May 2017
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JSIS Southeast Asia Center

Featured Article

Diwa Filipino Film Showcase


This week our MA student Adrian Alarilla tells us about the project he has been working on that you can see this June.

The Diwa Filipino Film Showcase is a growing community film festival in Seattle that celebrates the Filipino Spirit wherever it resides, by exhibiting independent films from the Philippine islands and beyond. For the 4th edition of Diwa, happening this year at the Seattle Center Armory Loft 1 on June 3 and 4, the line-up of films from the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora promises to be very exciting, with film subjects ranging from indigenous myths and folklore, to the issues that contemporary diasporic Filipinos face every day.

Some highlights include “Kalumaran,” which documents the struggle of the Lumads, the indigenous peoples of Mindanao, as they fight for their land rights amidst rapid development. Meanwhile, “The Girl and the Typhoons,” hosted by Marion Cotillard, follows the life of a young survivor of Typhoon Haiyan on her journey to help stop climate change. “Grandma Loleng” and “Forgotten Sex Slaves” both talk about the struggles of Filipino comfort women whose scars, both physical and emotional, have yet to heal. Explore the “Maidens and Monsters” of Philippine mythology as well as our own inner demons, then watch “Vampariah,” a contemporary Filipino-American take on manananggal folklore. “Marz,” “Pamanhikan,” and “It Runs in the Family” all explore what it means to be LGBTQ Filipinos. Admission for all screenings is free and open to everyone. For a complete listing of films, you can visit the Diwa Film Festival Facebook page here.

The showcase is spearheaded by our very own MA student Adrian Alarilla, who will also be holding a talk on first-person documentary filmmaking in the Filipino diaspora. The talk, “Tiny, Great Realities,” is part of the Northwest Folklife Festival, and will be held at the SIFF Film Center on May 28, at 3:00pm.

Diwa is part of the annual Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival, perhaps the biggest festival of Filipino arts and culture in the Pacific Northwest. This celebration is a part of Seattle Center Festál, a series of cultural programs sponsored by the City of Seattle. Pagdiriwang provides a venue for Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike to learn about the culture. It is an ideal setting for presenting art, dance, music, history, literature, and with the addition of the Diwa Film Showcase, film, in order to promote better understanding of the Filipino cultural heritage.


Featured Event

Seattle International Film Festival SEAC Sponsored Showing: Ma' Rosa

Sunday, June 4 | 1:00 PM | Ark Lodge Cinemas

Monday, June 5 | 8:30 PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown

In the dirty and poverty-stricken neighborhoods of the Philippines, sari-sari convenience stores serve as the hub of economic and social transactions. Director Brillante Mendoza's story of a shopkeeper couple, Rosa (Jaclyn Jose, 2016 Cannes award for Best Actress) and Nestor (Julio Diaz), reveals the harsh reality of a family's day-to-day survival. To make ends meet for their three children, Rosa peddles "ice," or crystal meth, at her family-owned store. But on the eve of Nestor's birthday, local corrupt policemen raid the store on a customer's tip and arrest the couple. During the interrogation, the policemen demand a bribe of 200,000 pesos from Rosa and her husband for their release. Unable to pay up, the couple's children, Jackson (Felix Roco), Erwin (Jomari Angeles), and Raquel (Andi Eigenmann), are forced to raise the bail money. In a race against time, Raquel begs for money from family relatives and Jackson attempts to sell their belongings, while Erwin takes a riskier and more significant approach by sleeping with an older man for money. The gritty style of the filmmaking gives Ma' Rosa a documentary feel, refusing to shield the audience from the realities of the chaotic streets of Manila.

Director Biography

Brillante Ma Mendoza started as a production designer in various films and television advertisements. His debut film, Masahista (The Masseur) won the Golden Leopard Award at the 2005 Locarno International Film Festival, and paved the way for the rise of alternative cinema in the Philippines. In 2005, he founded Center Stage Productions (CSP), an independent film production company. Mendoza continues to make films and documentaries that depict the lives of the Filipinos and the marginalized sectors of society, cultivating an audience for alternative cinema in the Philippines. His films are shown in different schools all over the country. One of which is Manoro (The Teacher), a film now part of the Philippine Department of Education's teaching modules. Brillante Mendoza is the first Filipino director to be honored by France with the title Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres.

Website (including trailer and tickets) here.

$14 General Admission, $13 Seniors (65+), $12 SIFF Member

Ma'Rosa Movie poster


Documentary Screening: Angkor Awakens followed by Q&A with Director Robert H. Lieberman

Friday, May 26 - Thursday, June 1 | Landmark Seven Gables Theater

Seattle International Film Festival 

Thursday, May 18 - Sunday, June 11 

Diwa Filipino Film Showcase: Tiny, Great Realities: Personal Cinema and the Filipino Diaspora

Sunday, May 28 | 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM | SIFF Film Center

SIFF Showing - Diamond Island

Saturday, June 3 | 12:30 PM | SIFF Film Center

Monday, June 5 | 8:45 PM | Ark Lodge Cinemas

Tuesday, June 6 | 9:45 PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown

Recommended Resources



For their June 2017 issue, The Atlantic published an article by Alex Tizon called "My Family's Slave."

Dr. Vicente Rafael, professor in the UW History department and SEAC affiliate, wrote a response to it in, which you can read here.

"Notes on the late Alex Tizon's piece in The Atlantic about 'Lola""

Conferences, Study Abroad & Journals

CFP: Cultures of Occupation: Establishing a Transnational Dialogue, January 12 - 14, University of Nottingham

CFP: McGill University's IOWC Graduate Student Conference on Indian Ocean World History, October 20, Quebec, Canada - submissions due June 10

CFP: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia (TLC) Board panel for AAS, March 22 - 25, Washington, D.C. - proposals due June 15 to

Suggested themes: Changing Buddhist/Muslim relations, religious conversion & diversity, politics of the Mekong (environmental issues), ethnomusicology, popular culture, intellectual property & cultural practices/cultural heritage, exchange (symmetrical and asymmetrical) in mainland Southeast Asia, and ecological plurality Mainland Southeast Asia. 

CFP: Environmental Issues and Human Health in Southeast Asia - Rising Voices in Southeast Asian Studies for an AAS panel, March 22 - 25, Washington, D.C. - applications due July 1

CFP: Buddhist Studies Graduate Student Conference at Florida State University, November 3 - November 5, Florida - abstracts due August 15


Funding & Fellowships

European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) Fellowship Programme for the 2018 - 2019 academic year - applications due June 7 @ 4 PM GMT

Henry Luce Foundation Fellowship Information Session

Wednesday, May 31 | 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM | Savery Hall 168 


Lecturer Pool - South & Southeast Asian Studies @ UC Berkeley (Part-time, temporary) - application due April 6

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