Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
Instead of complaining why the film has not attracted audiences, THY WOMB has found a true champion in former Senator Santanina Rasul and has related the most important reason for Filipinos to watch the award winning film, “The Badjaos are the most neglected and discriminated against among all the cultural communities in the Philippines. Kaya itong picture na ito ni Nora Aunor will project the lives and the ambitions of the Badjaos and bring them to the consciousness of the Filipino people. Para naman mamahalin natin ang mga Badjaos. Hindi na lang sila parating discriminated against.”
THY WOMB most recently won seven awards during the MMFF awards night: Best Actress (Nora Aunor), Best Director (Brillante Mendoza), Best Original Story (Henry Burgos), Best Cinematography (Odyssey Flores), Best Production Design (Brillante Mendoza) and the special prizes Gat Puno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award and Most Gender-Sensitive Film.
International awards include: La Navicella/Venezia Cinema Prize, P. Nazareno Taddei Award (Special Mention) and Bisato d’ Oro Award for Ms. Nora Aunor during the Venice film fest. Mendoza won Best Director and Aunor won Best Actress at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards at Brisbane, Australia. The film was also applauded at the Toronto International Film Festival 2012, the Busan International Film Festival 2012,) and Dubai International Film Festival 2012.
In a short speech during fan’s day she praises the creative people behind the film and professes a life long admiration for Aunor, “Yung mga anak ko Noranians din ako rin Noranian! Kukunin ko itong opportunity to welcome back our one and only superstar Nora Aunor. We should commend director Brillante Mendoza for choosing Buklao, Tawi-tawi as a location for filming THY WOMB.”
Nora Aunor is currently cast in TV5’s NEVER SAY GOODBYE set to be aired January 2013. The show is topbilled by Cesar Montano, Alice Dixson and Gardo Verzosa. Artista Academy winners Vin Abrenica and Sophie Albert will play Nora’s children along with Edgar Allan Guzman as her eldest son. Nora will have a major concert initially scheduled for May 2013 but will depend on the results of her throat surgery. The much-anticipated film with Coco Martin may have to wait until shooting for NEVER SAY GOODBYE wraps.
Rasul is currently the founder and Chair of Magbasa Kita Foundation that teaches marginalized people in remote areas to read and write. It has been changing lives in Mindanao since the 1960’s. The adult education programs from the foundation were subsequently adapted by the Philippine government and recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Rasul related how she had personally witnessed the discrimmination against Badjaos. She related the story of one who was able to graduate from college but could not find a job because of his ethnic origin. Her organization was able to hire him to coordinate literacy classes for Badjaos and he has been productive ever since. “Ngayon kinuha siya para magorganize ng class ng Badjaos at nag turo na siya. Ngayon he is teaching and very competent naman siya. Kaya gusto ko ma congratulate si Brillante Mendoza for making this film and Henry Burgos for writing about the Badjaos.”
Director Brillante Mendoza in his own speech added , “Na tutuwa po kami at lahat ng cast at staff ko na finally mahahandog namin ang pelikulang pinaghirapan at pinagmamalaki namin. Ang pelikulang ito ay dapat nating panoorin hindi dahil tayo ay Muslim o tayo ay Kristyano kungdi dahil tayo ay Pilipino.” (We are happy and proud to show our film which we worked hard for. We should all watch it not because we are Muslim or Christian but because we are Filipinos)
The responsibility to educate and share the message of the film fall on everyone of us who believe and have faith in our country, “Sana po, kapag na panood natin ang pelikula makwento natin satin mga kaibigan, sa ating mga anak at sa mga malalapit sa atin. Na kakasigurado po ako na pag napanood niyo ang pelikulang ito maipagmamalaki niyo na kayo ay isang Pilipino.”