July 19, 2024

Homegrown Cordilleran film, “The Wedding Dance”, is hoping for its local showing after its screening in the 20th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival on Aug. 2 to 11.  

“The Wedding Dance”, based on the beloved short story of Amador T. Daguio, will be part of the 10 films which will be screened during the 20-year anniversary of the film festival.

“We will still negotiate for screenings post-Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. We hope that the local mall will allow it,” Julius Lumiqued, director of the film, said.

Netizens and supporters of the film were quick to ask for a local screening after a short clip was released by the filmmakers in their Facebook account, The Wedding Dance.

Lumiqued, a Besao, Mountain Province native, said they are proud to create a film championing Cordilleran culture and literature with that of Daguio, who is from Tabuk, Kalinga, as well as local talents. 

But the decision is a challenging one for them, especially in securing funds for his first full-length film.

“Because we insisted on purely local actors, national production houses have declined us. We also have seen the difficulty of finding local funding. Due to the delays in the release of our grants, we had to delay shoot schedules,” Lumiqued said.

Despite a meager budget, Lumiqued said they powered-through with the local actors and crew. The film’s scenes were shot in Sagada, Mountain Province; Awichon in Lubuagan, Kalinga; and some in Baguio City.

He hopes the film will bring to the fore regional stories, as well as the strength of local actors as part of the film industry.

“We hope that local nuances in stories will be seen on a wider scale, national and international. Moreover, we also hope to refresh the people’s awareness of literary gems by homegrown writers like that of Amador T. Daguio and the late great writer Sinai Hamada of Baguio City,” he said. 

Along with building up the Cordilleran film industry, he hopes that local support to the industry would also be strengthened.

The film features the talented casts: Mai Fanglayan (who headlined “Tanabata’s Wife” in 2018) as Lumnay, Arvin Balageo (“14 Days, Montañosa Film Festival”) as Awiyao, and Christal Dagupen as Madulimay, with the special participations of Arnel Banasan, Remedios Baltao, and Rebecca Saclag, among others.

Lumiqued, also the director of “Dad-aan Na, Cinemarya Short 2020”, served as the director and wrote the screenplay, with Richard Cawed of “Butas, Cinemalaya Short 2016”, as director of photography/cinematographer, May-i Padilla of “Tanabata’s Wife” as editor; Kurt Alalag for the film’s score; Rochelle Bakisan and Winston Awing for the production design; art director is Alfred Bawing; line producer is Giul Sanchez; Fanglayan as executive producer; Lumiqued, Mira Ticlao, and May-i Padilla as producers; associate producers are Giul Sanchez and Handiong Kapuno with Rosswil Hilario as assistant director; and Jerusalem Ham as cameraman.

“We hope that we can jumpstart dreams of fellow dreamers of making their films, and that we will hope and see if this opens further opportunities for the Cordilleran filmmakers to explore, share and, as much as possible, earn from it. As any other art, we lose the ‘starving artist’ notion, and prove that the regional film industry is also an industry. We are still hopeful that more writers, producers and directors will come from the Cordillera,” Lumiqued said. – Ofelia C. Empian