Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
Nearly a year after the strongest typhoon in recorded history pounded Tacloban and Visayas, these areas are still struggling to put their lives back together. Portions of population in Tacloban are still living in tents, residential homes still lie in ruins.
Cultural exchange through a film festival like Cine Europa may not be the infrastructure of roads, bridges and schools that they need. But it may give them a much-needed breather from the day-to-day struggles they face. From the Visayas State University in Leyte, special screenings for families affected by Yolanda will be held from October 21-26 in Tacloban.
Now on its 17th year the Cine Europa film fest has screened the best films from Europe in its home at the Shang Cineplex in Shangri La Plaza Mall. It will run from September 11-21, 2014. The fest has always had long lines watching films from as far as Czechoslovakia to Bulgaria to the more familiar Italian and English cinema.
Cine Europa will then move to other cities: Baguio Cinematheque from September 23-28, Ilo-ilo Cinematheque from September 30 to October 5, Ayala Center Cinema in Cebu from October 10-12. Davao will host the screenings from October 28-November 2, Zamboanga Cinematheque from November 4-9 and concluding screenings in Liceo De Cagayan University in Cagayan De Oro from November 13-16.
Admission is free to all screenings at all locations for the two-month festival.
The line up this year has a total of 23 movies from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy The Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland.
EU Delegation Political Counselor Dr. Julian Vassallo said, “Yes we’re very keen to make this leg in Tacloban happen for obvious reasons. There are many European aid agencies working on the ground in Tacloban and we hope to rope them in to help us secure participation. We’re looking at different options for the location of the screening. There are challenges as you can imagine.”
There are logistical difficulties stemming from recent problems with infrastructure, “We have a new challenge that turned up today. You may have heard that the airport of Tacloban is now closed and will only be open to turbo prop aircraft for the foreseeable future. We’re looking at venues that can accommodate people who have been most affected by what happened. One possibility is to use the astrodome. We’re also looking at other possibilities if that does not work out. That is something that we are very keen to see realized.”
Goethe Institut Philipinen, the cultural center of Germany here in our country is one of the more active participants in Cine Europa. Goethe Institut was also part of the recently concluded International Silent Film Festival also held at the Shang Cineplex.
Goethe Institut Philipinen Director Petra Raymond was recently able to visit Tacloban to see first hand the current situation. That’s why for her having the fest there is vital. She said, “Its very important to send a signal there. I was there in June, 7 months after Yolanda, a lot of people are still struggling. You have brand new Petrol stations and supermarkets. Which is necessary that you provide these goods. But to see how much money went in there and next door is just broken construction. People don’t know what to do. Its good they have basketball courts. Its good they have an opportunity, they have a hard day living to see some films, which are, entertaining as well. They need to have that. We would like to be visible as Europe in the Philippines and Europe as a big variety. A film festival is a good way to show that.”