by Irish Mae Fernandez-Dalona
The siege in the Islamic City of Marawi claimed hundreds of lives, destroyed homes, and caused the displacement of over 230,000 people. After a year, people seemed to have moved on, yet there are wounds that never heal and will continue to haunt those who survived in spite of their efforts of moving forward.
This is the theme of the film “Anggulo”, a magnum opus of Kalilas, a newly established student organization of film-enthusiasts in MSU-IIT, which bagged awards in the recently concluded Cinemagis XI – Digital Short Film Festival in Northern Mindanao last January 26, 2019 at Xavier University, in Cagayan de Oro City.
The film captures the struggles of displacement of a 17-year old Ahmad who is forced to flee his hometown and finds himself relocated to another city under the care of his aunt. It narrates how the trauma and horrors of his past constantly inflicts suffering as he seeks comfort in his new environment.
When asked for her inspiration for writing the story, scriptwriter Ainosalam Serad, a Bachelor of Arts in English Language (BAELS) freshman, said in an interview, “The media has always been talking about the physical damage [sa Marawi Siege] and all that political stuff. I thought that I also need to talk about the emotional struggles of every internally displaced persons (IDPs)….” Aino also posited that Maranaos are not the kind of people who talk about their internal struggle even if they badly want to, and so she finds it necessary for other people to know what her fellow Maranaos have been dealing with after the siege.
“It’s not just about what stories we tell, or how we tell them. It’s about why we should tell them,” Norielle Joyce Dalman, a BS Information Systems junior, the film’s director, recounts when asked for her motivation to finish this film.
The film stars Best Actor nominee Justin Cabiara as Ahmad, Caironesa Capal Dimatanday as Ahmad’s aunt, and Almojeb Mangotara as trisikad driver. The other members of the team include Angielle Schnaider for Cinematography and Editing, Aphrodite Bjork Colao for Sound Scoring, and John Robert Omandam for Art Direction.
Anggulo won the awards for Best Short Film, Best Story, Sound Scoring, Editing, Art Direction, including the coveted Sulyap Kultura Special Award. They have also been nominated for Best Actor, Cinematography, and Best Director. Anggulo bested twelve other films for Student Category, including other entries from MSU-IIT students, “Handuraw”, which was nominated for the awards Best Cinematography, Story, Actress, Director, Editing, and Film; and “Sa Paboritong Anak ni Papa”, which was nominated for the awards Best Story, Sound Scoring, Director, and Film. “Handuraw” was directed by Angielle Schnaider, a BSN student, while “Sa Paboritong Anak ni Papa” was directed by Christian Alan Toring, a BSIT student.
For eleven years, Cinemagis has helped provide an avenue for young filmmakers like Kalilas to produce short films that address and reflect on Mindanao experiences, voices, issues and aspirations. This event was supported by NCCA and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).
The MSU-IIT, in its persistent concern for social issues, continues to inspire its students in becoming sensitive to the needs and muted voices of its neighboring communities. This is why the Institute, through its Cultural Development Office (CDO), celebrates this feat.