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The Joy of Sharing_Advocacy filmmaking

October 27, 2012

Sense of fulfillment. Joy of sharing ideas and information. Psychic rewards. They are not BUY-products. But they are what I earn and my gains whenever I manage to finish ONE advocacy film. Since it’s always a struggle for me to make a film because of lack of means and support, a TRIUMPHANT feeling automatically wraps my being when I finally get to publicly show and share it to the society, specifically meant for our people.

That is what even my best of friends cannot understand and find quite difficult to accept. Making personal films that advocate for a cause – not to entertain them but to present realities that tend to separate us from the marginalized sector that I focus my lens on. However, sharing my experiences to those who do not even know me but are spongy enough to absorb and go deeper with me as I traverse different worlds that lead to their appreciation and learning at the same time is JOY.

In the two-day seminar-workshop on visual research methods that I attended day before yesterday, I talked about my films that focus on autism and deafness in the Philippines; my historical documentary with anti-war sentiments, and showed snippets from a commissioned short film on Non-Handicapping Environment that touches on persons with disability problems because of partial or non-compliance of the Philippine Accessibility Law. With the currently raging issue on what sign language to use in the Philippines – whether Signing Exact English [SEE] that fully uses American Sign Language [ASL], or Filipino Sign Language, an ASL-influenced sign language form, Silent Odyssey, made four years ago, becomes quite relevant as it stresses on, and upholds/advocates for the use and recognition of FSL as the national sign language of Deaf Filipinos. Pounding more on the issue is the first-ever interpretation in Filipino Sign Language of five nationalistic and most popular poems of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal [1861-1896]primarily made to provide Deaf access to information.

The decision to take and pursue the film making path that advocates for the cause of sped/PWDs – subjects which some of my friends find gross – was caused by Alyana, the docu sparked by a niece with autism. They used to ask, “Why don’t you make drama films with known “stars”? Ahh! What can be more dramatic and poignant than dealing with real lives, real people? Anyway, they finally got tired and quieted down.

There are no pecuniary gains from advocacy filmmaking as I’ve earlier said. It’s just enjoying a more meaningful existence for oneself, and yes, the joy of being able to share the experiences from the long, sometimes arduous journey of having to run after people considered “Others” by narrow-minded individuals. It’s a give and take process. I learn, then share knowledge, thoughts, and feelings. It’s a point of no return.

Advocacy filmmaking, anyone?

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