ALYANA in Indang_”truly inspiring” and “an eye-opener”February 27, 2014
Yesterday, I went to Cavite State University [CSU] in Indang to show ALYANA, my documentary on autism; it was my second time to set my foot there. The campus looks quite different from what I remember it to be the first time I went there over five years ago to screen my first digital feature-length documentary [TIGA-ISLA], a historical film that focuses on my father’s birthplace: Corregidor, and their socio-cultural lives in the island before World War II.
The organizers: members of Autism Society Philippines ALFONSO Chapter and the CSU Special Education volunteers are a handful but the effort they exerted in their first attempt and collaboration as a team were evident and rewarded by the viewer’s attendance and reaction to the film.
ASP National President Jan Pena was present to give her wholehearted support to the activity of ASP Alfonso Chapter. After the first screening, several parents of PWA’s and professors of CSU approached me to thank for the educational documentary with first-hand information on autism that gave them new perspective and surely, a better understanding of persons with autism.
The reaction to the film of ASP Alfonso Secretary Noleth Villeanueva-Rozul, mother of a child with ADHD, in an email that I received from her is kind of poignant. It further encouraged me though as an advocacy filmmaker since her reaction confirmed the film’s impact and timelessness— even after eight years from the time the film was made— things I hoped for while making the documentary which took me two and-a-half years to finish. She writes and I quote verbatim:
“at first i thought that the film is just a story of a child with autism which I am familliar with but as the film continue on rolling i felt that my tears are already dropping into my face not because of sympathy but i was able to relate to the story because i have a son with a.d.h.d….
the film tackles all the aspect of autism, the scientific and medical aspect, the education and training but one thing my heart and my soul would be forever remember the mom and the unconditional love for her child…talagang hagulgol ako sa kakaiyak because i know how hard it is to have a special child…the denial stage, the grieving…ako nga it takes 4 years for me to accept my son’s condition talagang pinagsakluban ng langit at lupa pinagdaanan ko rin lahat yun and for sure hindi lang ako marami kami dito sa bayan ng alfonso…and that is the reason why us parents of pwd of alfonso are bind together…natagpuan namin ang isa’t-isa naghuhugutan ng lakas at tapang upang harapin ang condition ng aming mga anak…nagsusumikap upang mabigyan sila ng pagkakataon na makapamuhay sa makatarungan at makataong lipunan…truly dakila ang gumawa ng film na alyana because it made me realize that I am on the right track towards my son’s need…, my advocacy ….my dream and i know someday kapag pumikit na ang aking mga mata my son and the rest of special children of alfonso would have a better future…independent and productive member of the society…
truly inspiring mas lalo pa kaming magsusumikap with god’s grace and sa pagalalay ng autism society philippines…. hope this is just a start of a journey towards hope and unconditional love for this special children.”
Other members of ASP expressed the same sentiments and reaction. Sped students who watched the film “without being forced to” [CSU students were not required to attend the film screening in other words] also said that they have learned a lot; some even got convinced by my premise that only through understanding their condition would we be able to enter what most people say, “sariling mundo ng mga may autismo.” One of the high school students from Victorious Montessori College who viewed the film surprised me when he said while they were trooping out: “Maganda po ang film.” It is because I am rather wary in showing my film[s] to high school students because of their “heavy” content. I felt rather “victorious” since my thinking never changes— that even if one among thousands of viewers gets touched; has change of heart and attitude towards persons with autism, my effort wouldn’t be useless. So far, the number of people the film touches each time the film is shown has always been more than one based on expressed reactions…
For CSU’s Sped Professor Mr. Jason Maniacop, the film “… is an eye-opener for people who do not understand what autism is. It actually gives us a perspective that we do not understand before watching the film. Nakakatuwa ring isipin na sa pamamagitan ng dokumentaryong ito ay mas maraming tao ang makakaunawa sa autismo.”
For the welfare and future of their children, may the members of ASP Alfonso Chapter do not get tired with the work of advocating for their rights in the society! And may their chapter members increase and the collaboration between them and the CSU grow more actively through the years!!!