The South East Asian Migrant Inspired (SEAMi) and Association of South East Asia Art, Cultural Education and Innovation Research in Taiwan recently invited award-winning Filipino filmmaker and UNESCO Laureate artist Richard Soriano Legaspi to screen his films in Taoyuan City, Northern Taiwan as part of a series of week-long cultural exchange events in different venues.
Legaspi, the first Filipino artist to be featured in the event, accepted the invitation to share his films including Pipo, which stars Northern Taiwan, Chanel “Boom” Latorre and Maliksi Morales. Pipo tells the story of a young boy’s dream to have his family picture taken. It is the second installment from Legaspi’s Collective Memoirs short film trilogy. The film was made through a production grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts with support funding from Università delle Idee (UNIDEE) in Italy.
Pipo was shown at the Taoyuan Arts Cinema, a multi- functional community cultural hub that offers art exhibitions and cultural activities for local and foreign artists, last June 3. According to SEAMi art manager Winona Wang, the Taiwanese and migrant audiences loved Pipo as part of the panorama screening last year so the group decided to invite it for a second time due to its relatively inspiring theme about family. It is part of a retrospective of Monsoon Asia x SeeMe Mobile Film Festival 2016.
Legaspi’s full-length documentary Ang Walang Kapagurang Paglalakbay ng Pulang Maleta (The Untiring Journey of the Red Suitcase), which was co-produced by GMA News TV – CineTotoo and UNIDEE with Red Room Media Productions, was also shown at the SEAMi library in Taoyuan last June 4. Among the audience were local labor rights lawyers, activists, cultural activators, filmmakers and university professors. The director warmly shared his experiences and journey in shooting the film in Biella, Italy.
The Taoyuan city government also invited Legaspi to be one of the speakers in a film colloquium entitled Wind from the South Film Festival held at the New Matsu Village, Zhongli District last June 5. Other invited filmmakers are Kek Huart Lau of Malaysia and Susan Chen of Taiwan. The forum, which sought to examine the social narratives of Asia, was moderated by Chen Yijun and SEAMi founder Zhou-Xi Lin.
Since Legaspi was continuously documenting different migration stories since 2013, he also visited a shelter of Filipino migrant workers in the Northern Taiwan city to share Pipo and another short film, Pamatid-Gutom (Hunger Pangs), starring Mercedes Cabral and co-produced by Focus on the Global South with Red Room, in an afternoon screening and film talk.
After its Taiwan screenings, Pipo will be back in Europe to compete in the IndieCrete Film Festival to be held at the movie theatre Paradiso in Archanes, Greece from August 18 to 21 and in the Venice Film Week at the La Casa del Cinema in Venice, Italy on August 29.
Legaspi is a two-time Gawad Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) awardee in 2010 and 2011, a second prize winner at the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 2012 for his full-length screenplay Primera Bella, and a Gawad Urian nominee for Manenaya. He received the prestigious UNESCO Laureate artist recognition in 2013, eventually becoming a resident artist of the UNIDEE, Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto and Illy Can Prize Winner – Art for Social Change in Italy.