THE KALAMPAG TRACKING AGENCY:
AN EVENING OF FILM FROM THE PHILIPPINES
SPANNING THE PAST 30 YEARS
Dir. Various, 1985–2015
Various, 67 min.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 – 8:00 PM ** ONE NIGHT ONLY! **
Spectacle is pleased to host The Kalampag Tracking Agency for an evening of film from the Philippines spanning the past 30 years. Filmmaker Gym Lumbera, artist Miko Revereza, and guest curator Lian Ladia will join us for a Q&A after the program.
The Kalampag Tracking Agency is a curatorial and organizational collaboration between Shireen Seno and Merv Espina. Overcoming institutional and personal lapses to give attention to little-seen works—some quite recent, some surviving loss and decomposition—this program collects loose parts in motion, a series of bangs, or kalampag in Tagalog, assembled by their individual strengths and how they might resonate off each other and a contemporary audience. Featuring some of the most striking films and videos from the Philippines and its diaspora, this initiative continues to navigate the uncharted topographies of Filipino alternative and experimental moving image practice from the past 30 years.
All works in this program are screened with the kind permission of the individual artists, the Mowelfund Film Institute and the Ateneo Art Gallery.
Dir. Miko Revereza, 2014
Philippines/USA, 7 min. 21 sec.
A Super 8 tourist film about the Los Angeles landscape through the lens of Filipino immigrants, examining cultural identity bydocumenting the intersections of American pop culture and Filipino traditions.
Miko Revereza was born in Manila and grew up in the San Francisco bay area. Since relocating to Los Angeles in 2010, he’s worked primarily on music videos and live video art installations for L.A.’s experimental music scene. His personal films explore identity and the Americanization of the Filipino immigrant.
MINSAN ISANG PANAHON
Aka ONCE UPON A TIME
Dir. Melchor Bacani III, 1989
Philippines, 4 min.
An experiment in optical printing using Super 8 home movies and hand-colored found film material. The film was created during the influential Christoph Janetzko workshops, conducted in 1989 and 1990, in collaboration with Mowelfund Film Institute, Goethe Institut and the Philippine Information Agency.
Melchor Bacani III was an active staple of the Mowelfund Film Institute (MFI) film workshops in the late 80s and early 90s, creating several films in the process.
Dir. Roxlee, 1985
Philippines, 5 min. 22 sec.
An experimental animation, decidedly crude in approach, part sociopolitical commentary and surrealist whimsy, advocating for a new and personal take on the alphabet.
Roxlee is an icon of underground Philippine cinema. Apart from making animated and collage films, he is also a comic-strip artist known for ‘Cesar Asar’ and ‘Santingwar’. In the late 80s, he was featured in retrospectives in Hamburg and Berlin. In 2010, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Animation Council of the Philippines.
BUGTONG: ANG SIGAW NI LALAKE
Aka RIDDLE: THE SHOUT OF MAN
Dir. RJ Leyran, 1990
Philippines, 3 min. 20 sec.
Rumoured to have used footage salvaged from a commercial studio dumpster, the film is a commentary on Filipino on-screen macho culture and one of the rare surviving works in the brief filmmaking career of Ramon ‘RJ’ Leyran. It was a product of the last Christoph Janetzko film workshop, with a focus on experiments with optical printers, held in 1990.
RJ Leyran was active on and off screen in the late 80s and early 90s independent film communities. He was also an actor in several television soap operas, commercials, and movies, including Radio (2001), Ikaw Lamang Hanggang Ngayon (2002) and The Great Raid (2005).
VERY SPECIFIC THINGS AT NIGHT
Dir. John Torres, 2011
Philippines, 4 min. 29 sec
A mobile phone film that captures the peculiar tension between the beauty, violence, and raw exuberance of New Year’s Eve in Manila. Shot on Mahiyain Street (Shy Street), Sikatuna, a stone’s throw away from the house of Chavit Singson, who also led the masses to bring then President Estrada out of the presidential palace.
A poet among Filipino filmmakers who work outside the commercial film industry, John Torres has developed an idiosyncratic cinematic syntax, often using on or off-screen spoken texts, including the poetry of local authors. The imagery and structure of his films are not prosaic, but associative and fragmented.
Aka JOHNNY CRAWL
Dir. Roxlee, 1986
Philippines, 7 min. 18 sec.
A man searches for his destiny while crawling the streets of the metropolis at the height of the Marcos dictatorship, traversing the main EDSA thoroughfare, and tracing the shadows of the pillars of the Manila Film Center, all just before the People Power Revolution and the storming of EDSA that toppled the Marcos regime.
Roxlee is an animator, visual artist, musician, and filmmaker, working with the barest of materials to conjure powerful images with biting humor. His book ‘Cesar Asar in the Planet of the Noses,’ a collection of his cartoons and short stories, was published in 2008.
CHOP-CHOPPED FIRST LADY + CHOP-CHOPPED FIRST DAUGHTER
Dir. Yason Banal, 2005
Philippines, 1 min. 54 sec.
A tongue-in-cheek poke at our own culture and recent history. The First Lady is none other than Imelda Marcos, the First Daughter none other than Kris Aquino. Both women’s lives and antics juxtaposed with gory evocations of the highly-publicized chop-chop lady murders that were exploited by those 90s slasher films Aquino herself starred in.
*This was piece was last shown as a 2channel video installation at the Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG), and is reformatted as split screen for the purposes of this screening program, with kind permission from the artist and AAG.
Yason Banal studied Film at the University of the Philippines and Fine Art at Goldsmiths College-University of London. He has exhibited widely in Manila and abroad at the Tate, Frieze Art Fair, Guangzhou Triennale, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, AIT Tokyo, Singapore Biennale, Oslo Kunsthall, Christie’s, IFA Berlin, Shanghai Biennale and Queens Museum of Art.
THE RETROCHRONOLOGICAL TRANSFER OF INFORMATION
Dir. Tad Ermitaño, 1994
Philippines, 9 min. 33 sec.
Less a documentary than a marvelous if irreverent parody of science fiction films. A humorous meditation on time, politics, and point of view in cinema. Hoping to send a message back in time by equipping the camera to shoot through Rizal’s portrait on Philippine money, Ermitano plays with the boundaries of different points of view: Rizal’s, that of Philippine politics, the camera’s, the filmmaker’s, and ours—as well as with the temporal relations between them.
Tad Ermitano studied biology at the University of Hiroshima, philosophy at the University of the Philippines, trained in film and video at MFI, and was co-founder of pioneering multimedia collective Children of Cathode Ray.
Dir. Raya Martin, 2011
Philippines, 1 min. 13 sec.
A conquistador counts his blessings in this hand-colored effigy evoking old, silent war iconography. Commissioned by the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2011, it screened before all films supported by IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund.
Raya Martin has more than a dozen films to his credit: an ambitious, constantly evolving body of work consisting of fiction features, documentaries, shorts, and installations. Martin draws on a wide array of sources—combining pop culture references, archival material, and avant-garde structuralism—in his radically lyrical works. This daring, restless filmmaker with a sensibility all his own suggests entirely new ways of approaching film, personal, and national history.
Dir. Tito & Tita, 2012
Philippines, 4 min. 41 sec.
Shot on a single roll of expired 16mm film, this ‘photography film’ injects evokes faded memories and injects lyricism and humor into the archetypal class picture, alongside the fleeting sound of waves crashing on a beach.
Tito & Tita (Manila, Philippines) is a collective of young artists working mainly with film and photography via a variation of experimental techniques. As individual filmmakers, their works have been featured in various film festivals and art fairs. As a collective, they have exhibited in Manila, Singapore, and Tokyo.
Dir. Martha Atienza, 2012
Philippines/Netherlands, 8 min. 8 sec.
An animistic festival Christianized and incorporated into Folk Catholicism slowly turns into modern day madness. A tragicomic portrait of a small island town whose livelihood is deeply rooted in and bound to the sea.
Martha Atienza lives and works in the Netherlands and the Philippines. Her works are sociological in nature, reflecting a keen observation of her direct environment. Atienza understands her surroundings as a landscape of people first and foremost.
HINDI SA ATIN ANG BUWAN
Aka THE MOON IS NOT OURS
Dir. Jon Lazam, 2011
Philippines, 3 min. 31 sec.
Travel footage from a family holiday on the island of Bohol, Philippines, is captured in black and white, without sound, on a basic video camera, in this contemplative piece on lost love, distance, resignation and sadness.
Jon Lazam is an experimental filmmaker based in Manila. His works have screened abroad in Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Montreal, Paris and San Francisco. His most recent work, Pantomime For Figures Shrouded By Waves, premiered at the Sharjah Biennial, and won Best Short Film at the Cinemanila International Film Festival.
Dir. Cesar Hernando, Eli Guieb III & Jimbo Albano, 1989
Philippines, 6 min. 33 sec.
One of the most prominent and well-crafted films that emerged from the Christoph Janetzko experimental film workshops, Kalawang is a satirical piece that uses found footage of war, sex, and pop culture to unpick the cultural and libidinal complex of colonization.
Cesar Hernando is a filmmaker and one of Philippine cinema’s best production designers, having contributed to films of Mike De Leon, Ishmael Bernal, and Lav Diaz. Eli Guieb III is a filmmaker and award-winning fiction writer. Jimbo Albano is an artist and editorial illustrator for BusinessMirror and Philippines Graphic Magazine.
This program would be impossible to put together without the kind support of the individual artists, the Mowelfund Film Institute, UP College of Mass Communications, UP Film Institute, Ateneo Art Gallery, Green Papaya Art Projects, Terminal Garden, and the National Film Archive of the Philippines.
The screening prints of the 8mm and 16mm films created in the 80s and 90s that are featured in the Kalampag Tracking Agency are mostly unavailable, missing or completely decomposed. Some of the lucky ones have negatives and/or preservation copies left. The screening versions of the older works in this screening program come from crude U-Matic, VHS and Betamax transfers. The curatorial team is still in the process of tracking down the surviving prints.
An expanded version of this program was previously shown at the University of the Philippines Film Institute, Green Papaya Art Projects, and EXiS Experimental Film and Video Festival in Seoul, August–September 2014.