It’s heartwarming to see that more people are advocating for mental health these days. Though stigma still exists, we’ve branched out with the way we tell mental health narratives, and one of the most effective methods is through art, specifically film.
In partnership with the Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival for Health, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) takes part in the dialogue on mental health with a free virtual festival called “Balik Tanaw,” in hopes of “putting the spotlight on important health issues and hoping to spark dialogues on mental health topics.”
Together in celebration of National Mental Health Awareness Month, “Balik Tanaw” will run from Oct. 23 to 30 to give viewers a week of free access to three short films on mental health: “Oh, Aking Katoto” by Kelvin Aguilar, “Rekuwerdo” by Kristoffer Brugada and “Wish” by Sheen Irerick Seekts, which were all part of the 3rd Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival.
“Oh, Aking Katoto” touches on depression through the eyes of a young girl named Nymfa who’s coping with her parents’ separation.
“Rekuwerdo” follows the story of Federico, a 79-year-old man struggling with prostate cancer and, eventually, dementia. This film won the Best Short Film award at the 3rd Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival.
Lastly, “Wish” is a documentary about a boy named Heinz who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. His behavior is viewed by many as unusual, and other people’s judgment not only affects him but his family as well.
To stream these films, visit the “Balik Tanaw” Vimeo page, click the film you want to watch and click the “Rent” button. Once you’re at the billing page, enter the code BALIKTANAW and hit “Apply.”
And for those aspiring filmmakers out there, here’s an opportunity: CCP is also organizing the 4th Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival for Health, collaborating with the Mu Sigma Phi Fraternity and the Department of Health (Philippines). They’re calling for film entries focusing on Filipinos’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, “including the stories of those living with mental health issues.”
Submissions are open until Dec. 19, 2020. You can fill out this survey form to get more details on the competition.
Still from “Oh, Aking Katoto”