What to expect from the TINGIN Asean Film Festival

The cast of 'Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria.'

Spearheaded by the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the first ever TINGIN Asean Film Festival seeks to provide a venue for Asean filmmakers to showcase their exemplary work and share stories on their respective cultures through the films.

Forums will be held on the first four days of the five-day festival. A dozen films will be screened and the list of featured films is divided into two: the Official Selection and the Tastemakers Selection.

Here are a few interesting picks from the Official Selection:

The Philippines’ entry is “Ang Damago ni ELuteria Kirchbaum,” directed by Remton Zoasola. It tells the story of Terya, a simple island girl from Cebu who is bound to leave home to marry a foreigner. The story takes place during the Baliw-Baliw Festival, and presents Terya’s mindset as she faces her destiny.

“Ilo-Ilo,” a film by Anthony Chen, is a Singaporean film that could easily appeal to Filipino viewers. Teresa, a domestic helper in search of a better life, forges an unusual bond with the troublesome son of her employers. The family drama is set against the looming Asian Financial Crisis.

Thailand’s official entry, “The Island Funeral,” is essentially a road movie with a substantive story to tell. Laila, her brother and a friend travel from Bangkok to Pattani to visit a long-lost aunt. The three are hurled into a world of radical conflict and opposing political ideologies, a world that is more complicated than what they’re used to. The film is directed by Pimpaka Towira, who is currently Program Director for the Singapore International Film Festival.

Vietnam’s ‘Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass’ and Thailand’s ‘The Island Funeral.’

“Kayan Beauties” gives a sneak peek into the lives of Kayan women from Myanmar. More than the story of the main protagonists, it is a reflection of the discrimination and dangers their ethnicity is subjected to. It won best cinematography for director Aung Ki Latt at the 56th Myanmar Academy Awards.

There are four other films in the Official Selection: Cambodia’s “Victim,” Vietnam’s “Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass,” Indonesia’s “Solo, Solitude,” and Malaysia’s “Wayang.”

The Tastemakers Selection comprises of films handpicked by the invited tastemakers: UP Film Institute’s Patrick Campos, film producer Moira Lang, and actor-producer Piolo Pascual.

“Golden Slumbers,” a tastemaker pick, uncovers the origin and demise of Cambodian cinema through the lens of French-Canadian filmmaker Davy Chou. This film will kick off the festival on October 11.

“Jagat,” a sleeper hit in Malaysia, is a coming-of-age tale of Appoy, a boy growing up in a community of Tamil Immigrants. First-time director Shanjhey Kumar Perumal directs.

The two other Tastemaker choices are “Dearest Sister” from Laos and “A Yellow Bird” from Singapore. The latter is Piolo Pascual’s personal pick.

The TINGIN Asean Film Festival runs from October 11 to 15 at the Shang Cineplex of the Shangri-La Mall.