Filipino movie wins NETPAC prize for Best Asian film

Posted at 12/07/12 12:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- A Filipino independent film that centers on an idealistic Maguindanoan who returns to his hometown after decades was recognized as the Best Asian film at a film festival in Indonesia.

A scene from "Cartas de la Soledad (Letters of Solitude)". Image courtesy of the film's official Facebook page

"Cartas de la Soledad (Letters of Solitude)" won Thursday the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) prize for Best Asian film at the 7th Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival (JAFF).

Directed by Gutierrez Mangansakan II, who hails from Maguindanao, "Cartas de la Soledad" tells the story of Rashid Ali, a Europe-educated man who returns to his hometown in the Mindanao province after 25 years.

In the film, Ali sets out to use his being a man of the world to improve the lives of the people in Maguindanao, but he soon faces harsh realities -- politicians remain corrupt, and poverty is still widespread.

Said to be the premier Asian film festival in Indonesia, JAFF aims to introduce Asian cinema to a wider public in the country, and "provides a space for the intersection of many sectors such as arts, culture, and tourism."

The Indonesian film festival works in partnership with NETPAC, a pan-Asian film and cultural organization of 30 member-countries.

Composed of critics, filmmakers, festival organizers and curators, distributors and exhibitors, as well as educators, NETPAC is considered to be a leading authority in Asian cinema.