A STILL from the film Salog ning Diklom, directed by Jordan Jose Dela Cruz

LOVE of the self, life and purpose, resilience, happiness, and social values such as good governance, love of country, honesty and integrity are highlighted in the first Sine Halaga Film Festival.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in partnership with the Negros Cultural Foundation (NCF), launched the Sine Halaga Film Festival on Aug. 25 to showcase 12 Filipino films highlighting cultural values. The films can be viewed for free at Sine Halaga’s Vimeo on Demand channel (https://vimeo.com/sinehalaga) and the NCCA Learning Resources website.

The film festival will tackle 19 values identified from research spanning two years conducted by the NCCA on what Filipinos value at present.

The 12 films are Bakit Ako Sinusundan ng Buwan, directed by Richard Legaspi; Black Rainbow, directed by Zig Madamba Dulay; Dandansoy, directed by Rod Arden Condez; Hadlok, directed by Ralston Jover; Looking for Rafflesias and other Fleeting Things, directed by James Allen Fajardo; Lorna, directed by Noel Escondo; Masalimuut Ya Tiyagew Ed Dayat, directed by Jan Carlo Natividad; Mina’s Family History, directed by Christopher Gozum; Sa Balay ni Papang, directed by Kurt Steven Soberano; Salog ning Diklom, directed by Jordan Jose Dela Cruz; Ugbos ka Bayabas, directed by Manie Magbanua, Jr.; and 13 Feet, directed by Carlo Obispo.

More than a hundred entries were screened by the Sine Halaga jury during the selection process.

The jury includes Rolando Tolentino, NCCA Committee on Cinema chairperson; film critic and educator Tito Valiente; award-winning Filipino filmmakers Jeffrey Jeturian, Roy Iglesias, and Sari Dalena; the author and lead researcher of the National Study on Filipino Values, Arvin Villalon and his co-author Jose Soliman, Jr.

Dapat makita ng mga guro at mag-aaral yung values sa loob ng pelikula (The teachers and students need to see the values within the film) without the film talking directly about it,” said Mr. Valiente of the selection process, during an online press conference via Zoom on Aug. 24.

“’Yung successful na cinema yung nakakapagbigay ng mensahe na nakatago pa rin sa sining, (Successful films are those that deliver a message hidden within the art form).” Mr. Valiente said.

Sine Halaga also comes with an educational component wherein the films will be used for classroom education. “It’s what makes Sine Halaga unique from other film fests — the films [are] used as a tool to teach Filipino values,” festival director Elvert Bañares said in a statement. “We are organizing a series of webinars and preparing study guides to aid our teachers in discussing the films [with] their students. With the help of our teachers, we can articulate effectively the values that each film conveys.”

The education component involves 12 film discussions with educators, professors, and film critics which will be held every weekend starting September.

“We will see how it will work, and upon evaluation of the effectivity of this tool, it is from there that we will move into the next level of maybe producing a second series,” NCCA Deputy Executive Director Marichu Telano said.

For updates and more information on Sine Halaga, follow @SineHalaga on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Vimeo or send an e-mail to sinehalaga@gmail.com. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman