In partnership with the Far Eastern University Department of Communication (FEU DepComm), Cinemata is co-presenting TAM DokyuFest, an annual documentary film festival in the Philippines promoting truthful storytelling that advocates for a deeper probe of social issues.
TAM stands for “Truth. Advocacy. Media.” The festival’s theme this year is “Tanglaw sa Kamulatan” (Enlightenment through Awareness). By showing the audience the social realities encountered by everyday Filipinos, the film festival highlights people’s lived experiences, promoting change and social advocacy through these stories.
TAM DokyuFest will run from May 10 to 12, 2023 at SB 101, Far Eastern University Manila Campus. An awards night will be held on May 12 at the University Conference Center.
A showcase of the nine documentary films produced by FEU DepComm students will stream exclusively on Cinemata from May 10 to 20. The films are now accessible through this playlist. Select films will also be featured on the Cinemata homepage and promoted via the Cinemata Newsletter and social media channels.
Since March 2023, FEU DepComm has organised guest lectures to advance students’ knowledge of documentary films and production ethics. Notable speakers included former journalist Julius Segovia on TV Documentary production, associate professor Liana Barro on ethics and laws, and filmmaker Maricon Montajes on progressive filmmaking. Award-winning filmmaker Alyx Arumpac also held a special screening of her documentary Aswang, followed by a talkback session.
Cinemata’s hosting and promotion of TAM Dokyufest is part of a three-year partnership between EngageMedia and Far Eastern University to archive and promote social issue films produced by the students of FEU DepComm.
1. Guhit Recto (Art of Recto)
Director: Renz Airel Salazar
In a notorious street in Manila characterised by forgery and petty crimes, an artist revels in the chaos that shapes what he calls home. Having been around Recto for most of his life, Levy is shaped by the culture, and in turn, his work is derived from it. In his humble workspace at the heart of the Central Market, he thrives with the help of his wife who facilitates the transactions between him and clients. For Levy, what matters is the kind of legacy he leaves: to be remembered not by his clients or his peers, but by the grandkids he spends time with – so that he can hang a portrait that can never be replicated.
2. Mga Pitik sa Dagsaan ng Masa (Photographs in a Bustling Filipino Crowd)
Director: Andreu Balasbas
This documentary presents the story of Jose Santos, an alternative media photojournalist, as he captures significant moments through his camera. As he embarks on his assigned coverages, Jose shares some of his past experiences and his emotions throughout various encounters. The film is an outspoken documentary feature driven by character, dedication, and the power of each image to make a difference.
3. Matandang Camarero (The Elderly Camarero)
Director: Charles Jhancy Peregrina
An LGBTQ+ person in her 60s continues a tradition passed on to her by her ancestors – taking care of a 400-year-old religious image in the Philippines. In this documentary, she shares what it means to be a gay man and her devotion to the church through her service of caring for religious statues.
4. Nanay Tatay (In the Eyes of the Child)
Director: Antonio Agregado
This documentary features four young adults as they delve into their parents’ absence while growing up and their ways of coping. The collection of old photos and clips reveals how their parents’ absence in different aspects of their lives affected their upbringing and how they processed various life experiences.
5. Barya Lang Po Sa Umaga (#NoToJeepneyPhaseOut: The Mass Strike)
Director: Kiara Ricamara
This documentary presents the story of the Philippine jeepney drivers’ fight against the government’s program for modernising public utility vehicles. Tatay Julius, a jeepney driver, takes part in an educational discussion with student activists about how the program affects his livelihood. This film highlights the transportation strike which took place in early March 2023.
6. Labis-Labis (EXTRAordinary)
Director: Roschel Mae Reyes
This documentary presents the life of Jenny and Michael, two extraordinary individuals with Down Syndrome. Despite their differently-abled state, they are equipped with their own fair share of talents and attributes and live their lives just like everyone else. Witnesses to Jenny’s and Michael’s personal experiences and growth share their remarkable journeys and messages of hope. This film aims to contribute to overcoming the stigma and misconceptions towards individuals with special needs. It hopes for the world to perceive them for their abilities rather than their limitations.
7. Beyond Spotlight
Director: Gian Linezo
This documentary presents the story of Juan Karlos Labajo and his fandom JKFam. It shows what happens beyond the spotlight, particularly what JK and JKFam do to make their advocacies possible. JK also shares his past experiences on how he started and how he interacts with his fans. The film delivers the side of a celebrity that treats his fans as family. It shows how media representation can be far from reality.
8. Abante Babae (Breaking Boundaries: A Journey of a Female Angkas Rider)
Director: Jerome A. Sanchez
This documentary features Chia, a female Angkas driver, as she bravely conquers the gender stereotypes and difficulties encountered in her male-dominated workplace. While she works her way to success, Chia shares her experiences and struggles about the nature of her work, including its hazards like discrimination and harassment. The film shines a beacon of hope and inspiration for those striving to overcome adversity and shatter gender barriers.
9. Boses ng Tibak (Voices of Activists)
Director: Patricia Mapalad
Youth activists share their stories of joining organisations fighting for social change and narrate the inevitable challenges that come with facing those they want to reach the most — the government. This documentary film shows youth activists as they navigate through a democratic country’s attempt to silence the voices of activism.
About Cinemata Visions
The online screening of TAM DokyuFest 2023, in partnership with the FEU Department of Communication, is part of Cinemata Visions, an initiative that spotlights notable works from film schools and learning institutions dedicated to cinema in the Asia-Pacific. Cinemata Visions highlights video endeavours such as workshops and competitions initiated by advocacy groups dedicated to the youth. It aims to harness creative film outputs and encourage young filmmakers to produce more social issue works by providing a free, independent, and secure video hosting platform beyond the usual corporate platforms.
In 2022, EngageMedia partnered with the FEU Department of Communication to kick off the initiative by screening the Likhang Mulat Film Movements Festival. Learn more about the partnership in this post.
EngageMedia developed Cinemata to support film initiatives like TAM DokyuFest in highlighting essential yet underheard stories and inspiring collective action among Asia-Pacific audiences.