Former Iloilo Third District Congressman Richard Garin recently led the launching of Bantayan Film Festival 2020 in the municipality of Guimbal.
Organized by Guimbal iFilm Society, Bantayan Film Festival features high-quality, inspiring short films made by town’s locals as actors, editors, directors, producers, and other film-making staff. It is one of the highlights of Bantayan Festival of the historic coastal town in southern Iloilo which draws thousands of spectators every year.
“We are very happy and proud that people are telling us, ‘You are the first community filmmakers of the country,'” Garin said.
Garin founded the Bantayan Film Festival when he was still the municipal mayor of Guimbal in 2005. He was watching Metro Manila Film Festival Awards Night on television when he thought, why not make the same in Guimbal.
He shared the idea to one of his staff, and unexpectedly, one of them is film director Cirio Ray Gibraltar who had experience in filmmaking as an alumnus of Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund). Then they started organizing the festival, searched for participants, conducted training and workshops, and had all other activities that made it part of the town’s week-long celebration of the Bantayan Festival.
“We started it right, and the rest is history,” Garin declared.
Now in its 16th year, the festival hopes to continue its tradition of breeding new artists and filmmakers as still the only community film festival in the country.
During the launching of this 16th iteration, Richard Garin inspired Guimbalanon filmmakers to continue the artistic tradition and further enhance their craft in making quality short movies.
Looking forward, Garin said that the next step for Guimbalanons is to make films “not only as a medium of entertainment but also a medium of instruction for education.”
Truly, Garin’s dedication, enthusiasm, and all-out support are invaluable in making the Guimbal iFilm Society a strong organization, and pushing Bantayan Film Festival to greater heights.