Movie on displaced tribal people named ‘Best Film’

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A film about a young teacher in the hinterland community of indigenous peoples in the southern Philippines has been chosen “Best Film” in the 11th Mindanao Film Festival this week.

The film titled “Pakot” bested more than 40 other entries with its clear message and impeccable storytelling, said a festival official.

“The filmmaker was able to clearly articulate the message of the film, and there was no denying that it was a powerful film that told us about the plight of the lumads in Mindanao,” said festival director Rudolph Ian Alama.

The indigenous people of Mindanao, collectively known as lumad, captured the attention of the media after some 4,000 tribal people in Surigao del Sur province fled their homes Sept. 21 due to attacks by paramilitary groups.

The story of “Pakot” revolved around Lina, a school teacher, who devoted her life teaching children in a tribal community that is being neglected by the government.

The character Lina, a nontribal woman, went through an awakening as she saw the hunger of tribal children for education.

Filmmaker Hugh Montero said the film is dedicated to lumad children who suffered from the government’s failure to provide them with security and education.

“We thank the lumads for allowing us to weave their story into a movie,” said Montero.

Last year, Montero filmed “Pahiyom ni Boye” or Boye’s Smile, a movie about the effort of alumadcommunity to build a school.

“Pakot is a continuation of that story,” he told

“This is paying homage to the teachers who sacrificed and put their lives on the line to be with lumad children,” said the filmmaker.

Montero said he hopes “Pakot” will serve as an inspiration for people “to see the importance of giving free education to lumad children.”

“We also hope it will awaken us to be in solidarity with them,” he said. | Jefry M. Tupas for Ucan

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