Native Spirit Film Festival returns to London’s historic Bloomsbury to present contemporary Indigenous Film, Native Media and Artists, partnering with Bloomsbury Festival and event participants with UNESCO 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages #IYIL2019
MARK YOUR CALENDARS – Saturday 12th October 2-10pm
We invite you to join us for our Festival Opening on Indigenous Peoples Day (Americas) collaboration with Institute of Latin American Studies; SOAS World Languages Institute and Philippine Studies at SOAS.
2-4pm – THE COURT ROOM, SENATE HOUSE, INSTITUTE OF LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES. Entry £8-10 donation Register here
INDIGENOUS ELECTRONIC ARTS FILM SHORTS and DIGITAL BODYPAINTING with Thydêwá Director Sebastián Gerlic and Dr Thea Pitman; INDIGENOUS BRAZIL: GUARDING THE FOREST Reuters filmmaker Max Baring reports from the frontline with Guajajara warriors fighting back against the destruction of their Amazonian home; guest speaker Gabi SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL
5-9.30pm – SOAS BRUNEI GALLERY THEATRE WC1H 0XG Entry £10 Register here
Filipino Textile Display and Reception tbc
We’re honoured to announce Special guest artist ZENA EDWARDS will open our 13th Native Spirit Festival with ‘CHILL PILL’ playing !Xuma mouthbow from the Kalahari desert while singing Afro Blue – a tribute to her Grandfather
Gala Film KNA THE DREAMWEAVER award-winning independent film, K’na the Dreamweaver, a Princess faces a call to duty. T’boli language (English subtitles) presented by Director and writer Ida Anita del Mundo
Ida Anita del Mundo, writer, director and musician, weaves an uncompromising, compelling tale of love, bravery and destiny set against the hauntingly beautiful Lake Sebu in South Cotabato with the T’boli who revere weavers of t’nalak, a sacred cloth inspired by dreams that are seeded by a goddess. K’na (Mara Lopez) a T’boli princess is being groomed to translate the dreams into patterns of abaca fibers dyed red, white or black. Those fibers begin to appear each day, tied to a bough outside K’na’s sleeping area, tributes from Silaw (RK Bagatsing), a besotted young man whose family harvests the plants.
As a child, K’na (Hezel Ann Sulan) is already exposed to the intricate T’boli tradition of weaving. As she matures into a beautiful, young lady (Mara Lopez), K’na is guided and prepared by her grandmother Be Lampey (Erlinda Villalobos) to be their clan’s next dreamweaver. Amidst their peaceful residence off the waters of Lake Sebu, constant threat from their mother tribe shakes the villagers. All of this, because of a generations-old betrayal that continues to haunt the lineage of Be Lampey.
In the majesty of their humble abode, love blossomed between K’na and Silaw (RK Bagatsing), an abaca farmer. For a while it was good, and fleeting, like the world around them vanished in an instant. But conflict arose because K’na is of royalty, being the chieftain Lobong Ditan’s (Nonie Buencamino) daughter. And when opportunity presented itself for peace, K’na is offered as a future wife to Kagis (Alex Medina), the son of the opposing tribe’s leader (Bembol Roco).
Writer-Director Ida Anita Del Mundo understood simplicity in her storytelling. There are no grand plot twists, outrageous dialogue or deus ex machina to her narrative which allowed further immersion into the rich culture of the T’boli, where tradition is paramount and subservience to their elders is indelible. The various colors of the abaca and the meanings they represent are discussed in detail, and in later scenes in the film we witness as the strands of abaca become characters themselves. They take a shape of their own in the story.
The changing of the season, the stillness of the water, and even the vivid colors of the flowers and lilies are all expertly captured by Lee Briones’ eye for detail. To complement that si Toym Imao’s award-winning production design for the film, which brought to life a whole village steeped in history. Del Mundo knew how to utilize her environment as elements. Nature did the storytelling.
Mara Lopez shines as if a real-life princess torn between her heart and her duty. Nonie Buencamino avoided the pitfalls of portraying a father who has to impose marriage on her daughter, and in doing so has created a figure that is loving, without losing authority. Even Erlinda Villalobos as Be Lampey is remarkable, subtle in her ways and projecting her character’s wisdom with grace. Reviewed by: Macky Macarayan