By Daniel Infante Tuaño
SPAIN – The tarsier from Boho was chosen as the mascot for this year’s Asian Summer Film Festival which will be held from July 15 to July 20 in the Catalan city of Vic.
The cute and tiny primate, aptly named “Gwapo”, will be gracing the event’s posters to represent the focus country of this year’s Festival–the Philippines.
According to the Festival website cinemaoriental.com, the mascot was conceived in honor of the country and named “Gwapo” to demonstrate the Spanish legacy in the Southeast nation–Filipino word “gwapo” came from the Spanish word “guapo” which both mean handsome.
One of the organizers of the Festival, Eva Clota, said that they always look for a typical animal or a symbol from the focus country to be the mascot. The mascot was drawn by Estudi Xevidom and designed by Valdrada.
“The consul (of the Philippines) from Barcelona proposed the tarsier because of his popularity in the Philippines and because they’re endangered. We thought they are really cute; also they have night habits, as (we have) our nights of dinner and cinema. And because of his big eyes, (which will help us not to) miss anything from the festival,” Clota added.
Philippine Honorary Consul to Barcelona Jordi Puig Roches said that they had had to choose among three animals: the butanding (whale shark), the Philippine eagle and the tarsier.
“Tarsier’s big eyes are good to observe Philippine filmography. The mascot also represents well the Philippine cinema–it might be small but it has big potential and great quality,” Puig said in Spanish.
Remember Weng Weng?
One of the Filipino movies to be shown is a documentary about Weng Weng dubbed as midget James Bond of the Philippines.
“The Search for Weng Weng” is written and directed by Australian Andrew Leavold who went to Manila to find out what have happened to the “For Y’ur Height Only” star.
In the course of his research and interviews about the 80’s blockbuster action star, Leavold discovered and unraveled the history of Pinoy B-movies, which he will be presenting in the Festival.
Also in the Festival is the action movie “Kabisera” directed by Alfonso “Borgy” Torre III and the country’s entry in the Official Section competing against 15 other films from India, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. The winner will be voted by moviegoers attending the screenings.
“Currently, the Philippines has a great reputation in international film festivals due to its auteur, risky, experimental and profoundly artistic works that have won important awards. Directors like Raya Martin, Brillante Mendoza, Lav Diaz and Pepe Diokno have exported their personal stamp all over the world,” Clota said.
Likewise, the Philippines has produced movies which are more accessible to the public, and these are what the Festival is for.
The Festival, locally known as Festival Nits de Cinema Oriental de Vic, caters to mainstream and blockbuster movies from Asia and also line up activities that showcase Asia’s popular culture and traditional cuisine.
The star of Filipino fiestas ‘lechon’ will be served along with other Filipino dishes in the benefit dinner and inauguration night of the Festival. The dinner is organized in coordination with the Philippines Club de Catalunya and the Consulate General of the Philippines. Proceeds will be donated to the survivors of supertyphoon Haiyan.
Filipino residents in Vic are happy about the Philippines being the featured country of the 11th edition of the Festival.
“Excited kaming mga taga Vic! Magde-day off ako para dyan!” said Severina Galang who has been living and working with her family for may years in Vic.
“Syempre super proud tayong mga Pilipino lalo na kaming mga taga Vic. Mapi-feature ang Pilipinas. Kilala ang mga Pilipino bilang masisipag at magagalang na trabahador dito at sa pamamagitan naman ng proyektong ito ay makikilala rin ang bansa natin,” added Vic resident Nida Dimaano Lasig Octot. ABS-CBNnews.com
Watch the related TV report in Filipino on Balitang Global: