Cebuana Director Joanna Vasquez Arong’s short documentary film depicts the agonizing reality experienced by the residents of Tacloban City in Leyte and Guian, Samar caused by the 2013 Supertyphoon Haiyan (Yolanda), and won the prize for Grand Jury at Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
The 19-minute documentary is titled “Ang Papakalma sa Unos” (To Calm the Pig Inside), in which it was described as a “contemplative film that ponders the effects a typhoon leaves on a small town where myths are woven to help cope with the devastation and trauma.”
According to filmmaker Ms. Arong in the interview she gave with Slamdance, it is as a “reflective essay pondering on trauma that’s passed on from both family schisms as well as from calamities. How does one heal from personal trauma and how does a community cope and likewise heal from collective trauma.”
“After spending weeks line producing on a film production on the devastation super typhoon Haiyan wreaked around the Philippines in 2013-2014, I felt there was another layer to the stories which hadn’t been shared yet. Locals recounted to me their reflections, disappointments, dreams and even the jokes they shared with each other in order to cope with the trauma. And through time, they continued to express their growing frustration towards the government response to their plight,” she divulged.
The award also qualifies Ms. Arong’s film for consideration in the Academy Awards’ best documentary (short subject) category next year, according to other media reports.
The Slamdance Film Festival, currently encompassing emerging artists and low-budget independent films, is a festival that has been occurring every year and been the 25th for this year. Upon restrictions to films made by first-time directors with budgets under $1 million and without US distribution, the featured festival is also held within the same schedule as the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.