Award-winning docus highlight 2022 Cinemalaya

A David vs Goliath struggle to save Palawan from total ruin, and an unflinching look at the lives of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong, are the subjects of two award-winning documentaries at the 18th Cinemalaya independent film festival.

The 2022 edition of the country’s premier indie film fest, with the theme “Breaking Through the Noise,” features 11 full-length features and 12 shorts in competition — screening in venues around the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) until 14 August, in partner cinemas from 10 to 17 August, in regional theaters from 22 to 29 August, and online via the CCP’s Vimeo account from 17 to 31 October.

‘DELIKADO’ is about environmental activism; ‘We Don’t Dance for Nothing’ depicts the OFW community in Hong Kong. | PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF cinemalaya

The docus, Delikado and We Don’t Dance for Nothing, will screen at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, on 13 August at Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).

Delikado, directed by Australian journalist Karl Malakunas, is about three environmental activists, Bobby, Tata and Nieves, who risk their lives to stop politicians and businessmen from destroying Palawan — dubbed the Philippines’ “last ecological frontier.”

On its website, Delikado is described as “a timely film emblematic of the struggles globally for land defenders, as they are being killed in record numbers trying to save natural resources from being plundered by corporations and governments.

“It is also a unique expose of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs… Delikado shows the drug war is used as a tool for politicians to control the levers of economic and political power.”

Delikado won the Sustainable Future Award at the Sydney Film Festival 2022 and the Special Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

There will be a talk-back session with Malakunas after the screening.

We Don’t Dance for Nothing, directed by Chinese-Greek Stefanos Tai, combines film and photos to capture the OFW community during the 2019 political protests in Hong Kong.

It touches on issues concerning the LGBTQ+ community and depicts how dancing frees Filipino women from the pressures of work.

In his director’s noted, Tai said: “After four years in Hong Kong, beyond all the neon, urban density and mountains, only one thing has never ceased to amaze me: the way thousands of Filipina domestic workers (“helpers”) publicly celebrate their off-days.

“Walking down these crowded Sunday streets, I asked myself: How can these women, often abused and treated as second-class citizens, dance each minute with such zest? How do these unlikely heroes summon so much love, joy, and humanity in the face of enormous struggle?

“And how have their beauty and passion never been represented properly on film?

“I began to research their stories. I became their friend. I joined them in dance and witnessed the selfless ways they mother their employers’ children. I have been a part of their joy, felt their fears, and heard their heartbreak.

They are my heroes, and I believe their stories to be essential. This film is my love letter to them.”

We Don’t Dance for Nothing won Honorable Mention at the 2022 DOXA Documentary Festival in Vancouver.

For the complete schedule of screenings, log on or follow Cinemalaya on Instagram cinemalayaofficial, and Twitter cinemalayaoffcial.

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