Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Auraeus Solito's 'Busong' is going to Cannes

A Pinoy film entitled Busong, directed by Auraeus Solito was chosen to be among the 21 feature films that will be shown during the Cannes' Directors Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival which will be held on May 11 to 22, 2011, in the resort town of Cannes, the south of France.

Festival director Frederic Boyer had this to say about the selection of the film:
"I am thinking about a film we found from Southern Philippines... that transcends the border between documentary and fiction. The film deals with animism and is very close to nature. It has been shot without any apparent wish to be selected in Cannes or to be picked by a co-producer."

Auraeus Solito directed the successful indie film "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros" (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) which was nominated for the grand jury prize in the Sundance Film Festival in 2006. Solito says that "Busong" is part of a trilogy that revolves around Palawan. It was inspired by stories that Solito’s mother told him about her native Palawan when he was a child. In an interview, he explained that “Busong” is the indigenous Palawanon concept of fate or instant karma. “What you do to nature, you do to yourself,” he said. “Busong” is set in present Palawan while the other two planned films will tackle the picturesque province’s past, “Delubyo (Deluge),” and future, “Sumbang (Origin).” “Busong” itself is composed of three segments: “Forest,” “Sea” and “Mountain.”

He recounted how “Busong,” which features a cameo by Australian actor Chris Haywood, got considered for Directors’ Fortnight. “I attended the Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum where the Cannes programmers took a peek of my latest work,” Solito began. “Some of them said that they haven’t seen anything like it before. Then Jeremy, who often goes to Manila to look for potential Filipino film entries, and Frederic Boyer saw the footage. They told me to submit a DVD.”
“I only found out later that Frederic is the artistic director of the Directors’ Fortnight!” Solito revealed. “He emailed me and said, ‘I am so honored to have your unique and wonderful film. Everybody in the selection committee loves your ‘Busong.’ After we saw it, we sent the invitation to you 10 minutes afterward. We feel good and happy with it and we will celebrate ‘Busong’ very soon.’”

Solito is grateful to Cinemalaya for providing “the seed money to make this film possible.” He said that “…Maximo,” which won three awards in the Berlinale, and “Philippine Science” were also made possible by Cinemalaya. “I’m especially thankful to Nes Jardin, Laurice Guillen and Robbie Tan who have been supportive of my art all these years,” he added.

Ever proud of his tribal roots and Filipino heritage, Solito announced that when he walks on the Cannes red carpet, he will be “wearing a barong with piƱa cloth woven by my tribe. We are going all out Filipiniana.” Solito’s barong will be made by designer Oliver Tolentino, himself an acclaimed proponent of Philippine fabrics.

The last time Filipino Pride ran extremely high on Cannes was suring the 2009 Cannes Film Festival when Brillante Mendoza was honored as Best Director for his film "Kinatay". Unfortunately, that news was horribly been overshadowed here in the Philippines by the Katrina Halili Sex Scandal issue which haunted local news during that season (read the report on Mendoza's Cannes Victory here and my reflections on this topic here). Hopefully, this time we give attention this time to things that do indeed glorify the Filipino Film Industry.

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