The 12th Silent Film Festival is back at SM Cinema from August 30 - September 2 (FREE ADMISSION)

The International Silent Film Festival Manila (ISFFM), renowned as the first and oldest silent film festival in Southeast Asia, it is having its 12th installment this 2018.  Founded in 2007, the festival was a unique collaborative initiative led by the Goethe Institut Philippinen together with the Japan Foundation - Manila, and the Instituto Cervantes.  The festival has grown as it continues to celebrate arts and cultural heritage through international silent films with live music, scored by Filipino artists.  This year, there are eight participating countries to celebrate yet another year of intercultural collaboration---- Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, U.S. and the Philippines.  

Happening from August 30 to September 2, the ISFFM is partnering with SM Megamall to screen eight (8) silent films.  The participating embassies and cultural institutions include:  the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the Goethe Institut Philippinen, the Philippine-Italian Association, Japan Foundation-Manila, Instituto Cervantes and the Embassies of the United States of America, Austria and France. 

Admission is free, on a first come, first served basis.  

ITALY - August 30, Thursday, 8:00 pm

Film Title: Rapsodia Satanica (Satanic Rhapsody)
Total Running Time: 41 mins
Production Year: 1915-1917; Restored by Cineteca di Bologna in 2015
Cast: Lyda Borelli, Andrea Habay, Ugo Bazzini, Giovanni Cini
Film Director: Nino Oxilia
Genre: Italian Stylish Melodrama; based on a poem by Fausto Maria Martini and inspired by the aesthetic of Gabriele D'Annunzio
An ageing Italian aristocrat, Dame Alba d' Oltrevita (Lyda Borelli), willing to find a second youth, discovers a particular and special solution for her beauty problems: a pact with the devil. However, as for Faust, also for Dame Alba things don't go as expected...
Rapsodia Satanica is the most important of those stylish melodramas made in Italy in the early silent days that gave prestige to the unique style of Italy’s film productions.  It is considered a 360 degrees artwork for its literary inspirations (mainly decadent movement), its Liberty scenery and indoor settings as well as for the skilled performance of Lyda Borelli, star of the Italian silent cinema.

Accompanying Musician: MilesExperience

MilesExperience is a local band that started out as a blues band in 2011, with nothing but making music on their minds.  Wishing to find and better express themselves through their music, though, they revamped their image in 2014 into something unique, something barely heard of in the local music scene, something they felt was their own.
The group hails from the UST Conservatory of Music from different programs and is currently made up of five members: Miles Bondoc on vocals and guitar, Tim Dadivas on drums, Ian Diaz on bass, Guido Hizon on keyboards, and Justin Teaño on guitar.

PHILIPPINES – August 31, Friday, 7:00 pm

Title: This Is Not A Lost Film
Total Running Time: 60 mins
Year Released: Varied
Cast: Varied
Film Director: Khavn
Genre: Found-footage Horror

 Featuring “The Lost Film Triology” which is composed of “FILIPINIANA”, “ASWANG (1933)” and “JUAN TAMAD GOES TO THE MOON (1898)”; and an excerpt from “NITRATE: To the Ghosts of the 75 Lost Philippine Silent Films (1912-1933).”

1. Film Title: FILIPINIANA

Total Running Time: 13:27

Year Released: 2016

Featured Artists in Film: Khavn, Ian Lomongo, Robin Palmes, Raul Funilas, Kelly De La Cruz, Leocaccio XXIII

Synopsis: History is a dead cow in a funnel pretending to be a detuned bassoon serenading the moon halved by expectations not so great that new emperors bow their decapitated heads but 3 cakes are always better than 3 cents in this madly turning world peeking pecking ducktards for a midnight snack on the run.

2. Film Title: ASWANG (1933)

Total Running Time: 7:22

Year Released: 2017

Featured Artists in Film: Khavn, Kristine Kintana, Daniel Palisa, Lily Nicolas-Cruz

Synopsis: The first film made in the Philippines to feature optically recorded sound was George Musser’s Ang Aswang (The Vampire). In 1932, Musser imported php 50,000 worth of optical sound equipment and turned his house into a studio. He spent a year shooting the film with Charles Miller as his cinematographer and William Smith as his soundman. Despite its Tagalog title, the film was actually recorded in Spanish and English. The film opened to acclaim at the Lyric on January 1, 1933; then at the Tivoli on January 4. Unfortunately, according to some observers, the sound was sometimes out of sync and inaudible.

3. Film Title: JUAN TAMAD GOES TO THE MOON (1898)

Total Running Time: 4:35

Year Released: 2018

Featured Artists in Film: Khavn, Santie Navarro, Felix Opeña

Synopsis: Three years before George Melies' "Le Voyage dans la Lune" and ten years before Segundo de Chomon's "Excursion En La Luna", indigenous proto-surrealist Philippine filmmaker Narding Salome Exelsio made "Nagtungo si Juan Tamad sa Buwan" in 1898 while the Philippines was being sold by Spain to American for twenty million dollars (VAT not included).

4. Film Title: Excerpt from "NITRATE: To The Ghosts Of The 75 Lost Philippine Silent Films (1912-1933)"

Total Running Time: 30:12

Year Released: 2013 

Featured Artists in Film: Richard Abelardo. Tommy C. David, Gerardo De Leon, Armando A. Herrera, Celso Ad. Castillo, Lino Brocka, Marilou Diaz-Abaya

Synopsis: Abstract found-footage horror using nine existing films from 1952 to 1980 to reimagine, reconstruct, simulate, commemorate, and commiserate with the seventy-five lost Philippine silent films from 1912 to 1933.

Accompanying Musician: Khavn & the Kontra-Kino Orchestra

Khavn is a composer, pianist, singer, and songwriter who has made 23 albums.

He holds the world record for the longest-ever solo piano concert without breaks for the 13-hour live score of his 13-hour film "Simulacrum Tremendum" in the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2016.  He recently won the 2018 Famas for Best Original Song and the 2018 Gawad Urian for Best Music for his soundtrack to "Balangiga: Howling Wilderness".  His other bands include The Brockas, Fando & Lis, and Vigo.

The Kontra-Kino Orchestra was formed in 2016, as a 33-piece improvisation ensemble conducted by Khavn to create an album of imaginary soundtracks. In 2017, they performed at the Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen.  Their album is due for release this October in Berlin.

FRANCE – August 31, Friday, 9:00 pm

Film Title: La Passion de Jeanne D’Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc)
Total Running Time: 81 mins
Year Released: 1928
Cast: Renée Jeanne Falconetti, Silvain Eugène Falconetti 
Film Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer  
Genre: Drama (Theme/s - Religion, History) 

The story of the trial of Joan of Arc in 1431 where she was accused of heresy by ecclesiastical judges determined to make her disclaim her visions, which ended with her being burned at stake

Accompanying Musician: Dingdong Fiel

Pianist, Composer, Conductor, Musical Director and Vocalist - Dingdong Fiel earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from the UST conservatory of music in 2007 and was the recipient of the RECTOR'S AWARD FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE having obtained the HIGHEST ACADEMIC AVERAGE, as well as the BENAVIDES AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT. Immediately after graduation, He was awarded a full scholarship grant for post graduate studies at the FRANZ LISZT Hochschule Fur Musik in Germany.

He has garnered a total of 5 first Prizes from various piano competitions and as a result launched his career as a classical pianist concertizing around Europe, Asia and the USA - in Spain, Italy, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, The Czech Republic, Guam, China, and Japan among other countries. Dingdong often performs his original compositions for piano, most recently at a tour in Japan last July 2017. 

He was also pianist to various Jazz groups including the MAJAM TRIO and the co- founding member of the Jazz fusion trio "HDC" and the DINGDONG FIEL QUARTET.

As Musical Director, he was involved in various theater productions and concerts such as Repertory Philippines' Manila staging of the musical "NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY"2013, RYAN CAYABYAB’s Rock Opera - "LORENZO” 2013, the Manila run of the famous musical "INTO THE WOODS" 2015, and  Menotti's thriller opera - “The Medium”2016 to name a few.

Dingdong is also the lead vocalist/keyboardist of a Manila based rock band that’s set to release their first studio album this coming September. 

This is his fifth film entry to the Manila International Silent Film Festival but a first for him to completely notate the music sans improvisations.  For this year’s festival, Dindong Fiel will be playing alongside Andrew Constantino (Clarinet) and Kyongmin Nam (Cello). 

  "Deutsches Filminstitut – DIF, Frankfurt am Main"
GERMANY – September 1, Saturday, 4:00 pm

Film Title: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari / Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari  
Total Running Time: 77 mins
Year Released: 1920
Cast: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hans Twardowski
Film Director: Robert Wiene
Genre: Horror

Dubbed as “the first true horror film”, Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari tells of a mad doctor who is being suspected of sending a reawakened corpse on a killing spree.  It is later revealed that he is the director of an asylum for the insane, where our protagonist finds out that the doctor has obsessions far darker and more sinister than he had imagined.  

Das Cabinet is considered the quintessential work of German expressionist cinema and favors a fantastical and graphic visual style instead of a naturalistic one.  The sets feature structures and landscapes that lean and twist in unusual angles with sharp-pointed forms bathed in striking contrasts of shadows and light.  The film also helped introduce techniques such as the twist ending and the unreliable narrator to the language of narrative film.

Accompanying Musician: Kontra-GaPi

Founded by Prof. Edru Abraham of the College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines - Diliman, Kontemporaryong Gamelan Pilipino draws inspiration from this ancient and profound source nurtured and sustained by the depth, wealth and cultural diversity of the Philippines and her Asian roots.  Widely identified by its acronym Kontra-GaPi, the group strives to express music and kindred arts from indigenous well-springs, reaping from the people and giving back to them in new form “as magical as the moonlight and constantly changing as water”.

JAPAN – September 1, Saturday, 6:00 pm

Film Title: 
Tokkan Kozo (突貫小僧
A Straightforward Boy
Total Running Time: 19 mins
Year Released: 1929
Cast: Tomio AOKI, Tatsuo SAITO, Takeshi SAKAMOTO 
Film Director: Yasujiro OZU (小津安二郎)
Genre: Drama
Bunkichi kidnaps a boy Tetsubo with an appetite for sweets. Unable to keep him under control, the kidnapper returns him to his boss, who refuses to take him back. He tries to dump him on his playmates, but he incites them to demand toys and other goodies from him.

The original theatrical release of Tokkan Kozo was 38 minutes long, but it was presumably lost.  A 9.5 mm version which was sold as a format for home viewing was discovered in 1988 but this was incomplete due to degradation of the film reel. The version found in 1988 was 14 minute long, and it was shown at the 2015 edition of the International Silent Film Festival in Manila. Screening this year is a most complete and intact 9.5 mm Pathé baby version that was fortunately discovered just three years ago, which is 19 minutes long.

Tito Genova Valiente: The Filipino Benshi (Silent Film Narrator)

Tito Genova Valiente is a public anthropologist, a film critic and film educator. He had his post-graduate studies in the field of Anthropology in Japan. He developed a course on Japanese Cinema in the Japanese Studies Program of the Ateneo de Manila University and has taught courses on Japanese Film, Culture, Literature and Philippine-Japan Relations. He is a member of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, the oldest and the most prestigious film critics circle in the country, where he once served as its Chair. He is a columnist for Business Mirror and a member of the Executive Committee for Cinema under the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. He has co-authored books on Japanese cultures in Asia and war memories. In 2015, he was awarded by the Union of Writers of the Philippines the Gawad Balagtas for Achievement in English essay. He is the present director of the Institute of Bikol History and Culture in Ateneo de Naga.

Accompanying Musician: Tanikala Tribe

To provide the music for the benshi and the silent film, Tokkan Kozo, is a band from Naga City, in Bikol. They call themselves the Tanikala Tribe (literally “Chain Tribe”) and have been around for more than two decades, having started in 1994. The name could refer to their music, which they describe as Contemporary Pop Folk/Ethnic Sound, a combination of strains and influences they see as uniting their differences as musicians and as Bikolanos and Filipinos. Even with that distinct sound, the group does not stay away from upbeat music, ballad and novelties. Their aim is “to spread love of all kind – love of Nature, love of country and love of countrymen, and love for all humankind.” Tanikala Tribe is composed of the following members: Wowie Nabua, kubing, flute, kudyapi; Raul Badiola, tambol, chimes, bells; Jojo Peconcillo, acoustic guitar; and Russel Campillos, classical guitar.

U.S.A. – September 1, Saturday, 8:00 pm

Film Title: Our Hospitality
Total Running Time: 75 mins
Year Released: 1923
Cast: Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge, Joe Roberts
Film Directors: Buster Keaton and John G. Blystone
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Thriller

After her husband John McKay is killed in an ongoing feud with the Canfield family, a woman takes her baby boy Willie to her sister's house in New York hoping he will never know of the feud with the Canfields.  Twenty years later, Willie is a grown man and he receives a letter saying he has inherited his father's estate and must travel to his family home to take possession.  On the train, there he meets a beautiful young woman and falls in love with her.  She invites him to dinner but he realizes too late that she is the only daughter of patriarch Joseph Canfield with whom his family has been engaged in a long violent feud.  He accepts her invitation and quickly realizes that the Canfield men won't harm him while he's in their home.  His plan to stay there as a permanent guest is short-lived and the Canfields are soon after him.

Accompanying Musician: Brass Munkeys

Known for their lively and bold performances on stage, the band has established a loyal following since its inception in 2002.  “Our music has been classified as blues, jump swing, even boogie,” shares the group’s drummer and band leader, Jayman Alviar.

Jump swing also called, retro swing, refers to the hyper-intense dance style featuring hopping and kicking.  It is an up-tempo combination of rock, blues and swing.  

The group cites musical influences such as Latin, jazz and swing music from the 30’s to the 50’s, before evolving into their more adventurous repertoire of original compositions and fun covers of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet, Bobby Darin, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Harry Connick, Jr., and the Royal Crown Review, to name a few.  

SPAIN – September 2, Sunday, 5:00 pm

Film Title: Frivolinas
Total Running Time: 80 mins
Year Released: 1927
Cast: Ramper, José López Alonso, Juan Belmonte,María Caballé, Miguel Ligero, Felisa López, Blaca Pozas, Ramón Álvarez Escudero
Film Director: Arturo Caballo
Genre: Musical Comedy   

A slight plot, about a widower who loves nightlife and a comedian who falls in love with the old man’s daughter, is the excuse to film musical and dance shows featured at a very popular Madrid theater in the 1920s

Accompanying Musician: Tapati

Tapati is a collaboration of artists embracing influences of rock, reggae, blues, jazz, pop, folk and Philippine Neo-ethnic tribal music.  Led by Tapati, a performing artists and singer-songwriter herself, the group brings in the finest leading contemporary world music artists showing an alternative perspective of the Philippine Culture.

Currently Tapati regularly performs around Manila in bars like Conspiracy Bar Café at Visayas Ave. Q.C., Coconut House, Quezon Memorial Circle and some annual festivals and events in the Philippines. 

AUSTRIA – September 2, Sunday, 7:30 pm

Film Title: Die kleine Veronika   
Total Running Time: 70 mins
Year Released: 1929
Cast: Käthe von Nagy, Maly Delschaft, Mizzi Zwerenz and Harry Hardt
Film Director: Robert Land
Genre: Drama

Die kleine Veronika” tells the story of Tyrolean mountain girl, Veronika, who travels to Vienna to visit her aunt, only to find out that the city experience she has been dreaming of is not all the fun and glamourous life she had previously imagined.  Rediscovered and restored by the Austrian Film Archive, the film is prized for scenes that show the Tyrolean mountains and the still-famous Vienna Prater amusement park in the 1920s.

The Austrian Embassy in Manila presents “Die kleine Veronika” in partnership with Hearlife Foundation, Inc., a non-stock, non-profit organization created to champion the Filipino deaf and MED-EL Philippines, affiliate of MED-EL WorldWide, Innsbruck Austria and a cochlear implant provider for 20 years in the Philippines.  MED-EL continues to innovate, research, develop and manufacture implantable hearing solutions impacting lives of both deaf children and adults. 

Hearlife Foundation and MED-EL pursue to transform and better the world with the gift of hearing.

Accompanying Musician: Joee & I

Joee & I is an avant-pop electronica solo project of Joee Mejias, a musician and a multimedia artist from Manila. Armed with a laptop, kalimba, bells and shakers, and a melodica, she churns out melodies that sing in complex contrapuntal arrangements. Everything one would expect from this electronic act is here—looping riffs, unexpected twists and vocals that stroke, smash, stomp, scream and kiss. She has performed in Southeast Asia, Japan, Canada, and around the Philippines, sharing her unique brand of electronic music infused with flavourful instruments she's picked up along her musical journey. She is currently touring her debut album entitled “To The End Of The World” released last year in a collaborative multimedia concert of the same title.