUMENTING FOR RECOGNITION

“Virtually nothing is known about the Iraynon Bukidnon in popular media as if they are a distant concept to many people,” said Lerona. “In our film, we portray the Iraynon Bukidnon not only as a people that made the Antique Rice Terraces but people with a lot of concerns just like the rest of us. The inclusion of “Pátok” (The Mountain Carvers) in AlterFest is very timely as we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Month in the Philippines.”

The villagers help each other perform farming activities. (Film still)
The villagers help each other perform farming activities. (Film still)

Festival de Cinema de Alter do Chão is promoted by Krioca Comunicação Production Company with the institutional support from the Pará State Government, Pará, State Culture Secretary, Santarém Administration, Federal University of Western Pará, Pará Federal University, Fluminense Federal University and many more.

Lerona and UP Visayas production team brave the four-hour trek to Barangay Gen. Fullon, San Remigio, Antique to document the lives of the Iraynon Bukidnon. Photo by Ruperto Quitag.
Lerona and UP Visayas production team brave the four-hour trek to Barangay Gen. Fullon, San Remigio, Antique to document the lives of the Iraynon Bukidnon. Photo by Ruperto Quitag.

The film will also have free screenings at Festive Walk Iloilo Cinema 2 on Oct. 19 in celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Month. The screening is presented by UP Visayas Division of Humanities and co-presented by Festive Walk Iloilo by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls at the Iloilo Business Park. “Pátok”was produced with grants assistance from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Commission on Higher Education through its Institutional Development and Innovation Grant program./PN

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