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February 16, 2004

In celebration of Filipino creativity, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts proudly spearheads National Arts Month 2004 this February with the theme, “Sining Pinoy:Makilahok sa  Malikhaing Sambayan”.

This month-long celebration begun in 1991 through Presidential Proclamation No. 683, with the National Arts Month activities spearheaded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the country’s umbrella government institution for arts and culture.

The official logo of the National Arts Month is a flower. It takes inspiration from a traditional ukkil floral motif of the peoples of the Sulu archipelago. The design is a stylized plant sprout and symbolizes the blossoming of the Philippine Art. The logo is designed by printmaker Pandy Avlado and colored by graphic artist Peewee Roldan.

The National Arts Month celebration has successfully been launched nationwide through the popular noontime show S.O.P, aired every Sunday on GMA 7, last Feb.1 . Select performers of the National Arts Month celebration have also been tapped to appear in mall shows at the Ever Gotesco Malls and Shangrila-Plaza Mall to reach a wider audience.

The major activities for the National Arts Month 2004 are as follows:

Cinema Paraiso

Cinema Paraiso presents “Mga Kuwento ng Pag-ibig- A Celebration of Love Theme and Love Teams in Philippine Cinema,” a banner project of the Committee on Cinema of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in cooperation with Asian Eye Productions, for the National Arts Month Sining Pinoy 2004. The event includes a festival of classic films, forum, and an audio-visual and memorabilia exhibit, all of which pay tribute to unforgettable love teams in Philippine cinema. The event opens with the 1969 color epic set in Mindanao, Perlas ng Silangan and will close with the pre-war classic Zamboanga (a treasure find of filmmaker Nick de Ocampo) courtesy of Mowelfund Film Institute. The 1936 film, recently repatriated in cooperation with the US Library of Congress, is the oldest Filipino feature film known to exist.

Cinema Paraiso activities are open to the public from 4 February to 5 March 2004, free of charge. Film showings are from Monday to Friday, 7 pm at NCCA’s Tanghalang, Leandro Locsin. The exhibit may be viewed from 12 nn – 7 pm.  For details, please call Lala Hinlo or Lito Riel at 527-2192 locals 509/508.

Dalit ng Virtuoso

Iligan’s Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG) stages anew the production Dalit ng Virtuoso/ Adindanao is a play consisting of four vignettes on old community virtuosos. The play is a collaboration among members of the IPAG theater group led by Steven Patrick Fernandez.

Bulawan One-Act Plays

The country’s respected theater groups brings to life the winning one-act plays of the NCCA’s playwriting contest launched in 2003 in an event called Bulawan. The Association of Creative and Performing Artist of Zamboanga, Inc. (ACPAZ)stages George A. de Jesus’ “Para Walang Unyon” at Western Mindanao University Gymnasium in Zamboanga City.  

A brainchild of the Committee on Literary Arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Dionatext is the committee’s third SMS poetry writing competition after Textanaga and Dalitext. The diona has three lines with seven syllables per line, such as the following example: “Magkapatid mang buo/ kung di kapwa suyo/ parang pinsang malayo.” Each entry must be composed in Filipino and follow the theme “pagmamahal sa pamilya.” Participants may text in their dionas, along with their names and addresses, to mobile phone numbers (0927) 464-1814 or (0918) 225-2718 before 3:00 p.m. of each Friday of the month of February. A Board of Judges, composed of associates of the U.P. Creative Writing Center and headed by Virgilio S. Almario, will then pick the weekly winners from among whom two final monthly winners will be chosen. The winners will receive 5,000 pesos as prize. Eight consolation prizes of 2,000 pesos each will also be given away.

International Rondalla Festival
Spearheaded by NCCA Commissioner Dr. Ramon Santos, the Festival, a first in the history of the National Arts Month, happens for the first time as well, in Bicol, where the rondalla tradition has taken root. This local plucked-string tradition was said to have grown out of the Spanish comparza and estudiantina traditions, and has acquired a distinctly local flavor. The Festival, named Cuerdas Nin Kagabsan, a Bicolano term for “Strings of Unity,” will involve 400 artists from all over the world. This is a week-long festival to include performances, outreach shows, seminar-workshops, exhibitions, interactions, demonstrations of rondalla instrument building and others participated in by the rondalla groups here and around the world. Organized by the Developmental Institute for Bicolano Artists Foundations, Inc. (DIBA). A banner project for the National Arts Month: Sining Pinoy 2004 by the National Committee on Music.

Sayaw Pinoy

A dance concert initiated by the National Committee on Dance as its banner project for the year, Sayaw Pinoy aims to showcase the different dance forms in the country to be participated in by at least 5 dance groups, 3 from the island clusters and 2 from NCR. The performers include Ballet Manila, Bayanihan The National Folk Dance Company, Chameleon Dance Company, Philippine Ballet Theater, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Kathara, Leyte Dance Theater, PNU Kislap Sining, Powerdance, Quezon City Ballet of the Halili Cruz School fo Ballet, Quezon City Performing Group,  Sining Kumintang of Batangas, UE Dance Company, UP Dance Company, University of San Carlos Dance Troupe with the special participation of Hwa Yi Ethnic Dance Center from China. Under the National Arts Month activities, these dance groups will perform in Davao, Cebu, Isabela and Manila. Included in the activity is a forum tackling the various issues and concerns of the dance sector.

Pelikula at Lipunan

Launched in 1994 by the NCCA under the auspices of the Film Committee headed by National Artist Eddie Romero, Pelikula at Lipunan, “the mother of all film festivals held at the mall,” has since been transferred to the care of filmmaker, Mowelfund director and tireless cultural worker Nick Deocampo. To be held at Megamall from February 11-15, Pelikula at Lipunan screenings charge P 50 for regular/ Filipino films & P 100 for English/ premiere screenings. It opens with Zamboanga, a film shot entirely in Sulu by two Americans in 1937, one of only four pre-World War II films in existence and one of the first in the world to make use of underwater photography. The film, which stars Fernando Poe Sr. and Rosa del Rosario, had the support of international directors like Frank Capra and Eric Von Stroheim. The film had been on storage in Finland all this time, until someone turned it over to the U.S. Library of Congress some years ago.

Other films to be screened in the festival are Tagumpay ng Mahirap, the Diosdado Macapagal Story (directors Lamberto Avellana, Eddie Romero and Gerry de Leon, all National Artists now), Manuel Conde’s Krus na Kawayan, Cold Mountain starring Nicole Kidman, and shorts by veteran local auteurs like Roxlee, Dennis Empalmado, Jon Red with his film Astigmatism starring Robin Padilla, and Deocampo himself with his documentary on National Artist Edades.

After SM Megamall, Pelikula at Lipunan screenings go to SM Iloilo (Feb. 20-22), SM Baguio (March 5-6), SM Cebu (March 19-20), and finally at SM Davao (April 23-24). As part of Pelikula at Lipunan, American filmmaker Robert H. Lieberman, a novelist and physics professor at Cornell University, will be going on the same tour as the festival in different cities across the country, to give a series of lectures on filmmaking.

This is a national visual arts touring exhibit, a culmination of a year-long program of local exhibits organized in the four major regions. Organized by Cris Rollo and Karen Flores of the Visual Arts Committee, Sungduan is a convergence of these local exhibits and features a Curator’s Forum. It promises to be a feast of the senses in every way.

These banner projects will be accompanied by many other cultural events happening simultaneously all over the country, participated in by schools, cultural groups, and local government units.