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Workshop with Paolo Villaluna

On the fourth day of the Festival, the audience had the opportunity to see the film Pedicab by the Filipino director Paolo Villaluna and participate in the workshop with the director.

Winner of the Golden Goblet at the 20th International Film Festival in Shanghai, Villaluna is part of the so-called Filipino new wave, an unofficial film movement arising in the early nineties. Although it is not a formal movement, the proliferation of young directors and independent films that have taken place in the Philippines over the last ten years, quickly drew the attention of the film world. Villaluna points to the digital cinema and the accessibility of digital equipment as the causes of the emergence of so many new films and authors ‒ Pedicab was made with a budget of 50.000 Euro in ten days.

Although the Philippines already had an active film industry, there were few independent productions before digital film, while today, Villaluna claims, out of the 150 films produced annually, almost half are independent productions. This was a step forward towards not only action films, comedies and romances, but also personal, authorial works, such as Pedicab. The director claims that in the Philippines, the auteur film has a wide cinema audience, interested in films about the Filipino character that explore class, history, and religion of the people.

Pedicab is a film about a poor Filipino family from Manila, who decide to leave the city and go look for a better life in the province. They set out on the journey in the only thing they own ‒ a pedicab, used by the father of the family to transport vegetables and earn a living. Although immersed in devastating poverty, Villaluna’s characters remain a family at all times and find the will to live in each other.

The director pointed out that he did not want to make a film for Europeans, which means that poverty is only a framework for investigating the Filipino character and that the film, in essence, had to go above poverty, as Villaluna says, so that he can speak authentically about the people he represents.

Like Lav Diaz, who was last year’s guest of Kustendorf, Villaluna also insists on film questions the Philippine society and provokes the possibility of change. These provocations are not the result of anger, but come exclusively from the commitment the director has toward his environment ‒ Pedicab is a great proof of that.