News and Events

HAU joins international film festival

"Ari (My Life with a King)," the film produced by Holy Angel University, has been accepted as official selection in the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), one of the five major festivals in North America.

Directed by HAU student Carlo Enciso Catu of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management (CHTM), the film is the coming-of-age story of a Kapampangan boy who refuses to speak the language until he meets the king of Kapampangan poets, played by real-life poet Francisco Guinto. The boy is played by Ronwaldo Martin, brother of popular actor Coco Martin.

The film will premiere in the VIFF's Dragons and Tigers section, which features cutting-edge movies from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. The section is one of the world's biggest festivals of Asia-Pacific films.

The HAU film is mostly in Kapampangan with English subtitles. According to screenwriter Robby Tantingco, Director of the Center for Kapampangan Studies, the film is part of the University’s advocacy to promote Kapampangan culture.

"We want the world to see this little-known literary tradition in Pampanga where poetry is a way of life and poets recite poems at the drop of a hat," Tantingco says. "Our film has succeeded in capturing the tradition before it disappears." This is the reason, he adds, that real-life Kapampangan poets were recruited to appear in the film as themselves.

The film's cast and crew include HAU faculty, employees, students and alumni as well as award-winning filmmakers like cinematographer Carlo Mendoza, editor Carlo Manatad, and sound engineer Gilbert Obispo. Former HAU faculty member Cecile Yumul, Jonalyn Ablong, Chloe Carpio and Kapampangan poets Eufrocina Peña, Felix Garcia and Policarpio Batac play important roles in the movie.

Veteran film producer and distributor Ferdinand Lapuz, an HAU alumnus who only recently donated proceeds from some of his films to the HAU scholarship program, supervised the making of "Ari," from writing to shooting to post-production and marketing.

The choice of graduating student Carlo Catu as the film’s director was based on his portfolio of short films that have won in various competitions, in particular the CineKabalen, the annual festival of Kapampangan films organized by multi-awarded filmmaker Jason Paul Laxamana.

HAU has previously produced Brillante Mendoza's "Manoro (The Aeta Teacher)" which won awards in the Cinemanila International Film Festival and the Torino International Film Festival, but "Ari (My Life with a King)" marks the first time the University has totally gotten involved in the production.

The Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 24 to October 5, 2015.

Also sharing credits in the film are executive producers Geromin T. Nepomuceno, Jr., Jocelyn Aniceto and Robby Tantingco; line producer Myra Paz Lopez; producers Ferdinand Lapuz and Carlo Mendoza; production designer Alex R. Castro; music scorer Jake Abella; creative consultant Jason Paul Laxamana.

According to Tantingco, the film will have its local screening after its participation in film festivals. All proceeds will go to the University's scholarship program. The school is also studying the possibility of organizing film showings in HAU alumni communities abroad.

The VIFF, established in 1982, screens films from 80 countries in 10 movie theatres.

Date Posted: 08-24-2015