European Philippine International Film Festival 2020 Pushes Through with Online Edition
Since its founding in 2018 by filmmakers Ruben Soriquez and Maurizio Baldini, EPIFF has served as a platform for promoting Philippine Cinema in Italy and across Europe. Through cinema, the festival aims to provide a better understanding of the Philippines as a whole, displaying the richness and diversity of Filipino culture and showcasing the country’s beautiful landscapes.
With this shared mission of cultural exchange, FDCP has accordingly served as a partner for the festival since its inception, supporting EPIFF’s annual showcase of contemporary Philippine Cinema in Italy. Prior to this year’s online edition, past events of EPIFF took place in Florence, Italy in collaboration with the Honorary Consulate of the Philippines in Florence.
In support of EPIFF’s activities, FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño said, “We applaud EPIFF for being able to adapt to this new normal and take their festival online to bring these films to our audiences in Europe. Through EPIFF’s curated set of films, European audiences will be able to learn more about the Philippines and its culture.”
She continued, “The FDCP has always recognized the vital role of film exchange as it encourages world cinema appreciation among Filipino audiences. That’s why through our international program that supports activities like EPIFF and film, we can break barriers of language and culture and come together in understanding and appreciation of the world’s stories.”
In this third edition of the festival, the EPIFF program will feature seven films scheduled to screen in Europe for free through the online streaming platform iWatchMore (www.iwatchmore.com/categories/epiff). Three of these films were co-produced by FDCP, namely “Sonata,” an award-winning film starring Cherie Gil and directed by the late Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes, “Badil” by Chito Roño, and “Bamboo Flowers” by Maryo J. Delos Reyes.
In addition to these films, the festival will also screen “The Crescent Rising” by Sheron Dayoc and “Land from God” by Kevin Piamonte as well as works from the respective ouvres of festival founders Soriquez and Baldini. Soriquez’s 2019 film “The Spiders’ Man” and Baldini’s 2016 film “Dalisay” will screen and complete the festival’s seven-film program.
The films scheduled for EPIFF 2020 cover diverse stories from the Philippines, ranging from the dramatic “Sonata” which has received nominations and awards from the Asian International Film Festival and Gawad Urian Awards and more, to “The Crescent Rising,” an award-winning documentary that focuses on the trials of Mindanaoan communities who have suffered from a ravaging war in their homeland.
In past iterations of the festival, EPIFF has featured a main competition and concluded with an awards night to recognize the festival’s Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, and more. Past awardees have included Erik Matti’s “Honor thy Father” and Richard Sommes’ “El Peste,” both of which won the EPIFF Best Film Award. Due to special circumstances for this year’s festival, however, EPIFF 2020 will not be holding a competition.
Chairperson Diño and actress Cherie Gil will each be making a virtual appearance by providing a video message to the EPIFF audiences prior to the screening of each film. Both will speak on their support for the festival and the role cinema has in cultural exchange.