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Sagay City’s mangrove island film wins top int’l award

The 'Amon Banwa sa Lawod' (Our Island of the Mangrove Moons), a full-length film showcasing the mangrove island of Suyac in Sagay City, Negros Occidental, won the award for Best International Feature in the Louth International Film Festival (LIFF) in Dundalk, Ireland Sunday night (Monday morning in the Philippines). Helmed by acclaimed Filipino director Anton Juan, who wrote the screenplay with Sagaynon assistant director Mark Garcia, the movie, devised from the play 'Our Town' by Thornton Wilder, revolves around the memories of the island centered on the life, love, and passing of the people. 'I'm thanking those who have helped create this. These are the island people, themselves, who acted in the film and who helped create the film that no island or no people should ever be forgotten,' Juan said in his acceptance speech. Juan, a tenured professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA, also shared the award with Erehwon Center for the Arts, US-based Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Performance Laboratory, The Negros Museum, and the City Government of Sagay, which produced the film. Shot for 10 days from April to May last year, the film starred actors from Sagay and Bacolod, most of them acting for the first time. Before its international premiere, the 'Amon Banwa sa Lawod' had local screenings in Suyac Island, Sagay City proper, and Cinematheque Centre Negros at The Negros Museum in Bacolod. In his director's statement, Juan said the film 'articulates the mangrove community, resurrects the lives of the people living and dead, their struggles and simple joys, their resilience, and connection with the environment, and their relationship with the sea and their protection of their mangrove island.' 'The central dramatic line grows from the everyday resilience of fisherfolk, living by hope, work, and faith, confronting a global problem: the erasure of a people's historical existence by power structures and neo-colonial moves on the high seas,' he added. The Louth International Film Festival, established in 2019, is presented by the Louth Filmmakers Society in association with the Dundalk Institute of Technology. With patrons including Hollywood director John Moore and acclaimed cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (ASC, BSC), it was founded to support emerging filmmakers and celebrate creative, challenging, and evocative cinema from around the globe. The County of Louth, located on the East Coast of Ireland, is "imbued with a long and rich history of arts and music, culture and folklore," according to the film festival website.

Source: Philippines News Agency