New Music From Local Bands Adds Edge to This Year's Silent Film Festival

Like the idea of Munimuni scoring a silent film?

( The latest films make use of CGI and special effects, but before all the post-processing and crazy feats achieved through technology, films were pretty simple. Case in point: the humble silent film. Though lacking music or sound, these films made use of title cards and even live music performances in order to forward the narrative, and are just as entertaining in their own way. If you've been meaning to catch silent films but don't know where to do it, the Film Development Council of the Philippine offers a fresh take on the genre: the International Silent Film Festival, which brings silent films and modern musicians together, will take place from August 31 to September 1 at the Samsung Hall, SM Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City.

PHOTO FRom Film Development Council of the Philippines Website

The first of its kind in Asia, the International Silent Film Festival (ISFF) serves as a platform for musicians to infuse their work into silent films. This adds a new dimension and color to black-and-white films while sparking interest in younger viewers.

The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), in cooperation with the Japan Foundation Manila, the Instituto Cervantes, the Philippine-Italian Association, the Goethe-Institut Philippinen, and the Embassy of Austria pool a selection of diverse local and foreign silent films and musicians from all over the world for a unique and fresh experience.

All screenings, as well as the lecture, are free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Here are things to look forward to in the 13th International Silent Film Festival:

August 30

PHOTO From Film Development Council of the Philippines Website
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Native Life in the Philippines, a documentary about the Kalingas, opens the festival on August 30 at 8:30 p.m. National Commission for Culture and the Arts film commission chairperson Teddy Co selected the 1913 Dean C. Worcester-directed film. Local indie band Munimuni will accompany the silent film with their "makata pop" sound.

PHOTO From Film Development Council of the Philippines Website

August 31

On its 13th year, the ISFF joins the Philippines in celebrating its first hundredth year—a milestone in South East Asia. Author and film historian Professor Nick Deocampo will share his extensive knowledge in Asian filmmaking during his lecture at 1 p.m.

The Japan Foundation Manila will present the Kenji Mizoguchi-directed Japanese film The Downfall of Osen (1935) at 3 p.m. The film tells the story of Osen, a beautiful servant girl, who is used by her devious employer, an antique dealer, to aid his illegal business. A live musical performance by Kaduma ni Karol will accompany the film.

At 5:30 p.m., the Instituto Cervantes will present a 1926 Spanish comedy directed by Carlos Fernández Cuenca, Es Mi Hombre (He's My Man). The character of Don Antonio undergoes a series of misfortunes but must persist for himself and his daughter Leonor's sake. In an unexpected turn of events, luck smiles upon him. Tarsius, a Manila-based duo, will take on the live score for the film.


The Philippine-Italian Association caps of the day's offerings at 8:30 p.m., presenting the 1918 Italian film L’Onestà del Peccato (The Wife He Neglected), directed by Augusto Genia. The film revolves around the character of Maria d’Alconte, played by an intense Maria Jacobini, whose sacrifice restores order and justice in a world corrupted by greed and arrogant intellectualism. Stef&No, a sax player and composer from Turin, together with the Pocket Orchestra, take charge of the music for this film.

September 1

The Goethe Institut will screen the 1920 German film Von Morgen Bis Mitternachts (From Morn to Midnight) directed by Karlheinz Martin at 4 p.m. Adapted from the Expressionist theater play by George Kaiser, the story revolves around a bank teller who gives in to temptation and steals from a rich old lady. The movie, which has never seen the light of day in Germany, was thought to be lost. The live score will be played by the Filipino artists from Anima Tierra, a unique ensemble inspired by traditional world music.


At 7:30 p.m., the Embassy of Austria will present the closing film: Kalif Storch (1924), directed by Hans Berger. The film explores the misadventures of Caliph Chasid of Bagdad and his Grand Vizier Mansor, after purchasing magic powder from a wizard. Based on a fairytale by Wilhelm Hauff, the movie is one of the few remaining family-friendly flicks from the Austrian silent film era. Rock band Tanya Markova will take on scoring duties.

The International Silent Film Festival is happening from August 31 to September 1 at the Samsung Hall, SM Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City.

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