The annual Spring Film Festival (SFF) showcases Chinese films to a Filipino audience. The 10th SFF will be at Cinema 4 of the Shang Cineplex from January 29 to February 7 with ten films. Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies presents the event together with the cultural division of the Embassy of China, Confucius Institute at the Ateneo de Manila, Credit Suisse, with the cooperation of Ateneo Celadon and Shangri-La Plaza.
The line-up this year includes: Coming Home, At That Summer, Angel Vera, Qiuxi, Back to 1942, Full Circle, Lost in Thailand, East Wind Rain, Wild Horse, and Say Yes. Zhang Yimou’s Coming Home in particular leads the line-up with an emotional family drama set during the Cultural Revolution.
SFF is held close to the Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. It first began on 2007 as a solo effort of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, and was held in Gateway Mall. Ateneo Celadon came into the picture on the second SFF the year after, held in Cinema 1 of the newly-built Trinoma Mall.
Ticket prices at that time costed a hundred pesos, less expensive compared to regular movie tickets as the main objective of the film was promoting culture. It was not for profit. The same goes for the 10th SFF, except now tickets are of free admission for anyone who wants to watch.
The procurement of the films back in 2008 was done by Fr. Aristotle Dy, current President of the Xavier School. He based his selection on genre, availability and cost.
“The films selected [this year] came from the result of our survey of the type of movie genres the audience would appreciate. We got period dramas to comedy to love story with the popular ‘hugot’ lines,” said Mr. Sidney Bata, Director of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies.
“Filipinos have been looking forward to the Lunar New Year annually, as seen in ads, promotions of big companies and the volume of visits to Chinatown around the country around January and February. Moreover, the Ateneo Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies and Celadon are the bridges to the Chinese and Filipino cultures. And film is the quickest way to understand and appreciate another person’s culture,” Mr. Bata said.
Ateneo Celadon President EG Dizon in agreement adds, “SFF is really an effort to improve the relationship between China and the Philippines. We show these films to the Filipino public because these films provide a glimpse of what Chinese society and culture was and is today. The films share ideas and themes common to both people. This way, Filipinos can have a better understanding of China and its culture.”
Many famous individuals have been known to grace the gala night of the event in the past: Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda; former Senator Miguel Zubiri; former PRC ambassadors Liu Jianchao and Ma Keqing; current Ateneo President Fr. Jet Villarin, former Ateneo President Fr. Ben Nebres; Dr. Ricardo and Rosita Leong; Dr. Ellen Palanca; and cosplayer Alodia Gosengfiao.
Written by Joshua Cheng