The Active Vista International Human Rights Film Festival is currently holding its 9th edition online. The annual event always opens on the anniversary of the declaration of martial law, its program designed specifically to educate people on the horrors of the past, as well as the progress we have yet to make in defending human rights in the Philippines.
The festival makes several films available to stream online. Its opening week is headlined by a pair of documentaries. Alyx Arumpac's Aswang is a snapshot of the drug war taken from the streets, eschewing official statements from people in power, instead telling the story of the people most affected by it. Lauren Greenfield's The Kingmaker begins as a profile of Imelda Marcos, then spirals into a pointed examination of the continued negative influence of the Marcos family on the country as a whole.
Also of note is the film adaptation of the one woman stage show Tao Po, which has Mae Paner delivering a series of monologues from characters based on real people, providing different, tragic perspectives on the war on drugs.
Also in the lineup for the first week are Treb Montreras' hip hop social drama Respeto, Aureus Solito's high school coming-of-age story Pisay, Benjamin Mique's violent thriller ML.
From September 27 to October 4, the festival will stream three more films: Raymond Red's airplane heist movie Himpapawid, Paolo Villaluna's absurdist road movie Pauwi Na, and Glenn Barit's much-lauded hybrid animated feature Cleaners.
Starting October 5, the festival pays tribute to the late Joseph Israel Laban, showing three of his features: Nuwebe, Cuchera, and Bakunawa. Special screenings of Lav Diaz’s Genus Pan, and Himala: Isang Diyalektika ng Ating Panahon will also be available to stream.
Apart from these paid screenings, the Active Vista Facebook page will be broadcasting other film works. Mike de Leon’s freeform documentary Signos, Marcial Bonifacio’s Betamax ‘83, the collaborative work Finding Ninoy, and three short films from filmmaker Cha Roque will all be streamed live. Their Facebook page will also be the stage for a film music workshop run by Francis de Veyra, and musical performances from Noel Cabangon and Ang Bandang Shirley.
The festival will also hold talks and forums on subjects related to the history of martial law and human rights in the Philippines.