‘Motherland’ kicks off Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival

November 23, 2017 - 11:07 AM
A scene from 'Motherland.'

“Motherland (Bayang Ina Mo)” has come home.

Ten months after its triumphant debut at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize for Commanding Vision, Ramona Diaz’s acclaimed documentary had its long awaited Philippine premiere Thursday night at the Shang Cineplex as the opening film of the 5th Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival — the annual festival organized by Dakila, the Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism.

Set in Manila’s infamous Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, “Motherland” follows the trials and tribulations of three mothers over six and a half weeks in quite possibly the busiest maternity hospital in the world.

The realities presented by the film remind viewers of how women tend to undervalue their basic rights due to misinformation, lack of proper education, and abject poverty. “Motherland” is a glaring picture of how underprivileged communities struggle with reproductive health issues.

Attended by the Filipino-American filmmaker herself, the invitational premiere was co-presented by Grrrrl Gang Manila, Purple Ribbon Network, Likhaan, Reproductive Health Advocacy Network, Filipino Freethinkers and the Forum for Family Planning and Development. The documentary will have a public screening on Thursday, 7PM at the Shang Cineplex 4 of the Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City.


The first few editions of the Active Vista Festival catered to human rights-related films alone. This year’s festival is different because, as Active Vista executive director Leni Velasco explains, “We’re broadening all forms of arts as a festival. We’ve been partnering with organizations for theater plays, concerts and exhibits. We wanted to uses not just films as tools for human rights education, media—especially digital media and a lot of popular culture to make it accessible to millennials.”

Ramona Diaz, Leni Velasco, and Mae Paner. (Photos by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)

At the moment, “Motherland” has only one scheduled screening, but Kohki Hosei’s “Blanka” and Hui Chen Huang’s “Small Talk” will also be screened at the Shang Cineplex this month.

From December 2 to December 8, choice films by Filipino filmmakers will be screened at the Cinema Centenario in Teacher’s Village, Quezon City.

The selection includes Treb Monteras’ “Respeto”; Eric Matti’s “On the Job”; Veronica Velasco’s “Last Supper No. 3”; Francis Xavier Pasion’s “Jay”; Ditsi Carolino’s “Bunso”; “Himppawid” by Raymond Red; and “Engkwentro” by Pepe Diokno.
“Respeto” and Jun Lana’s “Die Beautiful” will also be screened in the University of Santo Tomas, University of Makati and The Pineapple Lab on selected dates.

The Pineapple Lab will also play host to a talk on “How to Watch a Film” on November 25 and “Bongga Ka Die” on November 29.

On Sunday, November 26, Mae Paner aka Juana Change, who recently won as Best Supporting Actress in the Cinema One Originals Film Festival for her role in “Si Chedeng at SI Apple,” will present “Tao Po (Mga Monologo” at the Globe Auditorium of the Maybank Performing Arts Theater in Bonifacio Global City.

The exhibit “Moving Pictures: Artists for Human Dignity,” which features images from the previous decades and current events taken by renowned photojournalist will move to Univesity of the Philippines Manila and the University of the Makati from the Shang Cineplex.

The “Alab ng Puso” concert will be held at the Araneta Center in Cubao on December 9. The Active Vista Human Rights Festival runs until December 10.

For the complete festival schedule, visit www.activevista.ph or follow Active Vista on Facebook. Email [email protected] or call (02) 435-4309 and +639151780240 for inquiries.