Filipino-American filmmaker Ida Anita Del Mundo, who directed the critically-acclaimed film K'na the Dreamweaver, returned to the 19th edition of Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival with two short films under the Asian Film Alliance Network (AFAN) Special Screening Section Section on August 9, 2023.
The AFAN subsection of the festival showcased Del Mundo’s Never Again (2022) and Anna, Greta, Sophie, and the Rainforest (2023) along with four award-winning Asian short films.
Never Again tells the story of Vera, a Filipino-American New Yorker who hires an undocumented Filipino nurse to care for her estranged father, who has been diagnosed with dementia. Never Again explores historical revisionism on a micro level—zooming in on the Filipino family to tackle the political act of forgetting. It further sheds light on the Escalante Massacre, which happened in September 1985 in Escalante, Negros Occidental, under the Marcos administration. The film recounts the massacre of 20 civilians, including farm workers known as sacadas, by government paramilitary forces at a rally commemorating the 13th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.
Anna, Greta, Sophie, and the Rainforest, on the other hand, depicts a dystopian future in which nature can only be remembered but not truly experienced. Reminiscent of the Covid-19 pandemic, Del Mundo’s dystopian vision features respirators, lockdowns, curfews, and indoor plants. With its powerful narrative and simple yet striking set design, this four-minute short shows how three generations of women use technology and memory to bring humanity into an otherwise desolate world.
Del Mundo came into the limelight for her first feature film, K’na, the Dreamweaver, which premiered at the 2014 Cinemalaya Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize and Best Production Design award. K’na the Dreamweaver also won the top prize at the 2015 Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto, Canada.
Curated by film programmer and producer Lorna Tee, the AFAN Special Screening also featured Grandma by Anthony Chen, Kara, the Daughter of a Tree by Edwin, It’s Easier to Raise Cattle by Amanda Nell Eu, and Mountain Cat by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir.